In its detailed report, the THING noted that India’s engagement with China is “complex” and Chinese attempts to unilaterally alter the status quo along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh starting from April-May 2020 seriously disturbed the peace and tranquility in border areas.
Separately, the ministry said there is “no let-up” in Pakistan-sponsored cross-border terrorism and Islamabad is yet to show sincerity in delivering justice to the families of the victims of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks.
Here’s what the MEA said in its annual report …
The MEA called out China over the border flare-up in eastern Ladakh in 2020, saying that such attempts seriously disturbed the peace and tranquility in border areas.
It said these attempts were invariably met with an “appropriate response” from Indian armed forces.
“India’s engagement with China is complex. The two sides have agreed that pending the final settlement of the boundary question, maintenance of peace and tranquility in the border areas is an essential basis for the overall development of the bilateral relationship,” the MEA’s annual report for 2022 said.
“However, starting from April-May 2020, the Chinese side undertook several attempts to unilaterally alter the status quo along the LAC in the Western sector, which seriously disturbed the peace and tranquility along the LAC in the Western sector and impacted the development of the relationship,” it said.
The central government refers to eastern Ladakh as the Western sector.
The MEA said both sides have agreed to resolve the issues along the LAC in eastern Ladakh through peaceful dialogue and that discussions have continued with the Chinese side to achieve complete disengagement from all friction points and full restoration of peace and tranquility in the India-China border areas at an early date.
“However, the continued unilateral attempts by China to change the status quo have impacted the bilateral relationship since then,” it said.
“The two sides continued to make some progress in the resolution of the issues along the LAC in Eastern Ladakh. Continuing with disengagement in Pangong Tso in February 2021 and in the Gogra area in August 2021, this year, disengagement was achieved in Gogra-Hot Springs (PP-15) in Eastern Ladakh (September 2022),” the MEA said.
It said there are still some outstanding issues that need to be resolved.
“India has maintained its engagement with the Chinese side both through diplomatic and military channels to resolve the remaining issues at the earliest so as to restore peace and tranquility in the border areas,” the MEA said.
It said external affairs minister S Jaishankar held a meeting with the then Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi during the latter’s visit to India on March 25 last year.
“The two ministers exchanged views on the border situation along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Eastern Ladakh. EAM conveyed to FM Wang Yi that restoration of normalcy will require a restoration of peace and tranquility,” the report said.
The ministry also cited the diplomatic and military talks between India and China to resolve the border issue.
“During these diplomatic and military level meetings, the two sides have had a candid and in-depth exchange of views on the situation along the LAC in the India-China border areas,” the report said.
It is Pakistan
In a scathing criticism of Pakistan, the MEA said that the neighbouring country continues to engage in “hostile and fabricated propaganda” to vilify India and to divert attention from its domestic political and economic failures.
It was referring to the deep financial crisis plaguing the country due to depleting forex reserves and mounting debt.
The MEA said that India desires normal neighbourly relations with Pakistan and New Delhi’s consistent position has been that issues, if any, should be resolved bilaterally and peacefully, in an atmosphere free of terror and violence.
At the same time, it said the onus is on Pakistan to create such a conducive environment.
“Pakistan continues to engage in hostile and fabricated propaganda to vilify India, and to divert attention from its domestic political and economic failures,” it said.
“India has completely and unequivocally rejected all actions and statements by Pakistan on matters which are completely internal to India,” the MEA said, referring to the repeated remakrs made by the country on Kashmir.
It said there is a greater understanding among countries that Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India and that the matters related to it are internal to the country.
“Despite India’s persistent urging that Pakistan respect its January 2004 commitment of not allowing its soil or territory under its control to be used for terrorism against India, there was no let-up in cross-border terrorism, infiltration and illegal smuggling of arms into India across the Line of Control (LoC) and International Boundary,” the MEA said.
“Pakistan is yet to show sincerity in delivering justice to the families of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks,” it said.
The MEA noted that India has consistently stressed the need for Pakistan to take “credible, irreversible and verifiable” action to end cross-border terrorism.
“India consistently raises the issue of Pakistan’s continued support to cross-border terrorism and terrorist infiltration in bilateral, regional and multilateral fora. In such outreach, credible inputs regarding the Pakistani origins of the captured terrorists are also shared,” it said.
The MEA said India desires normal neighbourly ties with Pakistan.
“India desires normal neighbourly relations with Pakistan. India’s consistent position is that issues, if any, between India and Pakistan should be resolved bilaterally and peacefully, in an atmosphere free of terror and violence.
It noted that despite that, Pakistan continues to sponsor cross-border terrorism against India; restrict normal trade, connectivity, and people-to people exchanges.