11:00 GMT27 February 2021
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    Former Indian Army chief General Vijay Kumar Singh’s remarks about Indian troops illegally crossing the India-China border more often than the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) have been picked up by Chinese state media to justify Beijing's stance in the ongoing, 10-month-old military face-off in the eastern Ladakh region.

    Many social media users in India are outraged over former Indian Army Chief General Vijay Kumar Singh's claims that the country's army has transgressed the Line of Actual Control (LAC) border more often than China's People's Liberation Army (PLA).

    “...none of you come to know how many times we have transgressed as per our perception. Chinese media does not cover it,” Singh reportedly said on Sunday in the south Indian city of Madurai.

    “Let me assure you, if China has transgressed 10 times, we must have done it at least 50 times,” added Singh, who is currently state minister for road transport and highways in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s cabinet.

    The former four-star general said that India’s alleged transgressions across the disputed de-facto LAC weren't known because Beijing is not inclined to disclose such info to the public.

    Singh’s remarks come amid a 10-month-long border standoff between the two Asian neighbours in the remote eastern Ladakh region.

    The minister’s observations directly contradict the Indian government’s stance – Modi accuses Beijing of disregarding LAC laws. 

    During an online discussion with Australian think tank Lowy Institute in December last year, India's foreign minister blasted Beijing for “not observing” the agreements on border management.

    Singh’s comments on Sunday have prompted calls for an explanation from the Indian government, with many Indian netizens saying he has vested interests which could play into the hands of Beijing. 

    Indian PM Narendra Modi is also often accused by opposition leaders of giving China a free pass, after he stated at an all-party meeting in June that the PLA hadn’t transgressed into Indian territory. The government accuses the opposition of twisting the prime minister's comments for political purposes.

    ​Significantly, the Indian minister’s comments have also been latched on to by Hu Xijin, the editor-in-chief of Beijing-backed Global Times. “It’s India that breaks the border status quo. China has to respond to it,” Hu said on Twitter.

    ​Nine rounds of discussions between senior military commanders from both India and China have so far failed to find a viable solution to resolve the eastern Ladakh face off, the deadliest between the two nuclear-armed neighbours since the 1962 border war.

    Twenty Indian soldiers were killed in clashes in eastern Ladakh’s Galwan Valley on 15-16 June last year. 

    Related:

    Academic Praises Modi for 'Controlling' Nationalist Mood in India to Avoid Escalation With China
    Ex-Indian Prime Minister Hits Out at Modi Over 'No Intrusion' in Ladakh Remark Amid China Tensions
    India Rushes Additional Troops to Galwan Valley after China Claims it as its Territory
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    Narendra Modi, China, India
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