(Photo by MOHD ARHAAN ARCHER/AFP via Getty Images)

A Chinese soldier apprehended by the Indian army earlier this week after he strayed across a tense de facto border was handed back to China on Tuesday night, an Indian government source in New Delhi said on Wednesday.

The People’s Liberation Army soldier, a corporal named Wang Ya Long, had been captured on Monday in the Demchok area of eastern Ladakh, according to a statement from the Indian army.

The PLA Daily, China’s official military newspaper, has also confirmed the development.

The soldier was handed over early Wednesday morning, a report in the newspaper said.

A Chinese military spokesman has earlier said that Wang got lost while looking for Tibetan herdsman’s yak.

India and China have engaged in a tense standoff along their 3,500-kilometre (2,200-mile) border since a battle in June left at least 20 Indian soldiers dead, as well as an unspecified number of Chinese casualties

Both sides have poured tens of thousands of troops into the region since then despite several rounds of talks.

Analysts say both sides are digging for a long, hard winter showdown.

Tensions have also spilled into civilian life, with some Indian nationalists demanding a boycott of Chinese goods, and the government banning a slew of social media apps from its major rival.

India is also seeking closer security ties with other countries wary of China’s growing military power.

Australia announced Tuesday that it would for the first time take part in naval exercises with India, Japan and the United States in the Indian Ocean.

Meanwhile the Indian army’s vice chief of staff, Lieutenant General S.K. Saini, is in the United States for talks and to seek other equipment for use in the China border showdown, government sources said.

(Reuters, AFP)