Former Chief of Army Staff and Minister of State for Road Transport & Highways, General VK Singh on Wednesday, 10 February, responded to the controversy involving his comment on the transgressions across Line of Actual Control (LAC). “For almost a decade, The Indian Express has launched a sustained campaign against me,” he alleged in his statement.
However, on Thursday, the newspaper in question issued a rebuttal, saying that there has been no distortion of the minister’s remarks and stated that it stands by its report.
What Did VK Singh Write Against The Indian Express?
He posted his statement on Twitter captioned, “I am more aware of the LAC and the borders. Suggest do not fall prey to the Chinese propaganda.”
On the widely reported news of the former army official boasting about India transgressing the LAC at least 50 times, as compared to China, which might have crossed it only 10 times, he wrote against the newspaper, “Unfortunately, neither the press council nor any regulating body could ever intervene and bring the paper to heel, which has allowed it to repeatedly get away with distorting and sensationalising statements, sometimes completely out of context.”
In a bid to explain what was said, he also expressed that he had ‘simply stated’ a fact that borders along the LAC had not been demarcated, owing to differing perceptions of it. “The fact that China has refused to settle the border is part of the bullying tactics of the Chinese, and that the Indian side is aware of these tactics and any aggression will be responded to with equal or greater level as was the case in Galwan,” he wrote.
Calling the reports a ‘malicious distortion’ he said that ‘the reply has heedlessly given the Chinese a platform to try and cover their own aggressive tracks and shift the blame to India’.
Singh’s remarks had immediately drawn the attention of Wang Wenbin, the Chinese Foreign Ministry’s spokesperson, who said: “This is unwitting confession of frequent acts of trespass.”
What Did The Indian Express Say?
In a writeback on Thursday, The Indian Express defended itself against the allegations made by Singh, saying that there had been no distortion of the remarks made by Singh.
“Indeed, these were widely covered and were accurately reported by The Indian Express. There is a video recording of General Singh’s remarks in Madurai last Sunday,” the newspaper wrote.
They then went on to quote Singh’s remarks verbatim, wherein he says, “But let me assure you, if China has transgressed ten times, we must have done it at least 50 times, as per our perception.”
“The Indian Express quoted this exactly as it was said,” the writeback further said, adding that the newspaper stands by its report.
India-China Reach Consensus to Disengage at Pangong Lake
The union minister’s statement also comes amid the reported consensus between both the countries to disengage troops on the southern and northern shores of Pangong Lake after the ninth round of military talks.
The two militaries have been engaged in a month-long standoff at the LAC, which had also led to the violent Galwan Valley clash last year. The faceoff had resulted in the martyrdom of 20 Indian soldiers.