A teenager from India’s northeastern Arunachal Pradesh state who had apparently gone missing along the country’s disputed border with China has been returned by the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA).
An Indian lawmaker, however, has accused the PLA of abducting 17-year-old Miram Taron from an area close to the Tsangpo river that enters India in Arunachal Pradesh.
The alleged kidnapping had sparked a massive furore in India where there has been constant tension for many years in contested territories around the border between both the countries.
Rahul Gandhi, the leader of the main Opposition party, the Congress, has consistently attacked prime minister Narendra Modi over his “silence” on the matter.
Arunachal Pradesh has been ground zero for the India-China conflict as Beijing claims it has rights over the entire state and calls it Zangnan.
The country has also termed the region to be “South Tibet” and described it as an “integral part” of China.
India had asked China earlier this month for assistance in tracing and returning the teen. On Tuesday, China’s PLA confirmed they had found Miram and a day later that he would be repatriated to the Indian side.
“The Chinese PLA handed over the young boy from Arunachal Pradesh Shri Miram Taron to Indian Army at WACHA-DAMAI interaction point in Arunachal Pradesh today,” tweeted Kiren Rijiju, a federal minister.
“I thank our proud Indian army for pursuing the case meticulously with PLA and safely securing our young boy back home,” he added.
China has claimed the teen had “illegally” ventured into its territory, reported news agency Reuters.
A spokesman for the Chinese army, Colonel Long Shaohua, said the Indian teen citizen was found by Chinese border guards during a patrol.
The individual “illegally entered Chinese territory and then was routinely questioned, quarantined and observed in accordance with relevant border control regulations, and given humanitarian assistance,” he said in the statement posted on WeChat.
The announcement did not mention Miram by name, but added a warning for New Delhi.
“We urge the Indian side to strictly implement bilateral agreements, strengthen personnel management and control, and earnestly maintain normal order in the border areas.”