Five Indian nationals who had gone missing from villages in Arunachal Pradesh near the border of China earlier this month have been handed over by the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA), the Indian Army said.
Indian Army on Saturday took the handover of all five Indian nationals at Kibithu border post after completing all the formalities.
"Individuals will now be quarantined for 14 days as per COVID-19 protocol and will thereafter be handed over to their family members," a Defence spokesperson said in a statement.
"Arunachal Pradesh is known for its rich natural heritage and adventurous people fond of exploring the nature for medicinal herbs and possessing a traditional flair for hunting which involves surviving off the land for weeks in jungles and far-flung remote areas. During such adventurous forays, at times youth have inadvertently strayed to other side of LAC," the statement read.
The Defence Spokesperson said the Indian Army has always been proactive in tracing the lost locals and helping them return home.
"Three such incidents took place in the current year in Upper Subansiri and West Siang District including the latest one. All such individuals were brought back home safely after consistent efforts and coordination by the Indian Army in the past," the statement said.
According to the statement in the latest case, five individuals from Upper Subansiri District had also inadvertently strayed across LAC recently. "Indian Army approached PLA on the hotline to trace and return them. On September 8, the response on the hotline confirmed that the missing individuals had been traced." Union Minister for Youth Affairs and Sports Kiren Rijiju had said on Friday that the Chinese People Liberation Army (PLA) is likely to handover the five Indian nationals, who were missing from Arunachal Pradesh, to Indian authorities on Saturday, Union Minister for Youth Affairs and Sports Kiren Rijiju had said on Friday.
"The Chinese PLA has confirmed to Indian Army to hand over the youths from Arunachal Pradesh to our side. The handing over is likely to take place anytime tomorrow i.e. 12th September 2020 at a designated location," Rijiju said in a tweet.