India has said none of its soldiers involved in the deadly border clash with China are unaccounted for.
“It is clarified that there are no Indian troops missing in action,” the Indian Army said in a brief statement late on Thursday, followed by the same statement by the Ministry of External Affairs.
The statement comes following reports about the release of several Indian soldiers, including two majors, who were detained by the Chinese forces during a deadly clash on Monday night.
“Ten Indian Army personnel including two Majors were released by the Chinese military on Thursday evening following three days of negotiations,” the Press Trust of India news agency reported, citing people familiar with the development.
Following the reports, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said China had not captured any Indian personnel, China Global Television Network reported.
At a news briefing on Friday, he said the responsibility for the border clash rested entirely with India.
Beijing attaches great importance to its relations with New Delhi and hopes the two can work to safeguard the long-term development of bilateral ties, he said, according to the report.
Meanwhile, an Indian External Affairs Ministry report on the developments stated that the Chinese unilaterally attempted to change the status quo at the border on June 15.
“They took premeditated and planned action that was directly responsible for the resulting violence and casualties suffered by both sides. This could have been avoided had the agreement at the higher level been scrupulously followed by the Chinese side,” the report said
“Given its responsible approach to border management, India is very clear that all its activities are always within the Indian side of the LAC [Line of Actual Control]. We expect the Chinese side to also confine its activities to our side of the LAC.”
Indian Maj. Gen. Abhijit Bapat and his Chinese counterpart met for the third time on Thursday.
The meetings were part of ongoing military engagements to de-escalate the situation and to disengage on the disputed border. The two senior military officers have met seven times since the stand-off began in early May.
The last time the Chinese military had taken Indian soldiers captive was in July 1962, after a clash in the Galwan valley.
Fresh skirmishes on the Himalayan border started on May 5 and led to a military and diplomatic impasse between the two countries. At least 20 Indian soldiers were killed in violent clashes that followed.
Thousands of soldiers on both sides have been camping along the un-demarcated Line of Actual Control, the de facto border between the two countries.
The incident on Monday night occurred at a time when, according to the Indian army, the de-escalation process was underway in the valley.
In a related development, plans to construct the Ram Temple in Ayodhya were suspended following the killing of the Indian soldiers.
The temple trust said in a statement the decision was taken due to the “serious” situation along the border as the country is “most important.”
The site for the temple is a disputed land where Babri Masjid, a mosque built by the Mughals, stood up until 1992 when Hindu nationalists demolished it calling it the site of Lord Rama’s birth.
In an almost three-decade dispute, in November last year, the Supreme Court ordered the land to be handed over to a trust to build the Hindu temple.
It also ordered the government to give alternate land to build the mosque.