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Transcript of Weekly Media Briefing by Official Spokesperson (November 7, 2019)

November 08, 2019

Official Spokesperson, Shri Raveesh Kumar: Friends, Namaskar, good afternoon and welcome to this weekly media briefing. This briefing will be followed by a special briefing on Prime Minister’s visit to Brazil for BRICS Summit earlier next week. But for now I open the floor for questions.

Question: Kartarpur Corridor ko kholane ke liye bas do hii din bache hain lekin passport ko lekar confusion create ho rahaa hai Pakistan ki taraf se, unki government kah rahi hai ki passport kii jaroorat nahi hai, aur unhone communicate bhi kiya hai isko Indian High Commission se aur unki Pak military bol rahii hai kii passport kii jaroorat hai. To aise mein, main chaahtaa hoon ki aap government kii taraf se isko clear karein un logo ke liye jo corridor ka istemaal karke us taraf jaayenge. Kya unko passport carry karna hai, nahi karanaa aur kab tak karanaa hogaa?

(Only two days are left for the opening of Kartarpur Corridor but there is confusion regarding passport requirement. Pakistan government is saying that there is no requirement of passport and this has been communicated to Indian High Commission as well on the other hand Pakistan military is saying passport is mandatory. So I would want you to clarify on behalf of the government for those people who will use corridor to visit that side of the boundary, if they need to carry passport or not, and if yes then till when?

Official Spokesperson, Shri Raveesh Kumar: Aur koi sawaal hai Kartarpur Corridor se related?

(Any other question related to Kartarpur Corridor?)

Question: Jis tarah se bataayaa gayaa thaa ki bilateral agreement hai, abhi jo prashn poochha usmein hi jodte hue, to kyaa unilaterally Pakistan kuch cheezon ko waive off kar sakta hai, jis tarah kii baat wo kar rahe hain?

(As has been told that it is a bilateral agreement, so the question that was asked just now, adding to it, is it possible that can Pakistan waive of things unilaterally, the way they are saying things right now?)

Question: Kartarpur Corridor ko lekar Navjot Singh Sidhu do baar letter likh chuke hain. Kya unko political clearance

(Navjot Singh Sidhu has written twice regarding Kartarpur Corridor, has he got the political clearance……

Official Spokesperson, Shri Raveesh Kumar: Ye doosara sawaal hai, main baad mei loonga isko.

(This is a different question and I will take it later.)

Question: Jo log bhi Kartarpur Corridor ka use kar rahe hain unki tracking ke liye shaayad biometrics liye jaa rahe hain, to kya poorv Pradhanmantri Manmohan Singh aur jo Sukhbir Badal jaa rahe hain, inke bhi biometric liye jaayenge?

(Those who are going to use Kartarpur Corridor, it is said that for the purpose of their tracking their biometrics are being taken. So when former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and former Chief Minister Sukhbir Badal are planning to visit, so will they be also asked for biometrics?)

Question: India has requested for an advance party you know to see the security arrangements for its Z Plus category VVIPs. Has that access been given and is the team gone?

Question: Jo pahla jattha jaane waalaa hai usmein aap logon ne jo naam diye they, kya Pakistan kii taraf se koi response abhi tak aayaa hai kyonki un naamon ko diye hue kaafi samay ho gayaa hai?

(Have you received any response related to the first group of people whose list you had submitted to Pakistan that they will be visiting the Kartarpur Corridor, as it has been quite some time now?)

Question: Is India satisfied with the security and protocol arrangements that have been made especially for the first group which includes roughly more than 100 dignitaries and VVIPs?

Official Spokesperson, Shri Raveesh Kumar: You must have seen conflicting reports coming out from Pakistan on what is required to undertake the visit. Even today that sense of confusion continued. There was a statement by the Foreign Office, I think DGIPR tweeted something else. As of now we are aware that there is a bilateral document which has been signed between India and Pakistan which very clearly specifies the documents which are required to undertake the visit.

And also answering the other question that any amendment to the existing MoU, it can’t be done unilaterally. It requires consent of both parties, so for the time being we are going to go by the requirements as stipulated in the existing MoU. So those undertaking the journey on the 9th and even later, they have to go by what is contained in the MoU which has been signed. Till the MoU gets revised or amended to include other provisions which are being requested or proposed by the Pakistani side.

