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China confirms India’s apprehension of border guard, calls for swift return

India's Border Security Force (BSF) soldiers stand guard at a checkpoint along a highway leading to Ladakh, at Gagangeer in Kashmir's Ganderbal district June 17, 2020. (Photo by Reuters)

China has confirmed that one of its soldiers lost on the border with India has been found by Indian troops, calling on New Delhi to “promptly" return the soldier.

The China Military Online, a news portal run by the People’s Liberation Army Daily, reported on Saturday that the Chinese soldier had gone missing on the China-India border a day earlier.

Indian media announced a few hours after the incident that the Chinese border guard had been apprehended by India's troops near the south bank of Pangong Tso Lake in Ladakh region, located on the border with China.

Media reports said New Delhi had informed Beijing of the incident and that Indian authorities would hand the soldier back once they received instructions from more senior officials.

Following the announcement by New Delhi, China said in a statement that India should “promptly transfer” the soldier back to the country and “jointly maintain peace and tranquility in the border area.”

Reports from both sides have indicated that China and India are working on the situation of the Chinese soldier to resolve the issue.

Tensions flared between China and India last June when a clash along the disputed Himalayan border led to the death of at least 20 Indian soldiers.

The fatalities took place on June 15 during a fighting in the Galwan Valley, a precipitous and rocky border area that lies between China’s Tibet and India’s Ladakh regions. There were no confirmed reports of Chinese casualties, with each side blaming the other for the incident.

The clash briefly fanned anti-Chinese sentiments in India, with small protests and a call from a local confederation of traders for a boycott of Chinese products.

In the following months, the nuclear-armed neighbors deployed tens of thousands of soldiers across India’s Ladakh region and China’s Tibetan plateau.

As part of efforts to reduce border tensions, the two sides began formulating a disengagement plan in November to withdraw troops and establish no-patrol zones along their borders.

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