China releases five Indians detained near Tibet

An Indian army convoy moves on the Srinagar- Ladakh highway at Gagangeer of the Indian-controlled Kashmir on Sept. 9, 2020. (AP)
Updated 12 September 2020

China releases five Indians detained near Tibet

  • The men were escorted back across the high-altitude to the border town of Kibithu
  • The men had trespassed and that Chinese officials had ‘detained, warned and educated’ them

NEW DELHI: China on Saturday released five Indian nationals it detained in a region bordering Tibet, the Indian army said, days after the two sides agreed to dial down tensions on their disputed frontier.
The men, who the Indian side said had accidentally strayed into Chinese territory, were escorted back across the high-altitude frontier by the People’s Liberation Army to the border town of Kibithu.
“After quarantine of 14 days for Covid-19 they will be handed over to family members,” an Indian defense spokesman said on Twitter.
There was no official confirmation of the release from China, but the state-run Global Times tabloid claimed the men were “Indian intelligence staff who had disguised themselves as hunters.”
It reported that the men had trespassed and that Chinese officials had “detained, warned and educated” them.
India and China, which fought a brief but deadly border war in 1962, have been embroiled in a series of deadly clashes and showdowns on their contested Himalayan border in recent months.
Both sides have sent tens of thousands of troops to the region since a skirmish in June that saw 20 Indian troops killed, along with a still unknown number of Chinese casualties.
New Delhi responded with an escalating economic embargo that saw a ban on Chinese-made apps and a block on Chinese goods at its ports and customs posts.
Earlier this week the Global Times published a strident editorial warning that Indian troops “will all be annihilated” if Delhi provoked a war.
Saturday’s handover took place two days after a meeting in Moscow between the Indian and Chinese foreign ministers, who said they had agreed to “disengage” from the frontier as soon as possible.


Pakistan influence over Taliban can help, envoy says

Updated 7 min 26 sec ago

Pakistan influence over Taliban can help, envoy says

  • Progress of talks has been slow and rising violence has sapped trust

ISLAMABAD: The Afghan President’s Special Envoy for Pakistan Mohammed Umer Daudzai said on Wednesday that Pakistan should use its influence over the Taliban to help break a deadlock in peace talks between the insurgent group and Kabul, but warned that Islamabad should push the Taliban to support democracy.
Talks between an Afghan government delegation and the Taliban have been ongoing in Doha since mid-September, but progress has been slow and rising violence has sapped trust.
According to the UN, nearly 6,000 Afghan civilians have been killed or wounded in the first nine months of the year as heavy fighting between government forces and Taliban insurgents rages on despite efforts to find peace.
The peace talks follow a deal in February between the USs and the Taliban that will pave the way for foreign forces to leave Afghanistan by May 2021 in exchange for counterterrorism guarantees from the Taliban, who agreed to negotiate a permanent ceasefire and a power-sharing formula with Kabul.
“We are pleased at the agreement between the Taliban and the US; it has proved that Pakistan has influence on the Taliban,” Daudzai told Arab News.
“Since they have influence, so they should also help us. This is our expectation. Pakistan has not refused to help us. They have also not denied their influence (on the Taliban).”
Neighboring Pakistan’s role in Afghanistan has for years been ambiguous — it is a US ally but is also accused of supporting the Taliban as its proxy in Afghanistan, part of its wider jockeying with regional rival India. Islamabad denies this. It also insists its influence with the Taliban has waned over the years.
“Pakistani leaders know our position as what do we want, what do we expect from them. But when and how will they do that is up to them.
But we want urgent actions,” Daudzai said, adding that the Afghan government expected Pakistan to support democracy in Afghanistan.
He said Prime Minister Imran Khan would hold “detailed discussions” on the peace process with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani when they met in Kabul later this year.