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China hands over 5 Indian nationals who had gone missing from Arunachal Pradesh, were hunters and not Indian Army personnel

In contrast to the earlier reports, the 5 individuals who had strayed across the LAC into China were hunters and not Indian Army personnel

Amidst the worsening India China standoff along the Line of Actual Control in India’s eastern Ladakh region, the Indian Army on Saturday released a press statement in connection with the 5 youth from Arunachal Pradesh, who had gone missing days ago from the border region. The Indian Army said that the Chinese PLA has handed over all the 5 individuals to them.

The handover took place at Wacha near Kibithu border personnel meeting point after completing all the necessary formalities. They will now be kept under quarantine for 14 days as per COVID-19 protocols and will thereafter be handed over to their families.

While it was widely reported initially that the Indian Army personnel were captured by the Chinese Army, the statement released by the Indian Army said that they were hunters, who during their adventurous forays, inadvertently strayed into the other side of the LAC in Arunachal Pradesh.

The statement further added that such incidents of accidentally crossing the LAC have happened quite often in the past and the Indian Army had proactively been associated in tracing the lost locals and aiding their return back home. About three such incidents have already happened in the current year in the Upper Sabansiri District and West Siang District, including the latest one. All strayed individuals were brought back home through consistent efforts and coordination by the Indian Army.

“In the latest case, five individuals from Upper Subansiri District had also inadvertently strayed across the LAC recently. Indian Army approached PLA on hotline to trace and return them. On September 8, response on hotline confirmed that the missing individuals had been traced,” the statement read.

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