A Chinese soldier has been caught by the security forces near Demchok area of Ladakh, the Indian Army said on Monday. This came as both India and China are trying to resolve the border stand-off along the Line of Actual Control, which began in May, but neither side has backed down.
“PLA [Peoples Liberation Army] soldier identified as Corporal Wang Ya Long apprehended in Demchok sector of Eastern Ladakh after he strayed across LAC,” the Army said in a statement. “He has been provided medical assistance, food and warm clothes to protect him from vagaries of extreme altitude and harsh climatic conditions.”
The Army said the soldier will be handed over to Chinese officials at the Chusul-Modol meeting point after formalities are completed.
The incident is said to have taken place on Sunday night. The soldier who is said to be from the 6th Motorised Infantry Division. He was carrying civil and military documents, News18 reported, citing unidentified officials.
The border standoff
Military heads of the two countries have engaged in several rounds of talks over the last three months after 20 Indian and unknown number of Chinese soldiers were killed in violent clashes in Galwan Valley in Ladakh on June 15. But these talks have failed to break the impasse.
On October 15, Beijing said it does not recognise Indian sovereignty over Ladakh and Arunachal Pradesh, claiming that India had illegally occupied Ladakh. In response, India’s Ministry of External Affairs said the next day that China has no locus standi to comment on the matter. The ministry said Ladakh as well as Arunachal Pradesh are integral parts of India and this has been conveyed to the Chinese side on many occasions.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh had told the Rajya Sabha last month that China continues to illegally occupy approximately 38,000 square kilometre of land in Ladakh.
On September 10, S Jaishankar met his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi in Moscow on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation summit. The two ministers agreed on a five-point plan to defuse tensions between the countries and said the current situation in the border areas of Ladakh was “not in the interest of either side”. They agreed, therefore, that the border troops of both sides should “continue their dialogue, quickly disengage, maintain proper distance and ease tensions”.