China on Monday said that India has “conducted frequent acts of trespass in the border area in an attempt to encroach” the country’s territory. The Chinese foreign ministry was reacting to Indian Minister of State for Transport and Highways VK Singh’s comment that India has crossed the Line of Actual Control more number of times than China, but the government does not publicly announce it.

“This is an unwitting confession by the Indian side,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said after a media briefing. “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 also urged the Indian government to follow through on the “consensus, agreements and treaties” it reached with China, and uphold peace and stability in the border with “concrete actions”.

On Sunday, Singh said that the Line of Actual Control had never been demarcated, and that the two countries have differing perceptions about the de facto border. “China had transgressed many times over the years with its own perception of the LAC,” the minister added. “Similarly, none of you come to know how many times we have transgressed as per our perception. 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.”

The Union minister said that when China crossed in eastern Ladakh in 2020, India had responded with equal measures, and that the situation was “very well under control”. Singh added that Beijing knows that India will give a fitting reply, if something goes wrong on the border.

India and China went to war in 1962 and have not been able to settle their border dispute since then. Both lay claim to thousands of kilometres of territory in each other’s control. Tensions flared up on June 15 last year, during deadly clashes between Indian and Chinese soldiers in Galwan Valley of Ladakh region. Twenty Indian soldiers were killed. China is believed to also have suffered casualties as well, but has not given any details.

The standoff has persisted with both sides bolstering forces along the border. Both India and China have accused each other of crossing into rival territory and of firing shots for the first time there in 45 years.

Several rounds of diplomatic and military level of talks have been held over the past few months to disengage troops, but these have failed to break the deadlock. On February 4, the Centre told the Parliament that China’s attempts to unilaterally change the status quo along the Line of Actual Control had “seriously disturbed” peace and tranquility in the region.