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Transcript of Media Briefing by Official Spokesperson on Prime Minister’s ongoing visit to United States of America (September 25, 2015)

September 26, 2015

Official Spokespeson (Mr. Vikas Swarup):...... (inaudible) .... but he also had some very important bilateral meetings and I will just give you readouts on what happened in those meetings. The day began with a call on Prime Minister by Mr. Jim Yong Kim, the President of the World Bank. He praised the progress made in the Swachh Bharat and the Clean Ganga programmers where the World Bank is an important partner. He said that the Prime Minister’s reforms have had a huge impact on the way in which the world looks at India. He also acknowledged that what was happening in India was actually very different from what had happened in other countries. He maintained that the World Bank wanted to be strong partner as India moves forward on these targets. The Prime Minister of course expounded on the progress that had been on number of thousands of toilets that had been constructed, on the international technology that was being sought now for the Clean Ganga programme and his ambitious programmes for 175 gigawatts of renewable energy. Then there was a discussion on the governance structure of the World Bank. The Prime Minister said that he had always supported strengthening of global governance and reform of the institutions of global governance, but it was a fact also that a country like India was not represented in the structures. So, this needed to change. Then the World Bank President inquired about India’s position in climate change and then the Prime Minister gave a lengthy exposition on that. I will come to that because the Prime Minister also mentioned the same thing when he met Mr. Ban Ki-moon, the UN Secretary General.

The next meeting the Prime Minister had was with His Majesty King Abdullah II, the king of Hashemite kingdom of Jordan. This was also a very important meeting because Jordon is a very important country in a very important region from India’s point of view. The Prime Minister began the meeting by commending King Abdullah for strong leadership that he had shown in the fight against international terrorism. He also thanked His Majesty for the support that Jordon had provided when Indian citizens were trapped in Iraq and Syria and had to be evacuated. King Abdulla said that he valued India as a partner and wanted to increase the security and economic cooperation that Jordon has with India. Both leaders acknowledged that ISIS was one of the gravest challenges facing the international community. There was a discussion on how do we prevent radicalization of our youth and how do we counteract extremist messaging. In this context, the Prime Minister said that there was a need to delink terrorism from religion and in this context, he said that the only to combat international terrorism and the menace of organizations like ISIS was to have a global response. In this context, he specifically referred to the long pending proposal for a comprehensive convention on international terrorism and said the time had now come for the international community to speak with one voice on this important issue and adopt this global convention. There was also a discussion on UN Security Council reform. The Prime Minister mentioned that it was inconceivable that a country as large as India which represented one-sixth of humanity was not in the Security Council. This was something that we had been agitating for a long time. We want that the 70th anniversary of the UN should be an occasion for the international community to step up its obligations and reform this very important body of the United Nations. The king of Jordan said that he fully supported this and he had always supported India’s aspirations to be a permanent member of the Security Council.

The next meeting that the Prime Minister had was with the Secretary General of the United Nations His Excellency Mr. Ban Ki-moon. The discussions in that meeting focused largely on peacekeeping, on sustainable development including climate change on UN Security Council reform and some regional issues. The Prime Minister said that India would continue to be a strong supporter of UN peacekeeping but at the same time, there had to be a change in the manner in which decisions were being taken with regard to peacekeeping operations where troop contributing countries, particularly large countries like India which cumulatively has been the largest contributor to international peacekeeping operations were not consulted adequately enough before peacekeeping missions were authorized. There was also very detailed discussion on climate change and when the UN Secretary General asked of Prime Minister’s vision on this subject, the Prime Minister said that currently there is a huge trust deficit between the developed countries which had not yet delivered on their commitments including on climate finance. He said in fact that the focus should not just be on emissions only; we should also set positive goals and support increasing use of renewable energy. He said that a narrative of restrictions, control and pressure was not a positive way of approaching this important subject. We do not have the right to deprive succeeding generations of their rights. So, this was an issue of climate justice. He said that concessional financing from international institutions should be available for renewable energy and particularly for transfer of technology. There was also a broad exchange of views on Nepal and Sri Lanka and the UN Secretary General said that he counted on India’s strong leadership in the region.