On the confirmation of the delegation, you know, I can only share with you that Pakistan is supposed to confirm the final list of pilgrims at least four days in advance of the visit. We are very close now, this journey is going to take place day after tomorrow, so we presume that all the names which we have shared with the Pakistani side, they stand confirmed and we have accordingly advised all the people who are part of the inaugural jatthha to prepare for the journey.

On the advance security team, again we have put in a request, today again we have requested that there are important people, important dignitaries who are travelling as part of this inaugural journey. There are former prime ministers, there are chief ministers and adequate arrangement should be made to ensure that there is no slip up on the security for the dignitaries who are traveling to Kartarpur using Kartarpur Corridor.

On the security and protocol arrangements you know, we have been sensitizing them. We have in fact on the ……. As well we have again requested them that since these are prominent dignitaries and it is, in terms of proper mechanism, I think it is very natural for an advanced team to visit a country before a high dignitary visit takes place. We have not heard anything from Pakistani side so far. But again we have requested with the Pakistani side that proper arrangements both for security and protocol and also medical arrangements for the dignitaries who are travelling as part of the inaugural jattha should be made.

Main itna bata sakta hoon ki passport ke sandarbh mein ki Pakistan kii taraf se jo reports aa rahi hain wo kaafi conflicting hain. Kabhi wo bataa rahe hain ki chaahiye kabhi bataa rahe hain nahi chaahiye. Foreign Office aur doosari agencies ke beech mei bhi hamein lag rahaa hai ki kaafi difference hai. Filhal abhi jo situation hai wo ye hai ki hamaare pass ke document hai, ek MoU hai, us MoU ko abhi badalaa nahi gayaa hai aur MoU unilaterally badalaa bhi nahi jaa sakta hai to filhaal sthiti ye hai ki us MoU mein likhaa gayaa hai ki passport kii requirement hai. Aapne wo press release bhi dekhii hogii jo hamne issue kii thii usmein likhaa hai "pilgrims need to carry only a valid passport, persons of Indian origin needs to carry OCI card.” So abhi filhaal jo hai wo hum isii basis par jaa rahe hain ki jo bhi pilgrims is journey ko karna chaahte hain wo apna passport saath lekar jayein.

Ek to ye, doosara, Pakistan ko chaar din pahle list kii confirmation deni chaahiye thii abhi tak wo unhone dii nahi hai. Hum ye maan ke chal rahe hain ki jo list hamne unke saath share kii hai, usmein jitne naam hain wo sab Pakistan ne confirm kar diye hain aur un saare logon ko humne bataa diyaa hai ki aap apni journey kii taiyaari keejiye.

Biometrics ke baare mein, iski mujhe jaankaari nahi hai kyonki maine dekhaa hai ki hamaare existing MoU mein wo hai nahi. To ab wahaan par jo journey hogi usmein kis dhang se kya cheez kii jaroort padegi wo hamein dekhna hogaa au agar MoU mein provision hoga to karenge usko.

(Regarding the issue of passport I can only say that the reports coming from Pakistan are very conflicting in nature. Sometimes they are saying it is required while other times they say it is not required. We feel that there is a lot of difference between the Foreign Office and other agencies in Pakistan. Currently the situation is like this, we have a document which is a bilateral MoU, that MoU has not been changed and that MoU cannot be revised unilaterally also, so as per the MoU it is written there that passport is required, so this is the current situation. You must have also seen the press release in which we have said that "pilgrims need to carry only a valid passport, persons of Indian origin needs to carry OCI card.” Therefore currently we are proceeding with the condition that the pilgrims who wish to visit the corridor need to take their passport along with them.

Second, Pakistan should have given their confirmation for the submitted list four days prior to the date of journey which they have not given. We are assuming that the list that we have shared with Pakistan, all the names have been approved by Pakistan for the visit and we have also informed all the people on that list that they should make their preparations for the journey.

I don’t have any information regarding biometric because I just went through the existing MoU and I could see that it is not mentioned in it. So what will be required in that particular journey we will have to look into it and if there is provision in the MoU then we will do it.)

Question: Ek to Navjot Singh Sidhu ko aapne political clearance nahii diyaa aur doosara wo ab jatthe ke taur par jaanaa chaahte hain to list mein naam bhi nahi hai unka. To wo jaa paayenge ya nahi jaa paayenge agar wo wahaan jaakar jatthe mein jaa kar khade ho jaayein?

(One, you have not given political clearance to Navjot Singh Sidhu and second when he wants to visit the corridor in the group then his name is also not present there. So would he be able to visit if goes there and stands along with other members of the group?)

