GUWAHATI/NEW DELHI: China on Monday denied having any knowledge on the five missing youths from

Arunachal Pradesh

who were allegedly abducted by the People’s Liberation Army.

“China’s position on the east sector of the China-India boundary, or Zangnan (the southern part of China’s Xizang), is consistent and clear. The Chinese government has never recognised the so-called ‘Arunachal Pradesh’. I’m not aware of the situation you mentioned,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said.

In reiterating China’s official position, the spokesperson was suggesting that it could not “abduct” its own citizens.

China’s reiteration of its position on Arunachal, in the middle of the military standoff in eastern Ladakh, was in response to a question in the daily briefing on a tweet by junior youth affairs and sports minister

Kiren Rijiju

in which he had said that the Indian Army had sent a “hotline message” to PLA about the missing individuals and a response was awaited.

The Indian Army has already sent hotline message to the counterpart PLA establishment at the border point in Arunac…

— Kiren Rijiju (@KirenRijiju) 1599395132000

While there was no response from Indian authorities, official sources in New Delhi said that India’s position has always been that Arunachal Pradesh is an integral and inalien able part of India. The youthswere engaged by the Army as porters.

Two of their friends who managed to return home told villagers that the five had been abducted from Sera-7 area — an Army patrolling area located on the border about 12 km further north of Nacho in the youths’ home district of Upper Subansiri.

The family members of those missing have claimed they were abducted by the PLA from near the border in Upper Subansiri district. The Arunachal Pradesh government has launched a probe in Nacho to verify messages on social media by family members of the youths about their abduction.

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