Thereafter, as you know the Prime Minister delivered his statement at the Post- 2015 Development Agenda Summit. I am sure all of you must have heard the Prime Minister’s statement live but just to encapsulate some of the important points, the Prime Minister said that India, in fact, already has integrated the 17 development goals into its flagship programmes. He referred specifically to Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao in this context which is for women’s empowerment. Also, if you look at Swachh Bharat or programme to set up smart cities or programme to clean up our cities, clean the rivers, what we are trying to do for renewable energy, 175 gigawatts- all of them actually mesh very comfortably with the 17 goals which have been adopted today by the United Nations and the international community. So, the whole speech is already available and I do not think I will go into that but basically I think it was a very important vision statement of the Prime Minister on how India approaches the Sustainable Development Goals which will set the international agenda now till 2030 and how we are very very positively inclined in enmeshing these goals with our own national development efforts.

Immediately after that meeting, Prime Minister had a brief pull-aside with the Prime Minister of St. Lucia, His Excellency Mr. Kenny Davis Anthony. The Prime Minister of St. Lucia thanked Prime Minister Modi and said that he had given a lot of importance to small countries and their voices. Prime Minister responded that this was a matter of conviction for him and there was a brief discussion on whether there would be a possibility for the two of them to meet at the forthcoming Commonwealth Heads of Government summit which will be held at Malta later this year.

The next meeting the Prime Minister had was with His Excellency Mr. Abdel Fatah el-Sisi, the President of Egypt. This was the first meeting that the Prime Minister was having with the President of Egypt. So, it was an important occasion for the two leaders to exchange views. Mainly, the discussions were on counter-terrorism and counter-radicalization and on economic and business cooperation between India and Egypt. In this context, the president of Egypt referred to the new Suez Canal project. As you know, this extension of the Suez Canal was opened very recently and from India, Minister Nitin Gadkari had gone as representative of the Prime Minister to participate in those celebrations. There was a discussion on how this project offered investment opportunities for India.

So, I think this was the overall tone and tenor of the discussions that Prime Minister has had so far. There are a couple of meetings now scheduled in a couple of hour’s time. There is a meeting with the Prime Minister of Bhutan and then there will be a meeting with the President of Sri Lanka followed by a meeting with the Prime Minister of Sweden and a meeting with the President of Cyprus. So, these four will round up Prime Minister’s engagements today and tomorrow as you know there will be the G-4 summit after which the Prime Minister will depart for California. So, I will stop here but if you have any questions, I will be happy to answer.

प्रश्‍न (आशीष) :आपने बताया कि यू.एन. सेक्रेटरी जनरल से बातचीत के दौरान नेपाल पर प्रधानमंत्री ने बात की, यह क्‍या बातचीत हुई?

Official spokesperson: Basically, it was broadly on what is happening there. It was in that context.

प्रश्‍न (आशीष) :संविधान के बारे में बातचीत हुई?

आधिकारिक प्रवक्‍ता : यह संविधान है या क्‍या है, बेसिकली नेपाल पर आदान-प्रदान हुआ।

Question (Barkha Dutt, NDTV): The Prime Minister used a phrase in his address today ‘climate justice’. If you could elaborate on what he was trying to say, was this a message saying that developed world would have to remember that there has to be parity in the debate. What is he exactly meaning?

Official spokesperson: It is basically a question of equity. When we talk about emissions, then we need to talk about per capita emissions. India’s per capita emission is still 1.7, America’s is 16 or 17. So, the issue is of equity and the issue is of justice that you cannot now condemn the developing world which is still at a very low carbon stage, for never ever achieve those developmental objective on the ground that now there will be pollution and you cannot do that. So, the Prime Minister has consistently said, we want development but we want sustainable development and we are conscious of our obligations in this regard. That is why he has the ambitious programme of 175 gigawatts of renewable energy, for scaling up the nuclear which is the cleanest form of energy, but this does not mean that we will give up our developmental choices. So, the issue is of equity and the issue is of climate justice. That historical responsibility for climate change has to be understood very very clearly as to which are the countries which are responsible for the state in which we are today.

