The Chinese military has expressed hope that the Indian Army will soon release its missing soldier, who was found in Eastern Ladakh, PTI reported. The Indian Army had apprehended the soldier, identified as Wang Ya Long, in the Demchok sector of Eastern Ladakh on Monday after he had “strayed” across the Line of Actual Control.

“China hopes that India will hand over soon the Chinese soldier who got lost in China-India border areas on the evening of October 18 when helping local herdsmen retrieve a yak at their request,” said Senior Colonel Zhang Shuili, spokesperson for the Western Theater Command of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army. “The PLA border troops informed the Indian military right after the incident and hoped the Indian side would aid in search and rescue...”

The Indian Army said in a statement on Monday that the soldier is a corporal in the Chinese Army and will be returned at the Chushul-Moldo border point after completion of formalities.

Zhang said he had been told that the soldier will be handed over after he undergoes a medical examination. “We hope that the Indian side will live up to its promise to hand over the missing Chinese soldier as soon as possible and implement the consensus reached by the two sides in the 7th round of Senior Commanders meeting, so as to maintain peace and tranquility in the border areas,” he said. The meeting was held earlier this month.

India-China tensions

India and China have been locked in a border standoff since May. On June 15, 20 Indian soldiers and an unidentified number of their Chinese counterparts were killed in a clash in Galwan Valley in Ladakh. The military commanders of the two countries have held several rounds of talks to defuse the tension and end the standoff.

Even so, Chinese President Xi Jinping earlier this month asked the People’s Liberation Army to be ready for war. In response, India’s Minister of Home Affairs Amit Shah said Indian troops were always battle-ready.

On October 14, 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 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.

After the sixth round of military talks on September 22, India and China had resolved to stop sending more troops to the frontline amid the border standoff. Both countries also agreed to take practical measures to properly solve problems on the ground and ensure peace in the border areas, it added.