“Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.” These line from one of Hollywood’s finest movies “The Shawshank Redemption” can now suitably describe the story of Wang Qi — the Chinese soldier who was stranded in India for the last 54 years.
The 77-year-old who was in India since 1963, a year after the border war, finally reached his home village in China Shaanxi province to have an emotional reunion with his kin last Saturday.
Mr Wang flew to Beijing from the Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi with his son Vishnu, daughter-in-law Neha and grand daughter, Khanak. He was seen off by Tarun Vijay, President of the India-China Parliamentary Group. Mr Wang’s India wife Sushila, however, stayed back. He was received by his close relatives in China, besides officials of the China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Indian Embassy.
“It was an emotional reunion,” an official present at the airport told PTI.
Mr Wang strayed into India during the Indo-China war in 1963. The Indian Red Cross Society had arrested him along India’s eastern frontier. He was imprisoned for six years, and in 1969, he shifted to Tirodi village in Madhya Pradesh. There he married a local woman and settled ever since.
Officials in Beijing reported that after reaching the capital city, Mr Wang took an afternoon flight to Xian. He thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and said that he would return within a month.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry had said on February 6 that Mr Wang was provided with a passport to travel to China in 2013 and he was also paid a living allowance. The Indian government also provided a re-entry visa for Wang to return to his home in Madhya Pradesh if he wishes to.
According to Indian officials, Mr Wang’s travel is a positive development of Indo-China relations particularly at a time when the two countries have contradictions over issues like China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, China blocking India’s entry into Nuclear Suppliers Group, etc.