Official Spokesperson, Shri Raveesh Kumar: Dekhiye ye 9 tareekh ko inaugural event ho rahaa hai ye bahut hi historic event hai aur pichhale 20 saal se ye hamaari koshish thii kii hum is par amal karein, humne Pakistan se lagaataar baat kii ki is Corridor ko taiyyaar kiyaa jaaye. To mujhe lagta hai jo event hai 9th ka wo bahut hi badaa aur historic event hai. Ab usmein kisii ek individual ko highlight karna, mujhe nahi lagta hai ki wo us poore event ko justice denaa hai. Jahaan tak kisii ke jaane – naa jaane ka sawaal hai aur kisii individual ka jo specific travel plan hai usmein frankly mujhe nahii lagtaa hai ki, aur occasion ko mahatva ko dekhate hue mujhe ye sahi nahi lagta hai ki hum ek-ek individual ke baare mein bataayein ki kaun jaa sakta hai kaun nahi jaa sakta hai.

Ye main bilkul bataanaa chaahungaa ki itne saalon se, itne dashko se jo wahaan ke log they, jo wahaan ke pilgrims they, ye unka ek dream thaa ki wo paidal chal kar, bina visa ke us Gurudwara par jaa sakein, aur wo unkaa jo dream hai wo realize hone walaa hai. Jahaan tak kisi individual ke jaane ka sawaal hai uske baare mein sabko pataa hai ki process kya hai aur wo process ye hai ki ek website hai jo Ministry of Home Affairs ke andar aati hai, unhone launch kii hai, us website par unko register karna hotaa hai aur kuch cheezein submit karni padti hain aur uske hisaab se registration hoga aur uske basis par wo jaa sakte hain. Main yahi kahanaa chaahungaa ki jo occasion hai, itna badaa occasion hai, ismein kaun individual jaa rahaa hai kaun nahi jaa rahaa hai, in fact aapne notice kiyaa hogaa ki maine jo inaugural jattha hai, uske baare mein bhi humne jyada details nahi diye hain kyonki ye ek matter of faith hai, matter of sentiment hai aur usmein individuals ko highlight karna mujhe nahi lagta ki important hai. Ismein ek baat bataanaa chaahungaa ki jo hamaare Indian delegation ke leader hain, wo ek religious leader hain, Gyani Harmeet Singh Ji hain, jo Shri Akal Takht Saahib hain unke jatthedaar hain.

(See, the inaugural event which is happening on 9th November is a very historical event and it has been our efforts since last 20 years to make it fruitful and we were constantly in touch with Pakistan to make the corridor ready. So the event of 9thNovember is a very historic event and it doesn’t seem right to me that with regard to that historic event highlighting one particular individual, it doesn’t seems doing justice to that historic event. As far as the issue of someone going or not going or travel plans of one specific individual are concerned frankly I don’t think, looking at the importance of the occasion, I don’t think it would be right to that we must inform about each and every individual who can visit or cannot visit.

I would definitely like to say that for so many years it was the dream of pilgrims that they should be able to walk to the Gurudwara without any visa requirement and this dream of theirs is going to be realized. As far as visit of any individual is concerned, everybody knows what the process is. And the process is that there is a website which comes under the purview of Ministry of Home Affairs, one has to register on that website and submit few things and based on that registrations are made and on the basis of that registration they can visit. Here I would also like to say that on this occasion which is such a momentous one, which individual is visiting and which one is not, in fact you must have noticed that we have not shared much details about the inaugural group as it is a matter of faith and sentiments and I don’t think it is right to highlight individuals in that. Here I would like to tell you one thing that the leader of our inaugural group is a religious entity, he is Gyani Harmeet Singh Ji who is a Jatthedar of Shri Akal Takht Sahib.)

Question: What is the official comment from the government of India on the protest and outrage going in Nepal against the new political map released on November 2, number one? And the second one is, the government of Nepal has come up with an official statement yesterday out rightly rejecting that map which included the Kalapani area is an integral part of Nepal and it has been claiming that for many years. What is the official stance/comment of the government of India?

Official Spokesperson, Shri Raveesh Kumar: Our map accurately depicts the sovereign territory of India. The new map has in no manner revised our boundary with Nepal. The Boundary Delineation Exercise with Nepal is ongoing under the existing mechanism. We reiterate our commitment to find a solution through dialogue in the spirit of our closer friendly bilateral relations. At the same time, and I think it is very important to note that, both sides should guard against vested interests who are out there to create some differences between the two countries.

