A soldier of China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) was held by the Indian Army on the southern bank of Pangong Tso in Ladakh on Friday after he strayed across to the Indian side of the Line of Actual Control (LAC), officials said on Saturday. This is the second such incident reported since October last year.
“The People’s Liberation Army (PLA soldier) had transgressed across the LAC and was taken into custody by Indian troops deployed in this area (south of Pangong Tso). Troops from either side are deployed along the LAC since friction erupted last year due to unprecedented mobilisation and forward concentration by Chinese troops,” the army said in a statement.
Heights on both banks of the lake have been at the centre of the border row between the two countries.
The PLA soldier is being dealt with according to procedures and circumstances under which he crossed the LAC are being investigated, the statement said. The soldier is likely to be returned after the completion of formalities involved in such cases, the officials said.
On October 19 last year, Corporal Wang Ya Long of the PLA was apprehended by the Indian Army in eastern Ladakh’s Demchok sector after he strayed across the contested LAC amid the prevailing border tensions with China in the sensitive region. He was returned to the PLA the next day at the Chushul-Moldo meeting point, where senior commanders from both armies have been holding military talks to reduce friction in the eastern Ladakh theatre.
“The PLA soldier was apparently moving from one location to another on the Chinese side of the LAC when he lost his way. He was carrying a sleeping bag, a storage device, his military identity card and a mobile with a charger. He was released after a thorough interrogation and completion of the necessary formalities,” officials had said then.
As the Ladakh sector remains tense, India has consistently pushed for comprehensive disengagement at all flashpoints and restoration of status quo ante of early April during the ongoing military talks whereas the Chinese side wants the Indian Army to first pull back troops deployed on strategic heights on the southern bank of Pangong Tso.
The two armies have held eight rounds of military talks so far, with dates yet to be announced for the delayed ninth round of dialogue between corps commander-ranked officers.