An image is being widely shared on social media with the text – ‘1967 Nathula! Chinese soldiers fearing punishment from PLA don’t want to go back. Indian troops returned him after China lost the conflict and went back into its territory’. Let’s fact-check the claim made in the post.
Claim: Image of Indian troops returning Chinese soldier after China lost the 1967 Nathu La conflict to India.
Fact: The image is not related to the 1967 Nathu La conflict between India and China. It shows Indian soldiers carrying a Chinese prisoner-of-war to the exchange point in Panmunjom, North Korea, for return to the Communists, after the Korean War (1950-1953). So, the claim made in the post is FALSE.
When the image is subjected to reverse image search technique, it was found in the Getty Images library. The image had the following description with it- ‘Two Indian soldiers carrying a weeping Chinese prisoner-of-war to the exchange point in Panmunjom, North Korea, for return to the Communists after the Korean War, 5th October 1953. He was among 65 Chinese soldiers who asked to be repatriated to their homeland’. So, it is quite clear that the image shows Indian soldiers carrying a Chinese prisoner-of-war after the end of Korean war in 1953.
India’s role in the Korean war:
As part of India’s first UN peacekeeping mission, India sent 60th Field Ambulance, a paramedical unit, to render assistance to those injured in the war. The unit consisted of 346 personnel and served in the Korean theater for three and a half years. It provided assistance to 200,000 wounded and carried out 2,300 field surgeries. Later, as fighting was subsiding in 1953, India sent 6,000 soldiers to form the Custodian Force India (CFI), which was tasked with looking after prisoners of war (POWs) and resolving the issue of their repatriation.
Nathu La conflict 1967:
The Nathu La and Cho La clashes (11 -14 September 1967 for Nathu La; 1 October 1967 for Cho La) were a series of clashes between India and China along the Sikkim border. India wanted to construct an iron fence at Nathu La pass in Sikkim to put an end to Chinese incursions but to the Chinese, it seemed like arrogant aggression. During the two incidents, 88 Indian Army personnel were killed and China had lost 340 soldiers. India eventually gained an upper hand in the conflict.
To sum it up, the viral image of Indian soldiers carrying a Chinese prisoner-of-war is related to the Korean war (1950-1953), not to the 1967 Nathu La conflict.
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