China releases 10 Indian soldiers after intense negotiations

Intense negotiations through military and diplomatic channels, including three rounds of talks between senior military officers, brought about the release of 10 Indian soldiers detained via the Chinese side in the violent brawl of June 15 in Galwan Valley, people familiar with developments said.

People, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the ten soldiers, including a minimum of two officers, were returned on the Indian side on Thursday evening, 3 days as soon as the violent face-off over the Series of Actual Control (LAC) that left 20 soldiers, together with a colonel, dead.

These negotiations were kept tightly under wraps on account of concerns for your safety of the soldiers amid the heightened tensions between the two sides, people said.

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There was clearly no official word in the development. Everything that the Indian Army along with the external affairs ministry had said on Thursday was that no Indian soldiers were “missing in action”.

The production with the 10 soldiers figured in three rounds of talks between Indian and Chinese delegations, led by major generals, near Patrol Point 14 in Galway Valley between Thursday and Tuesday. Maj Gen Abhijit Bapat, commander of Karu-based headquarters 3 Infantry Division, along with his Chinese counterpart, met for any third time on Thursday.

The meetings were element of ongoing military engagements to de-escalate the circumstance as well as to disengage about the disputed border. Both the senior military officers have met seven times since the stand-off began during the early May.

People further said the 10 soldiers, after their release, were sent to get a medical examination and were “debriefed” by officials.

The final time the Chinese military had captured Indian soldiers was over the border war between your two countries in 1962. Monday night’s seven-hour brutal clash involving a lot more than 500 rival troops also marked initially India suffered combat fatalities within an incident involving Chinese troops since 1975.

Following reports that unspecified range of soldiers were unaccounted for after Monday night’s clash, the Indian Army had on Thursday only claimed that none with the personnel were missing in action.

“It is clarified there are no Indian troops missing in action,” the army said in the terse statement. An army spokesperson had said the statement was in reference for the article “In China-India Clash, Two Nationalist Leaders with Little Room to Give” from the New York City Times on Wednesday.

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Asked about the specific issue from the status of Indian soldiers right after the clash of June 15, external affairs ministry spokesperson Anurag Srivastava told a weekly media briefing on Thursday: “This has been clarified by the army earlier today afternoon there are no Indian troops missing actually in operation.”

China has up to now not acknowledged any casualties among its troops, although some 76 Indian soldiers were also injured. Army officials claimed 43 Chinese were killed or seriously injured, citing radio intercepts and also other intelligence. The Chinese fatal casualties reportedly will include a colonel-ranked officer but HT couldn’t independently verify this.

India has attributed the clash of June 15 on Chinese forces crossing on the Indian side of your LAC and trying to create a structure. They have also rejected China’s People’s Liberation Army’s claim of sovereignty over the Galwan Valley.

A high retired army commander, who didn’t want to be identified, said: “China has already achieved precisely what it lay out to get – control of Galwan Valley and [the strategic feature] Finger 4. The gesture of returning the soldiers is really a message around the world that they [the Chinese] will not be the aggressors plus they have returned those who intruded into their territory.”