Amid standoff, India frees Chinese soldier who strayed along disputed line

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The Indian army said on Wednesday that it returned a Chinese soldier who had strayed into the Indian side in the remote Ladakh region, where the two countries are locked in a months-long military standoff.

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The soldier, Cpl. Wang Ya Long from the People’s Liberation Army, was apprehended inside the Indian-controlled Demchok area on Monday, an Indian army statement said earlier this week.

A Chinese army said in a statement on its website that the soldier was returned to the Chinese border troops early on Wednesday.

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In September, China had freed five Indians after they strayed into the Chinese side of the disputed border. India said the five were hunters from a state bordering China.

The standoff between the Asian giants in early May erupted into a fierce brawl, and worsened into hand-to-hand combat with soldiers using clubs, stones and fists on June 15, leaving 20 Indian troops dead. China is believed to also have suffered casualties, but has not given any details.

The countries have held a series of political, military and diplomatic talks to end the standoff.

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