By Choekyi Lhamo
DHARAMSHALA, Jan. 12: The Indian military said on Monday that it has returned a Chinese soldier held near the Himalayan border where the two Asian neighbours have engaged in military confrontation for months after a deadly clash in June last year. The Indian Army stated, “The PLA soldier who had been apprehended on Jan. 8, 2021, has been handed back to China at Chushul-Moldo at 10.10 am today.”
China had called on the Indian government on Saturday for an immediate return of the soldier gone missing a day earlier on the border, citing that it had already informed the Indian authorities. The Chinese soldier was caught by the Indian troops south of Pangong Tso Lake in Ladakh which borders the Chinese-controlled Tibet.
Indian and Chinese sides have remained locked in a long confrontation along the border with Tibet since last year. Another Chinese soldier was caught along the border in Ladakh’s Demchok in October by Indian troops and returned within days. In June, 20 Indian soldiers were killed in the clash whereas the Chinese side suffered an undisclosed number of casualties.
According to new satellite imagery, China is currently working on what appears to be a major military logistics hub at Shigatse (Ch: Xigatse) in Tibet. Experts argued that the move is in line with Beijing’s efforts to increase connectivity and infrastructure for operations along the Line of Actual Control (LAC). It also suggested infrastructure is being upgraded or built to support military operations all along the LAC, from Aksai Chin to Arunachal Pradesh.