Intense negotiations through military and diplomatic channels, including three rounds of talks between senior military officers, triggered the making of 10 Indian soldiers detained with the Chinese side over the violent brawl of June 15 in Galwan Valley, people aware of developments said.
People, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the 10 soldiers, including no less than two officers, were returned for the Indian side on Thursday evening, 72 hours after the violent face-off across the Brand 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 that safety with the soldiers amid the heightened tensions in between the two sides, people said.
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There was clearly no official word about the development. The only thing that the Indian Army along with the external affairs ministry had said on Thursday was that no Indian soldiers were “missing in action”.
The release 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, with his fantastic Chinese counterpart, met to the third time on Thursday.
The meetings were portion of ongoing military engagements to de-escalate the specific situation and also to disengage on the disputed border. The two senior military officers have met seven times since the stand-off began during early May.
The folks further said the 10 soldiers, after their release, were sent to get a medical examination and were “debriefed” by officials.
The past time the Chinese military had captured Indian soldiers was during the border war in between the two countries in 1962. Monday night’s seven-hour brutal clash involving in excess of 500 rival troops also marked the very first time India suffered combat fatalities in the incident involving Chinese troops since 1975.
Following reports that this unspecified range of soldiers were unaccounted for after Monday night’s clash, the Indian Army had on Thursday only claimed that none of their personnel were missing in action.
“It is clarified there presently exists no Indian troops missing actually in operation,” the army said within a terse statement. An army spokesperson had said the statement is at reference on the article “In China-India Clash, Two Nationalist Leaders with Little Room to Give” during the New York Times on Wednesday.
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Asked about the specific issue of your status of Indian soldiers after the clash of June 15, external affairs ministry spokesperson Anurag Srivastava told a weekly media briefing on Thursday: “This is clarified by the army earlier today afternoon that you have no Indian troops missing in action.”
China has to date 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 together with other intelligence. The Chinese fatal casualties reportedly feature a colonel-ranked officer but HT couldn’t independently verify this.
India has attributed the clash of June 15 on Chinese forces crossing into the Indian side from the LAC and trying to create a structure. It has also rejected China’s People’s Liberation Army’s claim of sovereignty over the Galwan Valley.
A top retired army commander, who didn’t wish to be identified, said: “China has achieved precisely what it set out to accomplish – control of Galwan Valley and [the strategic feature] Finger 4. The gesture of returning the soldiers is usually a message to everyone which they [chinese people] usually are not the aggressors and so they have returned individuals who intruded to their territory.”