China releases 10 Indian army personnel after hectic negotiations: Report

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On Thursday evening, China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) released ten Indian army personnel, including two officers, who were involved in Galwan Valley “violent faceoff”, from their custody, reported The Indian Express.

The release of army personnels were secured after hectic negotiations between the two sides, including three rounds of talks at the Major General level from Tuesday to Thursday, unnamed officials told The Indian Express.

So on Thursday, when the army statement claimed that “no soldier was missing”, it meant that all army personnels, who were involved in the deadliest clash of the four decades, had been accounted for, the report added. The statement did not provide any details about the army personnels in Chinese custody.

The statement sent out by India’s Ministry of External Affairs’ spokesperson Anurag Srivastava on Tuesday claimed: “India and China have been discussing through military and diplomatic channels the de-escalation of the situation in the border area in Eastern Ladakh.”

On Tuesday, the Indian army also issued a statement, claiming, “Indian and Chinese troops have disengaged at the Galwan area where they had earlier clashed on the night of 15/16 June 2020.” The army added that it “is firmly committed to protecting the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the nation.”

Unnamed officers told The Indian Express that the incident on Monday night took place in the area between the Line of Actual Control and junction of Galwan and Shyok rivers to the west. And the talks of disengagement were held at Patrolling Point 14 (PP 14), which is close to the point where the LAC crosses Galwan river.

As part of de-escalation, the two sides had agreed to create a ‘buffer zone’ – a no-man’s land – between the LAC and the junction of Galwan and Shyok rivers, the report claimed. The Indian side was supposed to stay to the west of the river junction and the Chinese to the east of the LAC — to prevent faceoffs.

An argument, officers said, started over the position of Chinese soldiers who had started erecting a new post on the southern bank of Galwan river in this ‘buffer zone’.

The Indian army claimed that both sides suffered casualties. However, there has been no official word on this from China. On Tuesday, China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Zhao Lijian, said: “India troops crossed the borderline twice on Monday provoking and attacking Chinese personnel resulting in serious physical confrontation between border forces on the two sides,” reported an international news agency, AFP.

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