Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday said Minister of State for Road Transport and Highways VK Singh should be sacked for his comments that India has crossed the Line of Actual Control more times than China, but the government does not publicly announce it.
The former Congress chief asked why a Bharatiya Janata Party minister was helping China make a case against India. “He should’ve been sacked,” Gandhi tweeted. “Not sacking him means insulting every Indian Jawan.”
On Sunday, Singh had also said that India’s border with China 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.”
Reacting to the Union minister’s statement, China had on Tuesday said the comments were 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,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said at a press briefing.
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”.
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 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.