Chinese state-run media dismissed claims the Indian soldiers were kidnapped yesterday, amid growing tensions between the two powers. Global Times tweeted: “Global Times sources have refuted overseas media reports claiming that 20 Indian soldiers were kidnapped by the PLA in boundary areas with China. They are all fake news.”
They said “similar rumours also circulated in September, claiming that five Indian residents were kidnapped by the Chinese army when the former went out hunting”.
The propaganda network said: “These ‘residents’ were Indian intelligence agents who had disguised themselves as hunters.
“They trespassed the China-India border in September and entered the Shannan Prefecture of Tibet.”
However, at the time India said the five missing men were from the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh and were not intelligence agents.
China has hit out at India’s kidnapping claims
Lieutenant Colonel Harsh Wardhan Pande, Indian defence ministry spokesman, said: “We spoke with them on the hotline and told them that it’s suspected that some people have crossed across to your side and we will be grateful if you could hand them over back, as per what we do normally.
“There is no earmarked line going through the forest or the mountains, so they keep moving here and there.
“So they might have gone there, it’s a very normal thing.”
It comes amid growing tensions between China and India, following a deadly clash between soldiers earlier this year.
The border between India and China
China has invested in the Pakistani port of Gwadar
Dozens were killed and injured when two groups attacked each other with rocks, their own fists and crude makeshift weapons.
China has now claimed these “fake news” stories about kidnapping “could muddy the water and bring about uncertainty to the relationship between the Chinese and Indian militaries”.
This week India and China are to hold talks to try and de-escalate the tensions along the Line of Actual Control, LAC.
In September the two sides released a joint statement saying the “current situation is not in the interest of either side”.
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The Chinese and Indian foreign ministers said, “they agreed, therefore, that the border troops of both sides should continue their dialogue, quickly disengage.
They added: “They should maintain proper distance and ease tensions.”
Soldiers from China and India are marshalled in the high altitude region of Ladakh’s Galwan valley in the Himalayas.
India and China fought one war over the disputed region in 1962.
China won concessions in this war that India has disputed ever since.