PLA soldier went missing looking for yaks, hope India returns him soon, says China


leh ladakh general view
A general view of Leh, in the Ladakh region. (REUTERS/ File)

China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has confirmed that one of its soldiers had gone “missing” along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) on Sunday night and has requested the Indian Army to return him according to protocol.

The Indian Army on Monday said it had apprehended a Chinese soldier, identified as a colonel, in eastern Ladakh’s Demchok sector, after he had strayed across the LAC.

It had also received a request from the PLA enquiring about the whereabouts of the soldier.

The incident comes amid ongoing borders tensions between India and China in eastern Ladakh where both sides have carried out heavy deployment of soldiers and military equipment.

Issuing a statement on the missing PLA soldier on Monday night, Colonel Zhang Shuili, spokesperson of the Western Theatre Command, said a PLA soldier went missing while looking for lost yaks on the evening of October 18.

He did not identify the soldier.

“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,” Zhang said in the statement.

Zhang said the Indian side had promised to support the search and also promised to return the Chinese soldier after finding him.

Zhang said the Indian army had assured the Chinese counterpart that the soldier will be returned after medical examination.

“We hope that the Indian side will honour its commitments, promptly transfer the missing person to China, and work with China to promote the implementation of the consensus of the seventh round of military commander-level talks, and jointly maintain peace and tranquility in the border areas,” Zhang said in the statement.

In September, Chinese state media had branded five Indians who had strayed over the border in Arunachal Pradesh and were detained by the PLA as spies, working for Indian intelligence.

The five civilian porters from the Tagin tribe of Arunachal Pradesh had gone missing in early September.

Ahead of their release in the second week of September, state-run nationalistic tabloid Global Times claimed in a report that the five were “spies” working for the Indian Army.

The five had disguised themselves as “hunters”, the report said, quoting an anonymous source, adding that they were “India’s intelligence staff”.

“They recently trespassed the China-India border and entered the Shannan prefecture of Tibet,” the report claimed.