Locked in a standoff, India returns Chinese soldier who crossed disputed border

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A Chinese soldier seized by India’s military in the remote Ladakh region, where the two countries are locked in a border standoff, was handed back to China on Monday, the army said.

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India took the soldier into custody last on Friday, when China said one of its soldiers had gone missing “due to darkness and complicated terrain” along the disputed high-altitude border.

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The soldier was returned to China at the Chushul-Moldo border meeting point, the Indian military said in a statement.

He was the second Chinese soldier to be detained by India since tensions escalated last year along the disputed border.

The standoff between the Asian giants began last May with a fierce brawl, and exploded into hand-to-hand combat with clubs, stones and fists on June 15 that left 20 Indian soldiers dead. China is believed to also have had casualties, but has not given any details.

Both sides have sent reinforcements to the border, with troops settling in for the winter. In September, a few shots were fired for the first time in decades, breaking a longstanding agreement not to use firearms during border confrontations between soldiers of the two countries.

Indian and Chinese soldiers often lose their way in the Himalayan region.

In October, India detained a Chinese soldier in Ladakh’s Demchok area and freed him after he was found to have strayed across the de facto border.

In September, China released five Indian hunters who went missing from the eastern state of Arunachal Pradesh.

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