Indian minister VK Singh’s statement that India has transgressed the Line of Actual (LAC) more times than China is an “unwitting confession”, the Chinese foreign ministry said on Monday.
Singh, the transport and highway minister and former four-star general of the Indian Army, was quoted in Indian media on Sunday as saying that both countries had crossed their perceptions of the undemarcated LAC many times.
“None of you come to know how many times we have transgressed as per our perception. Chinese media does not cover it,” Singh was quoted as saying. “Let me assure you, if China has transgressed 10 times, we must have done it at least 50 times.”
The Chinese foreign ministry was asked to comment on Singh’s statement after the regular briefing was over on Monday.
According to the statement published on the ministry’s website, spokesperson Wang Wenbin was quick to latch on to it, and blame India for the ongoing border conflict along the LAC in eastern Ladakh.
It is the root cause of the tension, he said.
“This is an unwitting confession by the Indian side. For a long time, the Indian side has conducted frequent acts of trespass in the border area in an attempt to encroach on China’s territory and constantly created disputes and frictions, which is the root cause of the tensions at the China-India border,” Wang added.
“We urge the Indian side to follow through on the consensus, agreements and treaties it reached with China, and uphold peace and stability in the border region with concrete actions,” he added.
There was no immediate response from Indian officials to the Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson’s comments.
The Indian government has repeatedly said that China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) troops were the first to provoke, transgress across the LAC and, subsequently, not ready to disengage.
External affairs ministry spokesperson Anurag Srivastava had earlier spelt out the Indian government’s position on the tensions and the disengagement process, saying the LAC “must be strictly respected and observed as this is the basis for peace and tranquillity in the border areas”.
Several rounds of diplomatic and military have yielded no result as the standoff continues in eastern Ladakh.
The nationalistic tabloid Global Times weighed in on the matter late on Monday after the foreign ministry’s statement was published, with a headline: “Indian politician admits India was true aggressor in border area.”
“Singh sounded just like an aggressor admitting and bragging about his aggression. The rhetoric unveiled belligerence and an expansionist policy, which is the opposite of India’s previous narrative – India was standing up to China’s ‘bullying.’”
The latest remarks from Singh, the GT article said, not only embarrassed India, but also made the US and other western countries, which have been endorsing India for a long time, look bad.
“Just a few days ago, Emily J Horne, spokesperson of the National Security Council, expressed Washington’s concern over ‘Beijing’s pattern of ongoing attempts to intimidate its neighbours’ in the new US administration’s first response to the China-India border standoff.”
“Yet Singh quickly proved who the real ‘intimidator’ is.”