प्रश्‍न : सर, प्राइवेट और पब्लिक सेक्‍टर के अलावा पर्सनल सेक्‍टर की बात की गई है। उसमें बोला गया है कि बेसिक नीड्स पूरी की जायेंगी। यह किस बुनियाद पर होगा? जैसे बेसिक नीड्स पूरी करने के लिए लोग मूव हो रहे हैं, इन्‍टर-स्‍टेट भी होते हैं, इन्‍टरनेशनल भी होते हैं, कुछ बड़े देशों में भी चले जाते हैं, कुछ छोटे देशेों में जैसा कि आपने जिक्र किया कि इराक का बहुत बड़ा मुद्दा है। सो, बेसिक नीड हमारे यहॉं पूरी नहीं हो रही है और लोग मूव हो रहे हैं और मूव होने के बाद उनकी सीक्‍योरिटी नहीं है।

आधिकारिक प्रवक्‍ता : देखिये, अब कुछ देशों में तो जो सीक्‍योरिटी का इश्‍यू आप उठा रहे हैं, उसमें हमने तो उसमें कोई कॉन्‍ट्रीब्‍यूट नहीं किया है। हम तो सिर्फ यह कर सकते हैं कि अगर इन्‍टरनेशनल सिचुएशन कहीं इस तरह की हो गई है, जहॉं पर हमारे नागरिकों को सुरक्षा नहीं मिल सकती है, तो हम तुरन्‍त ट्रैवेल एडवाइजरी इश्‍यू करते हैं और हम कहते हैं कि आप वहॉं मत जाइये, जैसे हमने यमन में इश्‍यू की हुई है, हमने लीबिया में इश्‍यू की हुई है, इराक में इश्‍यू की हुई है। प्रॉब्‍लम यह है कि उन ट्रैवेल एडवाइजरीज के बावजूद हमारे कुछ नागरिक वहॉं पहुँच जाते हैं और वे मुसीबत में फंस जाते हैं। तब भी हम उनको वहॉं से निकालने की पूरी कोशिश करते हैं। अभी आपने देखा, यमन में हमारे कुछ मछुआरे फंस गये थे, वे अभी निकले हैं वहॉं से। लीबिया में भी अभी हमारे कुछ लोग बंधक हैं, कइयों को तो हमने निकाल लिया है। इराक में भी अभी 39 भारतीय बंधक बने हुए हैं। तो यह एक ऐसी समस्‍या है जो एक तरह से अन्‍तर्राष्‍ट्रीय समस्‍या है ।

प्रश्‍न :...(अश्रव्‍य)...

आधिकारिक प्रवक्‍ता : नहीं, पर्सनल सेक्‍टर का यह मतलब थोड़े ही है कि पर्सनल सेक्‍टर के लिए आपको विदेश में ही जाना है। पर्सनल सेक्‍टर तो हम भारत में ही पूरा करने की चेष्‍टा कर रहे हैं न। हम इतने जॉब्‍स जो क्रिएट करना चाह रहे हैं, मेक इन इण्डिया पोग्राम क्‍यों है। मेक इन इण्डिया प्रोग्राम का मुख्‍य आधार ही यह है कि हम भारत में ही इतनी नौकरियां, इतने जॉब्‍स, इतनी ऑपरचुनिटी क्रिएट कर सकें कि किसी को बाहर जाने की ज़रूरत ही न पड़े।

प्रश्‍न: विकास जी, प्रधानमंत्री ने आज यू.एन. में अपने भाषण में इस बात पर ज़ोर दिया कि न‍ सिर्फ यू.एन.एस.सी. बल्कि यू.एन. में भी रिफॉर्म की ज़रूरत है नहीं तो इसकी विश्‍वसनीयता नहीं बनी रहेगी। किस तरह के रिफॉर्म की वह बात कर रहे थे, इस पर अगर कुछ आप साफ कर सकें?

