India-China dispute: India hands over soldier who crossed border

An Indian Border Security Force (BSF) soldier guards a highway as Indian army convoy makes way towards Leh, bordering China, on June 19, 2020 in Gagangir, India.
Photo of an Indian Border Security Force guard near the India-China border

A Chinese soldier has been handed back by Indian authorities after he strayed across a contested border in the Himalayan region, Army officials said, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) soldier was apprehended in the Demchok area of Ladakh, India said on Monday.

The soldier was disoriented and was provided medical assistance and oxygen the Army said in a statement, tensions have been high between the two countries since a deadly clash in a disputed area in June, the incident comes after multiple rounds of military-level talks between the two sides to defuse the situation. Soldiers from both countries have periodically skirmished along the poorly demarcated border, called the Line of Actual Control (LAC), both sides have accused each other of straying into their territory, which have sometimes resulted in clashes, the Indian Army said the soldier was handed back according to “established protocols”.

This is not the first time the two sides have handed over citizens who strayed over the border, in September, China freed five Indian nationals after they wandered across the border. India said the youths, from a state bordering China, were hunters who had accidentally strayed into Chinese territory. Relations between the two countries had been deteriorating since June, when at least 20 Indian soldiers were killed in a skirmish in the disputed Ladakh border area, China did not comment on reports that it had also suffered casualties.

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