More than 24 hours after a soldier of China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) was captured near the Chumar-Demchok area of Ladakh, his questioning continues. Two senior officials in the security establishment confirmed to News18 that Corporal Wang Ya Long continues to be in custody of Indian forces.
A statement from the Indian Army on Monday afternoon said, “As per established protocols, he will be returned to Chinese officials at the Chushul–Moldo meeting point after completion of formalities."
Officials in South Block had indicated that the handover could happen by 5.30pm-6pm on Monday, but officials late in the evening said that the formalities have not been completed and the handover could take a day or two.
The Army statement had said a request has also been received from the PLA about the whereabouts of the missing soldier.
Officials in Ladakh hinted at a multi-agency interrogation before a decision on handover is taken. The Army is currently questioning the soldier, who is said to be from the 6th Motorised Infantry Division, to see if he is on an espionage mission.
The soldier claimed to have entered India to recover his yak, officials told News18. They added that Corporal Wang Ya Long was alone when he was spotted inside Indian territory by the Army.
“He was not wearing his uniform and had no weapons. His I-card established his identity and his place of residence as Shangxizhen town of central Zhejiang province of China," an official told News18.
While the initial view was that the soldier entered inadvertently and could be handed back to the Chinese as per protocol, the assessment became more cautious by evening. Civil and military documents were also found on the soldier who, as per Indian officials, is an armourer.
The Army in its statement said Wang is being provided the required medical assistance, including oxygen, food and warm clothes.
The detention comes ahead of the eighth round of the proposed commander-level talks between India and China to resolve the border issue. Both armies have deployed over 50,000 troops each along the LAC in eastern Ladakh, including in Demchok sector, following escalation of the five-month-long military standoff that began in early May.