Updated: February 11, 2021 11:08:01 pm
A DAY after Minister of State for Road Transport and Highways Gen V K Singh (retd) said that India has transgressed the Line of Actual Control (LAC) more often than the Chinese side based on perceptions, contradicting India’s official position, Beijing Monday claimed that the former Army Chief’s remark was an “unwitting confession” of “frequent acts of trespass”.
Responding to a question, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin 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 said: “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.”
In Madurai on Sunday, while responding to questions from the local media, Singh had said that China had transgressed many times based on its perception of the LAC. “…none of you come to know how many times we have transgressed as per our perception. We don’t announce it. Chinese media does not cover it… Let me assure you, if China has transgressed 10 times, we must have done it at least 50 times, as per our perception,” Singh said.
Singh’s comments are in variance with India’s official position. In June last year, after the Galwan Valley incident when 20 soldiers and an unspecified number of Chinese troops were killed, the Ministry of External Affairs’ official spokesperson Anurag Srivastava had said that “the Indian side has never undertaken any actions across the LAC”.
“Indian troops are fully familiar with the alignment of the LAC in all sectors of the India-China border areas and abide scrupulously by it. They have been patrolling all along the LAC, including in the Galwan Valley, for a long time. All infrastructure built by the Indian side has always been on its own side of the LAC. The Indian side has never undertaken any actions across the LAC and has never attempted to unilaterally change the status quo,” the spokesperson had said on June 25.
On Sunday, Singh claimed that in previous instances, Chinese troops would set up camps on the Indian side and only go back partially after negotiations. “But, the present government has ensured that this does not happen,” he said. “China is under pressure, since we are sitting at places (along the border), where it does not like… The Chinese do understand that if something goes wrong, India is in a position to hit back,” he said.
Referring to Singh’s comments, Hu Xijin, editor in chief of China’s Global Times, tweeted: “…V K Singh, an Indian Union Minister of State, also former Army General, accidentally told truth of China-India border situation. It’s India that breaks border status quo, China has to respond to it.”
Singh, who was Army chief from 2010 to 2012, was not available for a comment. There was no official response from the Ministry of External Affairs to Singh’s comments.
Referring to The Indian Express report ‘VK Singh LAC remark counters India position, China says trespass clear’ (February 9), Minister of State (Road Transport and Highways) General V K Singh (retired), in a Facebook post Wednesday, said: “It was with a feeling of déjà vu that I saw my reported reply to a question in Madurai splashed across social media and the newspapers, wherein I am purported to have said that India has been transgressing the LAC with China, five times to every one ingress of theirs. This distortion could not be further from the truth…The distortion of my statement/reply has needlessly given the Chinese a platform to try and cover their own aggressive tracks and shift the blame on India….This report is a malicious distortion and has nothing to do with what was actually said.”
The Indian Express replies:
There has been no distortion of the remarks of Minister of State (Road Transport and Highways) General VK Singh (retired). Indeed, these were widely covered and were accurately reported by The Indian Express. There is a video recording of General Singh’s remarks in Madurai last Sunday.
These are his quotes verbatim: “With China our border has never been demarcated. One. Two, over a period of time, there have been transgressions where China says this is my perception of the Line of Actual Control. Similarly, none of you come to know how many times we have transgressed that as per our perception. We don’t announce it, Chinese media doesn’t cover it, right. But let me assure you, if China has transgressed ten times, we must have done it at least 50 times, as per our perception.”
The Indian Express quoted this exactly as it was said. The newspaper stands by its report.
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