Question: Yesterday the Finnish Foreign Minister in interviews to The Hindu and Times of India said that the MEP delegation that visiting Kashmir was not representative enough, did not had the political expertise and he actually argued that UN diplomats and observers should be allowed in. Given that the Finland has the EU presidency at the moment, your comments please.

Official Spokesperson, Shri Raveesh Kumar: On MEP, I think I have clarified our position in last briefing perhaps. On the visit to the Union Territory of Jammu & Kashmir, you know our position, our leaders have spoken about it and I have also spoken that we have to look into the intent of the visit, the context and also the ground situation. And I think these are the factors which have to be taken into account before any decision on the visit by anybody to the UT of Jammu & Kashmir can be considered.

Question: After the RCEP leaders’ summit on Monday, MEA had very categorically said that India had exited the RCEP but subsequently other RCEP members including New Zealand, China and also Japan have said that 15 countries have actually agreed to work with India on its sensitivities and hope to resolve them so that all can sign the agreement together. And the joint statement which was issued after the leader’s meeting, it also talks about a decision being taken by India based on the success of the talks on their sensitivities, so what exactly is India’s position on RCEP?

Official Spokesperson, Shri Raveesh Kumar: Frankly there is nothing new you know. Our position has been very clearly articulated in the briefing which was done by Secretary (East) in Bangkok. I can only share with you that our concerns and requests on this matter are available with the other 15 members of the RCEP. You are aware and we have shared that we have negotiated with a very clear eyed views of our interests and we negotiated hard. If we get a firm indication that our core interests will be accommodated, at that stage we can think of taking any further decision in this matter.

Question: You mentioned this before but there is new information that is coming in of a large number of Chinese technicians and engineers working on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, in fact, that just one factory, the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex, there are over 300 Chinese nationals, also sir, on 23rd September there was a meeting in Beijing between Chinese and Pakistani officials where, keeping in mind the security situation, the Chinese have offered to take more steps including security measures and smart measures. Since this is the Indian Territory, how does the government react to it?

Official Spokesperson, Shri Raveesh Kumar: Our views on BRI and CPEC is a very important component of BRI has been very consistent after we came out with that statement two years ago we had maintained that position, number one. Number two on the Pak Occupied Kashmir is also very well know. We consider that is an inalienable part of India. So if you look at these two statements from our side you know which is very clear, you know what we are talking about. We feel that any project or any activity in the Pakistan Occupied Territory which we say that it belong to us, we have conveyed our concerns in the past.

On the meeting between Chinese and Pakistani, frankly I have no comments at this point of time. If it relates to security being provided to the projects in the CPEC you know that is for them to decide. But yes on BRI our position has been clear and we have articulated our position and it remains the same.

Question: Pakistan par air-strike ke baad jab dono deshon ke rishtey tanaav par they uske baad se cheezein kaafi badali hain aur ab ye Kartarpur ka Corridor shuru hone jaa rahaa hai. To kya Bharat Sarkar kii position kya hai, kya wo maante hain ki Pakistan ke rukh mein ab badalaav hua hai aur sthithi ban rahi hai ki ab baatcheet shuru ho sakti hai?

(The tension that was there after the air strike on Pakistan a lot of things have changed after that and now this Kartarpur Corridor is going to open. So what is the positon of Government of India, do they believe that there is a change in the behavior of Pakistan and now the conditions are conducive to start a dialogue?)

Official Spokesperson, Shri Raveesh Kumar: Dekhiye, humne ne kabhi nahi kahaa ki shaanti ka jo rasta hai uske liye pre-condition Kartarpur Corridor hai. Shuru se humne ye kahaa hai ki ye matter of faith hai aur isko kisi bilateral dialogue mechanism aur bilateral talks ke sandarbh mein nahi dekhna chaahiye.

