New Delhi: The centre today said China has confirmed that five men missing from Arunachal Pradesh have been found on “their side” and the process is on to bring them to India. “China’s PLA has responded to the hotline message sent by Indian Army. They have confirmed that the missing youths from Arunachal Pradesh have been found by their side. Further modalities to handover the persons to our authority is being worked out,” Union Minister Kiren Rijiju tweeted.
The five men who had been missing since September 2 were hunters, the army said in a statement. “As a result of persistent efforts of Indian Army, five missing hunters from Indian side of LAC in Upper Subansiri, who had inadvertently crossed over to other side on 2 September 2020, were traced. Chinese Army on September 8 responded on hotline and confirmed that the missing Indians have been found on their side. Formalities for their early transfer are being coordinated with the Chinese Army,” the Army said in a statement today.
Sources said porters and guides after dropping off cargo at forward posts often go to higher altitude to hunt for mask deer or collect herbs like “gumba”. The mask deer and the gumba, a traditional medicine, have big prices in the international grey market. It is possible the five men strayed away while looking to hunt or collect herbs, sources said.
Long-range patrols (LRPs) that need help from porters to carry supplies are common at all strategic points along the McMahon Line, the effective border between India and China.