Ten Indian soldiers, including two officers, were handed over at the Line of Actual Control (LAC) by the Chinese army on the evening of Thursday, 18 June, after hectic negotiations, said media reports.
However, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian told in a daily press briefing that China has not seized any Indian personnel, reported China Global Television Network.
At 4 pm on Thursday, Indian Army sources said to news agency ANI that contrary to reports, “there are no Indian troops missing in action.”
This news came three days after violent clashes in the Galwan Valley of Ladakh left 20 Indian soldiers dead.
On Friday morning, The Hindu quoted a security source as saying ‘all 10 persons were released around 5 pm after an agreement was reached at the Major General-level talks on Wednesday evening and they were returned unharmed.’
Earlier on Wednesday, Defence Analyst Ajai Shukla had told NDTV that at least 10 Indian soldiers were still with China.
Army Denies Reports of Personnel ‘Missing in Action’
ANI had on Thursday reported, “Major General-level talks between India and China are over after more than six hours. All the personnel who took part in the Galwan valley operations on June 15-16 are accounted for and no personnel are missing in action.”
"This is with reference to the article 'In China-India Clash, Two Nationalist Leaders with Little Room to Give' by New York Times dated 17 June 2020. It is clarified that there are no Indian troops missing in action," said the Indian Army.
The third round of talks at the Major General-level were held in the Galwan area, reported The Hindu. While specifics of the meeting are still not known, a source told the publication that “the talks were positive and there would be more meetings in the coming days.”
Journalist Shiv Aroor took to Twitter to confirm that two Majors, two captains and six jawans were held captive by the Chinese “after the pre-meditated night attack and were sent back to the Patrol Point 14 on Thursday at 5:30 pm.”
He stated that this was the lead point of the negotiations on Thursday and that the Indian Major General had been shown pictures to confirm their safety. The Indian side had made it clear that “further talks will be dependant on the release of the Indian soldiers unharmed.”
To those asking, (and since it’s been reported now) — that’s what my tweet below 6 hours ago was meant to convey. And since the story will be in tomorrow’s papers, if you’re interested in hearing about it from me, here you go: https://t.co/xsMJtUWdaW pic.twitter.com/lxfQKb608N— Shiv Aroor (@ShivAroor) June 18, 2020
‘Soldiers Were Armed’
S Jaishankar, External Affairs Minister of India took to Twitter to debunk a tweet sharef by Congress leader Rahul Gandhi who said, “How dare China kill our UNARMED soldiers? Why were our soldiers sent UNARMED to martyrdom?”
“All troops on border duty always carry arms, especially when leaving post. Those at Galwan on June 15 did so. Long-standing practice (as per 1996 & 2005 agreements) not to use firearms during faceoffs,” Dr Jaishankar said on Twitter.
Let us get the facts straight.— Dr. S. Jaishankar (@DrSJaishankar) June 18, 2020
All troops on border duty always carry arms, especially when leaving post. Those at Galwan on 15 June did so. Long-standing practice (as per 1996 & 2005 agreements) not to use firearms during faceoffs. https://t.co/VrAq0LmADp
“Article 6 of 1996 Agreement! These agreements apply to border management snd not while dealing with a tactical military situation. Lastly when lives of soldiers or security of post/territory threatened, Cdr on the spot can use all weapons at his disposal including Artillery,” slammed Lt Gen H S Panag(R).
Article 6 of 1996 Agreement! These agreements apply to border management snd not while dealing with a tactical military situation. Lastly when lives of soldiers or security of post/territory threatened, Cdr on the spot can use all weapons at his disposal including Artillery. pic.twitter.com/6J4KD33nhg— Lt Gen H S Panag(R) (@rwac48) June 18, 2020
“The idea that the troops stuck to 'protocol' under violent, life-threatening tactical provocation is extremely difficult to comprehend. Will be a hugely difficult idea to wrap heads around,” tweeted Shiv Aroor.
Media reports have suggested that the Indian soldiers were attacked with iron rods, rocks wrapped in barbed wire and nail-studded clubs at nearly 15,000 feet up in the Himalayas near the freezing Galwan River.
News had also emerged that there are four personnel who are ‘critically injured,’ 58 personnel with minor injuries, in addition to the 18 injured in Leh military hospital, whose condition is stable according to sources in The Hindu.
The idea that the troops stuck to 'protocol' under violent, life-threatening tactical provocation is extremely difficult to comprehend. Will be a hugely difficult idea to wrap heads around. More details required of sequence of the clash. More questions than answers right now.— Shiv Aroor (@ShivAroor) June 18, 2020
In response to how the Indian soldiers were caught off guard, Shukla had told NDTV that “Chinese managed to get together large number of troops and ambushed the Indian forces and after that it was downhill. There are still casualties, there are still prisoners so the situation is not resolved yet.”
(With inputs from NDTV, The Hindu)
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