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The Indian Army on Monday handed back to China a soldier of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) who had crossed into Indian territory three days ago.

The soldier was returned at the Chushul-Moldo border point in eastern Ladakh, a person familiar with the development said, requesting anonymity. He was captured early on Friday on the Indian side of the Line of Actual Control (LAC) on the southern bank of Pangong lake, one of the main flashpoints in the current standoff between India and China.

The strategically located lake, approximately 14,000 feet above sea level, ranges from Ladakh to Tibet.

This is the second such incident in three months and comes amid the standoff that began on 5 May 2020, when Indian and Chinese soldiers clashed in the Pangong lake area. Around 50,000 Indian troops have been deployed in a state of combat readiness at various mountainous locations in eastern Ladakh in sub-zero temperatures as multiple rounds of talks have failed to result in a breakthrough. The presence of Indian troops mirrors Chinese deployment along the LAC. “The PLA soldier had transgressed across the LAC and was taken into custody by Indian troops deployed in this area. Troops from either side have been deployed along the LAC since friction erupted last year because of unprecedented mobilization and forward concentration by Chinese troops," the Army had said on Saturday. China had sought the immediate release of its soldier.

Indian troops had in October captured Corporal Wang Ya Long of the PLA after he crossed the LAC into Ladakh’s Demchok area. The corporal was sent back to China from the Chushul-Moldo border point.

Separately, a PTI report said the chief of defence staff General Bipin Rawat visited Ladakh on Monday to review India’s military preparedness. Rawat will be briefed by Lieutenant General P.G.K. Menon, the commander of the Leh-based 14 Corps, about the situation along the LAC.

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