Ten Indian Soldiers Freed By China’s Army Days After Clashes
Indian Army soldiers in a jeep perform an operation demonstration in Uttar Pradesh, India. (Photographer: T. Narayan/Bloomberg)

Ten Indian Soldiers Freed By China’s Army Days After Clashes

China’s military has released 10 Indian soldiers captured on Monday during deadly clashes between troops from the two nations along their contested Himalayan border, senior Indian officials with knowledge of the matter said.

The Indian Government did not ever confirm the troops -- including two officers -- were missing. Instead it issued a statement on Thursday saying there were no soldiers missing in action. It is the worst border incident between the two nations in at least 45 years.

The skirmishes with stones, iron rods and bamboo poles wrapped in barbed wire laced with nails left 20 Indian soldiers dead along with an unknown number of Chinese casualties. The violence broke out Monday afternoon and went on until midnight on the Tibetan plateau along the freezing Galwan river.

As the dust settled, 10 Indian soldiers remained unaccounted for after the injured were sent to field medical facilities, the officials said. On Tuesday, the India’s top regional military commander called his Chinese counterpart to inquire about the missing men.

Defusing Tensions

Simultaneously, diplomats in Delhi swung into action and it was decided to raise the matter in Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar’s phone conversation with his counterpart Wang Yi on Wednesday. The two leaders agreed to defuse the border dispute by sticking to the disengagement understanding reached earlier this month.

Finally, China decided to release the men on Thursday evening after high level military talks in the Galwan valley in Ladakh.

“As far as I know, currently China is not holding any Indian personnel,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said at a briefing in Beijing on Friday. He gave no other details.

Indian Army spokesman Aman Anand declined to comment, while India’s spokesman for the Ministry of External Affairs, Anurag Srivastava, referred Bloomberg to the one-line statement denying Indian soldiers were missing.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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