Beijing: China “commended” India for facilitating the return of its soldier, who was stuck in India for over 50 years after crossing the border following the 1962 Sino-Indian war.
“Thanks to the concerted efforts of China and India, Wang Qi has come back to China and got reunited with his family,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said on Monday.
“We commend the assistance by relevant departments of India” in this regard, he said.
Mr Geng, however, said he was not aware of Wang’s and his Indian family members’ resettlement plans. He said he has to verify with local authorities.
Mr Geng made the remarks in reply to a question on what would happen to his Indian family – his wife, daughter, son, daughter-in-law and granddaughter – if Wang decides to settle in China.
Wang was given an emotional welcome by his Chinese family members and officials when he reached Xian, the provincial capital of his home province Shaanxi, last week.
He was accompanied by his son Vishnu Wang, 35, daughter-in-law Neha and granddaughter, Khanak Wang. His Indian wife Shushila and daughter stayed back in India due to ill health, officials said.
Indian officials, who accompanied Wang, said he and his family have stayed put at a hotel in Xian and have not visited his village which is about 100 kms from there.
China facilitated Wang’s travel by giving him a passport and visas to his family. India has also provided visa to him so that he can return if he chooses to.
Chinese officials say Wang has to take a decision whether to stay in China or go back to India.
Wang was caught when he entered the Indian territory shortly after the Sino-India war in 1962. He was later released from jail and settled in Tirodi village of Balaghat district in Madhya Pradesh.
Though his story has been published by Indian media several times in the past, a recent BBC TV feature on him, highlighting his plight, was widely picked by the Chinese social media, prompting the Chinese government to initiate action in coordination with India to facilitate his return.
Indian officials have termed the facilitation of Wang and his family’s travel by both sides as a positive development, especially at a time when Sino-India relations are stuck with differences over issues like the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, China’s opposition to India’s entry into the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) and Beijing’s blocking of Jaish chief Masood Azhar’s designation as a global terrorist by the UN.