Union Minister V K Singh's statement that India has transgressed along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) more times than China came to bite New Delhi on Monday as Beijing said it was an "unwitting confession by the Indian side" and was the "root cause of the tensions" at the border.
Singh, a former army chief, said on Sunday that the actual India-China border has never been officially demarcated, and "if China has transgressed 10 times, we must have done it at least 50 times."
His statement, apparently made to show Indian bravado, gave ammunition to the Chinese side to lay the blame of the recent border dispute on India.
Responding to a query about Singh's remarks, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin said there is a need to follow agreements and uphold peace and stability in the border region.
"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. We urge the Indian side to follow through on the consensus, agreements, and treaties it [has] reached with China, and uphold peace and stability in the border region with concrete actions," he said.
India and China are in a standoff in eastern Ladakh along the LAC, following aggressive actions by the Chinese army. Twenty Indian soldiers laid down their lives and an unspecified number of Chinese soldiers were killed during a clash in the Galwan Valley last June.
Nearly 50,000 troops of the Indian Army are deployed in a high state of combat readiness in various mountainous locations in eastern Ladakh in sub-zero temperatures, as multiple rounds of talks between the two sides have not yielded concrete solutions to resolve the standoff. China has also deployed an equal number of troops, according to officials.
The two sides have held nine rounds of commander-level talks, but there is no visible expression of that on the ground, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said last week.
"Military Commanders (of India and China) have held nine rounds of meetings so far; we believe some progress has been made but it's not yet at a stage where there is visible expression of it on the ground," Jaishankar told reporters on Saturday last.
"After last year's events, we've deployed troops in very large numbers to meet the challenge that has come from the massing of Chinese troops there," he said.