21:52 GMT18 September 2020
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    Panic gripped several families when five men, who had gone out hunting in the jungle, went missing in Arunachal Pradesh’s Upper Subansiri district on the Sino-Indian border on 2 September. The kin of the missing men and Indian politician Ninong Ering alleged that the five had been abducted by the Chinese Army amid a border standoff in Ladakh.

    The People’s Liberation Army has handed over five Indian men who went missing from villages near the border with China and who were allegedly abducted by the Chinese Army.

    “[The] Indian Army took over all five individuals (missing from Arunachal Pradesh) at Kibitu border today after completing all formalities”, India's military confirmed.

    The returnees will be quarantined for 14 days as per COVID-19 protocol and will thereafter be handed over to their family members.

    ​Chinese media outlet the Global Times reported that the five Indians believed to have been "kidnapped” by the PLA were Indian spies who trespassed into China to gather intelligence.

    The Indian Army last week sent a hotline message to the PLA, seeking information about the missing men. Thereafter, the Chinese Army confirmed their presence in the country.

    The development came amid deteriorating relations between the two nuclear rivals and neighbours. India and China have been locked in a border dispute in eastern Ladakh since April, with the two militaries becoming involved in several intermittent skirmishes.

    New Delhi and Beijing recently agreed to abide by existing bilateral accords and protocols to "maintain peace and tranquillity in the border areas".

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    Tags:
    Arunachal Pradesh, missing person, People's Liberation Army, Indian Army, China, India
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