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INDIA HANDS BACK PLA SOLDIER WHO STRAYED ACROSS CONTESTED LAC IN LADAKH TO CHINA

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A People’s Liberation Army soldier, who was caught by the Indian army for straying across the contested Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh, was on Tuesday handed back to China at the Chushul Moldo meeting point, officials said.

The soldier was held in eastern Ladakh’s Demchok sector amid the ongoing border standoff in the sensitive theatre where both armies have deployed over 50,000 troops each along with advanced weapons and systems.

The PLA soldier was identified as Corporal Wang Ya Long. In a statement released earlier, the Indian army had said that it had received a request from the PLA about the whereabouts of the missing soldier.

“As per established protocols, he will be returned to Chinese officials at the Chushul-Moldo meeting point after completion of formalities,” the army statement had said.

The PLA had issued a statement on Monday night saying a soldier went missing while looking for lost yaks on the evening of October 18. “After the incident, Chinese border guards took the initiative to report the situation to the Indian side as soon as possible, and hoped that the Indian side would assist in search and rescue,” Colonel Zhang Shuili, spokesperson of the Western Theatre Command, added.

As the Ladakh theatre continues to remain tense, during the seventh round of military commanders’ talks on October 12 to defuse tension along LAC, the Indian side demanded comprehensive disengagement at all flashpoints and restoration of status quo ante of early April. The two sides have agreed to continue with the dialogue process to arrive at a mutually acceptable solution for early disengagement in the eastern Ladakh.

India and China are expected to hold the eighth round of military talks this week, although a date has not been announced yet.