Defence Minister Rajnath Singh admitted on Tuesday that a “sizeable number” of Chinese troops have moved into eastern Ladakh, PTI reported. He said India was taking all steps necessary to deal with the situation. This is the first admission by the Centre that Chinese troops have encroached upon Indian territory.

Singh said a meeting between senior Indian and Chinese military leaders has been scheduled for June 6. He added that there is “disagreement” between India and China about the territory in Ladakh, and the Chinese have occupied what they feel is theirs.

“There has been a disagreement over it,” he said. “A sizeable number of Chinese people have come there. India has done what it needs to do.”

The Opposition had last month lashed out at the Narendra Modi-led government, demanding that it come clean on the standoff with China on the Ladakh and North Sikkim borders. “The government’s silence about the border situation with China is fueling massive speculation and uncertainty at a time of crisis,” Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said on May 29. “GOI [Government of India] must come clean and tell India exactly what’s happening.”

The Congress leader’s remarks came two days after the party had called the stand-off between the two nations a matter of “serious national concern”. On May 26, Gandhi had made a similar demand and said the government should make it clear as to what was happening on the border so that people can understand and form their own opinions.

Over the last three weeks, Chinese troops have clashed with the Indian Army at several points along the Line of Actual Control. India and China do not share a defined and demarcated border. Instead, there is the Line of Actual Control, which stretches thousands of kilometres from Ladakh all the way to Arunachal Pradesh.

Singh said on Tuesday that the 74-day standoff in Doklam between the two countries was resolved through talks. “We have found solutions to similar situations in the past as well,” he said. “Talks at the military and diplomatic levels were on to resolve the current issue. India does not hurt pride of any country and at the same time, it does not tolerate any attempt to hurt its own pride.”