VK Singh says remarks on LAC transgressions and China 'maliciously distorted', issues clarification on Twitter

The former army chief's statement comes a day after Congress leader Rahul Gandhi questioned why the Union minister was helping China make a case against India and demanded his sacking

FP Staff February 10, 2021 18:20:10 IST
VK Singh says remarks on LAC transgressions and China 'maliciously distorted', issues clarification on Twitter

File image of VK Singh.

Taking to Twitter on Wednesday, Union Minister VK Singh said his comments on the Line of Actual Control and China had been distorted by an English language newspaper and issued a clarification regarding the same.

"...It is with a feeling of deja 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," Singh wrote, in a statement released on Twitter.

"This distortion could not be further from the truth. I have simply stated the established fact that the borders along the LAC have not been demarcated and until that is done there will always be differing perceptions."

"The fact that the Peoples' Republic of China has refused to settle the border is part of the bullying tactics adopted by the Chinese and that the Indian side is aware of the tactics and any aggression will be responded to with equal or greater level as was the case in Galwan," Singh added.

"...As a former army chief and Minister of State for External Affairs, I am fully aware of the implications of this blatant misreporting. I wish to place on record that this report is a malicious distortion and has nothing to do with what was actually said," Singh concluded.

The former army chief's statement comes a day after Congress leader Rahul Gandhi demanded his sacking and said not removing him would amount to "insult of Indian soldiers".

"Why is a BJP minister helping China make a case against India? He should’ve been sacked. Not sacking him means insulting every Indian Jawan," Rahul had said on Twitter, while tagging a news report.

On Sunday, a report in The Indian Express had quoted Singh as saying 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,” the report quoted the Union minister as saying.

The news report also stated that Singh's comments were at odds with India's official position on the matter. MEA spokesperson Anurag Srivastava, in the aftermath of the Galwan Valley clash in which 20 soldiers and an unspecified number of Chinese troops were killed, had said “the Indian side has never undertaken any actions across the LAC”.

Singh's comments assume significance amidst the backdrop of close to 100,000 Indian and Chinese troops being deployed in eastern Ladakh and both sides showing indications of having dug in for the long haul.

China on Monday hit back with the foreign ministry calling Singh's statement an 'unwitting confession' and state-run Global Times taking a strong stance.

Foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin at a briefing claimed that India’s transgressions were the root cause of the tensions at the border, India Today reported.

“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 Wenbin had reportedly claimed.

“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, as per the report.

Singh's remarks also come just days after the government said in the Lok Sabha that the Chinese military attempted to transgress the LAC in several areas since May but these efforts were invariably met with an appropriate response from the Indian side.

"From April-May last year, there had been an enhanced deployment of troops and armaments by the Chinese side in the border areas and along the LAC in the Western Sector," Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan said.

The minister was replying to questions on the border row including whether the talks have helped in reaching any logical conclusions.

"Since mid-May, the Chinese side attempted to transgress the LAC in several areas of the Western Sector of the India-China border area. These attempts were invariably met with an appropriate response from us," Muraleedharan said.

On 28 January, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, in an address at an online conference on India-China ties, said the events in eastern Ladakh last year have profoundly disturbed the relationship and asserted that any attempt to unilaterally change the status quo along the LAC is "completely unacceptable".

The external affairs minister said any expectation that the situation at the border "can be brushed aside and life can carry on undisturbed" is simply not realistic.

The face-off between the two countries began in early May following a clash between soldiers of the two sides near Pangong lake in eastern Ladakh.

In the ninth round of military talks last month, both sides agreed to push for an early disengagement of troops and resolved to continue "effective efforts" to stabilise and control the situation in eastern Ladakh.

With inputs from PTI

 

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