China hands over 5 missing Arunachal youth to India

New Delhi (NVI): Five men, who went missing from villages near the border with China earlier this month, have been handed over to India by China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA).

In a statement, PRO Defence, Tezpur said, “Indian Army took over all five individuals (missing from Arunachal Pradesh) at Kibitu today after completing all formalities. Individuals will now be quarantined for 14 days as per COVID-19 protocol and will thereafter be handed over to their family members.”

Following their return, all the five men entered Arunachal Pradesh through the Kibithu border post.

The individuals from Upper Subansiri district had inadvertently strayed across Line of Actual Control (LAC) recently.

Earlier on Friday, Union minister Kiren Rijiju had said the PLA is likely to hand over the five youths missing from Arunachal Pradesh to the Indian authorities on Saturday.

“The Chinese PLA has confirmed to the Indian Army to hand over the youths from Arunachal Pradesh to our side. The handing over is likely to take place anytime tomorrow i.e. 12th September 2020 at a designated location,” Rijiju had tweeted on Friday.

The PLA on Tuesday had conveyed that the five youths, who went missing on September 4 from the Sino-Indian border in Upper Subansiri district, were found by them across the border.

Indian Army true to its ethos has once again worked tirelessly for the well-being of the people of North East. During adventurous forays, at times youth have inadvertently strayed to other side of LAC, the statement said.

The Army has always been proactive in tracing the lost locals and helping them return home. In the current year, three such incidents have taken place in the Upper Subansiri and West Siang district including the latest one.

All such individuals were brought back home safely after consistent efforts and coordination by Indian Army in the past.

The development comes at a time when the Indian Army has enhanced its deployment along the 3,400 km-long Line of Actual Control (LAC) in view of the tense border row between India and China in eastern Ladakh.

-CHK/RJV