आधिकारिक प्रवक्‍ता : देखिये, जब हम यू.एन. रिफॉर्म की बात करते हैं तब हम बात करते हैं कि यू.एन. का जो ढर्रा है काम करने का, उसमें सुधार की हम बात करते हैं और फिर हम बात करते हैं सीक्‍योरिटी काउन्सिल में सुधार करने की। यू.एन. का मुख्‍य अंग तो सीक्‍योरिटी काउन्सिल ही है, इन्‍टरनेशल पीस एण्‍ड सीक्‍योरिटी जिसे हम कहते हैं अन्‍तर्राष्‍ट्रीय सुरक्षा व्‍यवस्‍था, तो सीक्‍योरिटी काउन्सिल को उसका जिम्‍मेदार बताया गया है, बनाया गया है। इसलिए सबसे आवश्‍यक है कि सीक्‍योरिटी काउन्सिल में विस्‍तार हो और उसमें सुधार हो। सीक्‍योरिटी काउन्सिल जब बनी थी, यूनाइटेड नेशन्‍स का जब गठन हुआ था, उस समय केवल 51 देश थे। आज 193 देश हैं। लेकिन सीक्‍योरिटी काउन्सिल में एक ही विस्‍तार हुआ है 1963 और 1965 के बीच में। 1963 में एक प्रस्‍ताव पारित हुआ था कि अस्‍थायी सदस्‍यों की संख्‍या 4 से बढ़ा दी जाये, तो 11 से उसका कुल कम्‍पोज़ीशन 15 हो गया । उसके बाद से हम 2015 में बैठै हैं लेकिन कतई एक भी सुधार नहीं हुआ है, कतई विस्‍तार नहीं हुआ है। तो यह अब सबको लगने लगा है कि 2015 की जो सुरक्षा परिषद है, वह 1945 की जो जियो-पॉलिटिकल रिएलिटीज हैं, उनका आइना, उनका प्रतिबिम्‍ब नहीं हो सकती है। उसमें सुधार आना आवश्‍यक है, उसमें विस्‍तार आना आवश्‍यक है, तभी सुरक्षा परिषद सक्षम हो सकेगी कि जो आज के आधुनिक चैलेन्‍जेज हैं हमारे सामने, साइबर सीक्‍योरिटी का चैलेन्‍ज है, इन्‍टरनेशल टेररि़ज्‍म का चैलेन्‍ज है, उनसे हम निपट सकें।

अभी भी आप देख रहे हैं कि तीन कान्टिनेन्‍ट्स में युद्ध चल रहे हैं लेकिन सीक्‍योरिटी काउन्सिल उनसे जूझने में असमर्थ हो रही है। क्‍यों? क्‍योंकि न तो वह रिप्रेजेन्‍टेटिव है और उसकी लेजिटिमेसी पर भी अब कई लोगों को संदेह होने लगा है, उसकी लेजिटिमेसी अब संदिग्ध होने लगी है। इसलिए आवश्‍यक हो गया है कि हम सीक्‍योरिटी काउन्सिल का विस्‍तार करें और उसमें सुधार करें। सीक्‍योरिटी काउन्सिल और जनरल असेम्‍बली के बीच जो तालमेल है वह निर्धारित किया जायेगा और कुल मिलाकर इसमुद्दे पर एक गम्‍भीर चर्चा हो ताकि जो 70वीं एनीवर्सरी यूनाइटेड नेशन्‍स की हम लोग मनाने जा रहे हैं, जो शुरुआत हो चुकी है और एक साल चलेगी, उस दौरान हम यह एक बहुत बड़ा मूलभूत परिवर्तन यूनाइटेड नेशन्‍स की व्‍यवस्‍था में ला सकें।

Question (Siddharth Zarabi, Bloomberg TV): Coming back to the point of climate justice, would it be appropriate to say that today’s remarks by the Prime Minister marks some sort of shift in stance or a further re-calibrated approach towards climate change negotiations? Can that be taken as one of the takeaways from his remarks? The second follow-up point is, how would this have been perceived during the discussions or at the forum that these remarks were made? How will it resonate given the global context on this?

