India may return a detained Chinese soldier because the soldier very likely got lost at the border.

China and India are currently communicating on the matter, to which India is holding a relatively positive attitude. China and India previously reached an agreement on the matter and the two sides are moving toward solving the issue, sources close to the matter told the Global Times on Monday.

The incident will not cause new conflicts in the border areas, and solving the matter will also signal new progress in the bilateral negotiations, the sources said.

China and India share a long border with many parts of it uninhabited for different reasons. Without reference indicators or the proper tools, it is easy to get lost. In fact, several similar incidents involving lost soldiers from both sides have occurred previously, Qian Feng, director of the research department at the National Strategy Institute at Tsinghua University in Beijing, told the Global Times.

The common procedures after a missing soldier is found from the other side include confirming his identify, conducting the necessary checks and notifying the other side, Qian said, noting that China and India have so far followed the correct procedure in dealing with the incident.

The incident would not affect the upcoming round of talks between the two militaries, Qian said. The two sides have been working together to solve the incident and send back the missing soldiers.

Although China and India have some disputes along the border areas and ties have been strained recently, they have reached some consensuses during the last several rounds of talks. Given the ‘so-far-so-good’ atmosphere from the two sides, and the fact that agreements were reached during the previous negotiations, the incident would likely be solved smoothly, he said.

A smooth handling of the latest incident is a good sign, indicating that India is adjusting its previous rash and aggressive policy against China, and showing India does not want similar incidents to interrupt the improved atmosphere and hopes to avoid further escalating border conflicts with China, Qian said.