Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu and Union Minister Kiren Rijiju on Saturday thanked Indian Army for securing the smooth return of five men from the state, who had recently gone missing.

Rijiju said in a tweet that China’s PLA had handed over our 5 boys to India’s side at Kibitu area, he appreciated the Indian Army for the smooth return of Indian citizens. He also said that he thanks the Indian Army Chief, his office and the local Commanders for constantly following up the matter and regularly updating him on the matter.

Arunachal Chief Minister said he was wholeheartedly thankful to the government of India and Indian Army for their persistent efforts in securing their return. He said he was absolutely glad to know that five of Arunachali youths had been safely handed over to Indian Army by Chinese PLA. He said he was wholeheartedly thankful to the Govt of India and the Indian Army for their persistent effort in securing their return.

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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 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.’

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