Official spokesperson: Look, what the Prime Minister has articulated is not something new or radically different. It is something that the developing countries have been saying for a long time that there has to be a historical responsibility for climate change and developing countries should not be asked to constrain the development choices simply on the grounds of emissions. The second thing the Prime Minister has emphasized today is that let us not emphasize a negative agenda- a negative agenda which says, cap your emissions, control pressure. That is not a positive way of looking at things. We should rather emphasize a positive agenda. Give us climate finance, give us transfer of technology and enable us to have the new technologies which will help us in meeting our developmental goals in a much more sustainable way. So, you cannot have it that on the one hand you will not give us climate finance, on the one hand you will not give us technology’ on the other hand you will force us, pressure us that no, you have to cap your emissions at a particular level.

So, that is a particular point the Prime Minister is making and I think his voice and his words would have resonated very well with the whole host of developing countries which believes in exactly the same principles. The central principle is common but differentiated responsibilities. We accept that we have a common responsibility to protect our Mother Planet but at the same time, the responsibility has to be differentiated. You have to take into account the levels of development of various countries and allow them the developmental space so that they can also aspire to become developed countries.

Question (Yeshwant): I have a relevant question on climate justice. Is the Prime Minister reframing the same argument that India has made for a long time that developed countries have to take a larger responsibility?

Official spokesperson: The Prime Minister always uses his own unique idioms in which to present his ideas. You could not take this as Prime Minister’s very very important visionary statement. The larger statement on climate change will be delivered at the Cop-21 in Paris. Today, it was about the Sustainable Development Goals. Among the 17 goals is also the one pertaining to climate change. So, what the Prime Minister said was in the context of the one of the 17 goals of the Sustainable Development agenda which will form the post-2015 development agenda. So, do not take it out of context. He said that we need to develop, but at the same time we need to develop in a sustainable way but that does not mean that we completely constrain our developmental choices.ेष्‍टा ा ‍य)...य ी कोशिश करते ेte in which we are today.

as to be understood very very clearly whic of renewable enertgy, has

Question (Yeshwant): It is pretty much the standard argument India has held for a long time. So, my question essentially is, will it have an impact on India announcing carbon emission cuts before 1st November- the INDCs?

Official spokesperson: I think the 1st of October is the deadline. So, we are very hopeful that we will be able to come out with the INDCs before that.

Question: Allow me to ask you one question. Tomorrow, you have G-4 meeting. Are any special initiatives planned in the context of the UNSC?

Official spokesperson: One very important development that has happened just on the 14th of September this month itself was that after 23 years of literally negotiating in thin air, we finally have a negotiating text- a text which was approved by the General Assembly, by the Chair of the IGN, by the President of the General Assembly and it will now form the basis for the negotiations when the IGN resumes in November. So, this is a very important and significant step towards having a workable text on the basis of which give-and-take takes place and on the basis of which we can eventually have a resolution which will finally reform and expand the Security Council because how do you have negotiations unless you have a text because then you are literally talking in the air to each other? There is nothing being recorded. Now you have a text and as I said, this is a compilation text. This is not a text which favours only India or favours any particular ideology on this. It is a compilation text which encapsulates all the proposals on the table for UN security reforms on the templates which are available. Now, it is for the Chair of the IGN to start negotiating on that particular text and see where the majority opinion lies on each of the five clusters. There were five clusters which were approved in UNGA decision 62/557 and now it is the task of the Chair of the Inter-Governmental Negotiation to take that process forward to its logical conclusion.

When we move into 2008 from the open-ended working group to Inter-Governmental Negotiations, the main purpose of that move was that now let us start negotiating on the basis of a text. That text has taken us seven years to obtain but finally we have the text. So, it is a significant development and I think that is why the significance of the G-4 Summit level meeting which is happening only for the second time after 2004. So, 2004 marked the births of the G-4 where India, Germany, Japan and Brazil- four very important countries came together to give a very strong push to UN Security Council reform. Now four leaders are meeting once again to give a very strong push to Inter-Governmental Negotiations for UN Security Council reform. That is the significance. There will be a joint statement which will come out at the end of that meeting. So, wait for that.