Hamari Pakistan se jo demand rahi hai wo bahut hi clear hai, humne us demand mein kabhi nahi kahaa hai ki ab Pakistan Kartarpur Corridor ko chaalu kare. Hamaari demand rahii hai jo aatankwaad ke khilaaf aapko action lenaa chaahiye, jo credible, verifiable ho, wo aapko hamein dikhaanaa padega. To jo aap bataa rahe hain ki hamaari baatcheet hogi ya nahi hogi, wo isliye nahi ho sakti ki jis baat par abhi maamla atakaa huaa hai wo ye hai ki Pakistan ko hamein dikhaanaa padegaa ki unke desh mein, aur jo unki control mein terrirtory hain wahaan jo terrorist infrastructure hai, jo terrorist groups baithe hain unke khilaaf Pakistan ne kyaa action liyaa hai aur fir uske baad sochaa jaa sakta hai. To ye Kartarpur Corridor to doosaraa hai, isko isase link karke nahi dekhaa jaaye.

(See, we have never said that Kartarpur Corridor is a prerequisite for peace process. From the start we have said that it is a matter of faith and it should not be seen in the context of bilateral dialogue or mechanism.

Our demand from Pakistan has always been very clear and in that we have never said that now Pakistan should open the Kartarpur Corridor. Our demand has been that they need to take credible and verifiable action against terrorism, that is what they need to show to us. The thing which you are saying whether the talks will happen or not, they will not because the things are still stuck and that is Pakistan needs to show us that terrorist groups and the terrorist infrastructure existing in their country and in the territory under their control, what action Pakistan has taken against them and then we can think about it. Hence this Kartarpur Corridor is different it should not be linked with any other thing)

Question: Ek Bollywood kii movie aa rahi hai Panipat, usko lekar ab vivaad ho rahaa hai jo Afghanistan Embassy ne kisii tareeke ka concern raise kiyaa hai aur chaahte hain ki I&B minister se mulaakaat kii, iske baare mein koi jaankaari aap de sakein.

(There is forthcoming Bollywood movie named Panipat, there is controversy related to it that Afghanistan embassy has raised some concern regarding it and they also met I&B minister for the same. If you could give some information on it)

Official Spokesperson, Shri Raveesh Kumar: Kyaa aap seriously soch rahe hain ki main Bollywood film ke baare mein comment doon. Dekhiye Bollywood film, Bollywood film hai, unk script hotii hai aur ye pahli baar nahi hai ki koi historical film ban rahii hai, pahle bhi banti aai hain. Ab iske baare mein wo kya depict karte hain, hamaare yahaan systems hain, censor board hai, unse clear hota hai. Aur jo aap dekhate hain Bollywood film mein usko aap sachhaai maan kar chalne lage to bahut mushkil baat hogi, usmein bahut cheezein dikhaai jaati hain. To Bollywood film mein kya aataa hai kyaa nahi aataa hai, aur kyaa kahaani hai, nahi hai, usko unhone kya disclaimer diyaa hai yaa nahi diyaa hai wo to film dekhane ke baad pataa chalegaa but film ko film hi rahne deejiye, mere khyaal se usko tathya se jodne kii jaroorat nahi hai.

(Are you seriously thinking that I should comment on some Bollywood movie. See, Bollywood film is a Bollywood film and they have a script. And this is not first time that a historical film is being produced as has happened earlier also. Now what are they going to depict about something, we have systems in place for that, we have censor board which clears them. And if whatever you see in Bollywood movies if you start believing them to be true as there are so many things which are shown in movie. So what is shown in a Bollywood movie and what disclaimers are shown in that movie and I would suggest that you leave a movie and let it be a movie only.)

Question: Is the government considering cancelling the OCI card of author Aatish Tasheer is response to an article he wrote for the Time magazine, it is being reported right now?

Question: …….. scrutinize the OCI card.

Official Spokesperson, Shri Raveesh Kumar: I am actually confused, how do you scrutinize an OCI card, how do you scrutinize. I mean you apply for an OCI card and if there are certain conditions which you fulfil and there are certain documents which you have to submit and if you have submitted those documents then you are eligible for an OCI card. But yes, there are certain conditions under which an OCI card is liable to be cancelled. Now, I again can’t comment and I have said in the past that for us to comment on individual cases of OCI and passport, so and so has not got a passport, this individual has not got an OCI, is not possible but yes within the principle of how an OCI should be issued and can be cancelled, if it relates to that, if it fits into that category action will be taken. To put it very briefly I am not aware about this specific case and I am also not sure as to how the scrutiny of an OCI card is done. Either you issue it and if it is issued and if you find that someone is no longer eligible and if it fits into certain criteria of cancellation of OCI card, then the OCI card will be cancelled.

Question: My question is related with Kartarpur Corridor. How people will pay this $20 fees, what is the mechanism about this, who will collect the fees?

