NEW DELHI: Ten
, including two majors and two captains, who were held captive by the People’s Liberation Army since the bloody clash Monday night were released on Thursday evening after three days of hectic negotiations between Leh-based 3 Infantry Division commander Major General Abhijit Bapat and his PLA counterpart near “patrolling point-14 (PP-14)” in the Galwan Valley region.
“The soldiers, who were not mistreated, walked over to our side. Found to be fine after a medical examination, they are now being debriefed,” a senior army officer said. Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian on Friday cryptically said, “China has not presently seized any Indian personnel.”
TOI was aware of the capture of the 10 soldiers but took an editorial call to hold back the news while negotiations were on to secure their safe return.
The last time the PLA captured Indian soldiers was during the 1962 war. Last Monday was also the first time in 45 years that India suffered fatal casualties along
the Line of Actual Control
The soldiers were taken captive during the prolonged and brutal clash that erupted after the numerically-superior PLA soldiers, armed with nail-studded iron rods and stones, attacked a team led by Colonel B Santosh near PP-14. Col Babu, the commanding officer of 16 Bihar, and 19 jawans were killed in the clash. Of the 78 soldiers who sustained injuries, 18 were of a serious nature for which they were admitted to the military hospital at Leh.