The Indian government on Wednesday said 39 Indian sailors stuck in China will be brought back soon as diplomatic talks are on with the neighbouring country. Two cargo vessels with a total of 39 Indians on board have been on anchorage in Chinese waters as they were not allowed to unload their cargo though some other ships have managed to do so. The matter was purported to also have a connection to the souring of Australia-China ties in recent months, though Beijing has disputed this.

“Diplomatic talks are going on for this successfully. Our seafarers will come to India soon,” Ports, Shipping and Waterways Minister Mansukh Mandaviya said in reply to a query about sailors being stuck in China for the last seven months during Cabinet briefing.

Meanwhile, China has said that the “real” reason for the Indian sailors stuck in China is that the “freight forwarder doesn’t want to adjust plans due to commercial interests”. The spokesperson of the Chinese Embassy in India Counselor Ji Rong also said that the Chinese authorities have “never denied any vessel departure”.

Taking to Twitter, the spokesperson said, “Chinese authorities have been in close communication with the Indian side and provided timely assistance and necessary supplies to Indian sailors. China has never denied any vessel departure. The real cause of the situation is freight forwarder doesn’t want to adjust plans due to commercial interests.”