प्रश्‍न : प्रधानमंत्री ने यह कहा कि भारत अपनी जिम्‍मेदारी निभा रहा है, जो आइलैण्‍ड नेशन्‍स हैं, पैसिफिक नेशन्‍स, अटलान्टिक नेशन्‍स हैं, उनके डेवलपमेन्‍ट पार्टनर के तौर पर। साथ ही उन्‍होंने यह भी कहा कि जो विकसित देश हैं, उनको फाइनेन्‍स और टेक्‍नॉलॉजी ट्रान्‍सफर के लिए जो कमिटमेन्‍ट है, वह पूरा करना चाहिये। तो थोड़ा सा एक्‍सप्‍लेन करेंगे कि क्‍या चीज़ है जो नहीं हो रही है जिसकी तरफ़ वह इशारा कर रहे हैं?

आधिकारिक प्रवक्‍ता : मैनें बार-बार वही कहा है कि कई बार क्‍या होता है कि हमें कुछ टारगेट्स दे दिये जाते हैं। एक एजेण्‍डा बन जाता है लेकिन जो उन टारगेट्स को पूर्ति करने के लिए जो आपको फाइनेन्‍स चाहिये होती है, जो आपको टेक्‍नॉलॉजी ट्रान्‍सफर चाहिये होता है, एडॉप्‍टेशन मिटिगेशन की तो हम बात करते हैं लेकिन हम यह बात नहीं करत हें कि उसका रास्‍ता क्‍या होगा। कई बार जो विकासशील देश हैं उनके पास इतनी वित्‍तीय सुविधा नहीं होती है कि वह अपने बलबूते पर वह सब चेन्‍जेज़ ला सकें। अगर आपको कोई नए एमिशन रिड्यूसिंग टेक्‍नॉलॉजीज़ अगर चाहिये तो वे तो विकसित देशों के पास ही उपलब्‍ध है लेकिन उसकी कॉस्‍ट इतनी प्रॉहिबिटिव होती है कि विकासशील देश उसका इस्‍तेमाल नहीं कर सकते हैं। तो यही प्रधानमंत्री ने कहा है कि अगर क्‍लाइमेट जस्टिस की हम बात करते हैं तो जो विकसित देश हैं, उन्‍हें विकासशील देशों को टेक्‍नॉलॉजी ट्रान्‍सफर करना चाहिये और उन्‍हें वे साधन उपलब्‍ध कराने चाहिये जिससे वह अपना डेवलपमेन्‍ट पाथवे जो है उसको सस्‍टेनेबल बना सके।

प्रश्‍न: क्‍या यह माना जाये कि जो सस्‍टेनेबल डेवलपमेन्‍ट गोल्‍स हैं उनकी फाइनेन्सिंग का पूरा मॉडल पूरी दुनिया में चेन्‍ज होने वाला है, क्‍या उसके ऊपर डेलीबरेशन्‍स होंगे?

आधिकारिक प्रवक्‍ता : उस पर तो एक मीटिंग ऑलरेडी हो चुकी है। अद्दीस अबाबा में जुलाई में एक मीटिंग हुई थी जिसमें फाइनेन्सिंग फॉर डेवलपमेन्‍ट उसे कहते हैं और उसमें ऑलरेडी कुछ निष्‍कर्ष निकले हैं। हम उससे संतुष्‍ट हैं। हम तो चाहेंगे कि और भी ज्‍़यादा हो लेकिन कम से कम एक शुरुआत तो हुई है और यह फाइनेन्सिंग फॉर डेवलपमेन्‍ट की मीटिंग हो चुकी है। तो ऐसी बात नहीं है कि उसपर काम नहीं चल रहा है। But more is needed. That is the point we are making. That is not sufficient. Thank you all.

(Concluded)

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