Official Spokesperson, Shri Raveesh Kumar: When you register there all the details are available there as to how the entire journey is to be conducted, is available on the website which has been launched by the Ministry of Home Affairs. People who are undertaking the journey, they are aware. It is just that they have to carry this amount with them and the payment has to be made.

Question: Google Play par kuch pro-Khalistani apps hain jo February 2019 se chal rahe hain, kya isko lekar ke MEA ne kuch Google se kuch baatcheet kii hai?

(There are certain pro-Khalistani apps on Google Play which are there since Feb 2019, so has MEA spoke to Google regarding this?)

Official Spokesperson, Shri Raveesh Kumar: Meri jaankaari mein nahi hai ki humne baat kii hai par jab bhi hamaare pass aise information aati hai jo aise tathyon ko aur separatist elements ko badhaavaa dete hain to samay-samay par hamne is matter ko take-up kiyaa hai.

(As per the information that I have I don’t think we have had a dialogue with them about this issue but whenever we receive such information about separatist elements we have raised such issues from time to time.)

Question: Abhi-Abhi Navjot Singh Sidhu ne ek aur chitthi likhi hai, teesari chitthi hai unki ye aur unhone kahaa hai ki agar unki chitthii ka jawaab nahi diyaa jaataa hai to aise mein ya to na kahe Sarkar, agar naa nahi kahti hai, ya agar naa kah de to uske baad wo proceed karenge Pakistan ko as a normal Sikh shraddhaluu. To kya ye possible hai ki bina clearance ke wo jaa sakte hain?

(Just recently Navjot Singh Sidhu has written another letter and this is his third letter and in that he has said that if his letter is not replied, then in such condition either the government says no and if the government says no then he will proceed to Pakistan as a normal Sikh pilgrim. So is it possible that he can visit without the political clearance?)

Official Spokesperson, Shri Raveesh Kumar: Dekhiye unko kya karna hai wo wo jaane, maine apna bataa diyaa hai ki jo occasion hai wo bahut badaa occasion hai aur ismein ek individual ke upar focus karna aur wo kaise jaa sakte hain, kahaan se jaa rahe hain, kaise jaa rahe hain, kaise nahi jaa sakte, mujhe nahi lagta main is forum se us par tippani karna chaahungaa.

(See, what he wishes to do he must know that, I told you what I think and that is it is such a momentous occasion and focusing on one particular individual during such time, can he visit or not, how can he visit, I don’t think I would like to make a comment on that from this forum.)

Question: Kisi ek shaksh ke baare mein nahi poochh rahii hoon, maan leejiye koi ek shaksh hai jiska naam filhaal us list mein nahi hai, kya wo usmein jaa sakta hai?

(I am not asking about a particular person, but suppose any individual if his name is not present in the inaugural list, can he go in that group?)

Official Spokesperson, Shri Raveesh Kumar: Nahi, ye to baat clear hai ki 9th ko jisko jaanaa hai uska naam to inaugural list humne bheji thii jo us jatthe mein jaa rahe hain wo humne Pakistan ko bheji hai. Ab humne kahaa ki chunki Pakistan ka jawaab nahi aayaa to hum maan rahe hain ki jo us list mein to 570 to 600 naam hain, hum presume kar rahe hain ki Pakistan kii taraf se unhone wo saare naam OK kar diye hain aur jo jaa rahe hain unko pataa hai ki kaun-kaun log hain usmein, humne un sab logon ko bataa diyaa hai ki aap uske liye taiyyari karein.

(No, it is clear that the people who will be visiting on the 9th in the inaugural group their names are present in the list which we have submitted to Pakistan. Now we have said that since Pakistan has not responded we are presuming that all the 570-600 names which are present in that list, Pakistan has okayed those names and those who are present in that list know very well that their names are there in that list and we have told them they need to make preparations for the visit.)

Question: Pakistan ne ab kahaa hai ki list ab pahle share karne kii jaroorat nahi hai, to aise mein agar koi individual jaise kii main jaa sakta hoon, to kya mujhe rokenge ya jaane denge?

(Now Pakistan has said that there is no need to share the list prior to the visit, so in such a scenario, any individual, suppose me, can I visit, will they stop me or allow me to visit?)

Official Spokesperson, Shri Raveesh Kumar: Dekhiye maine pahle bhi kahaa hai ki ye jo MoU hai, ye kaafi meetings aur negotiations ke baad agree hua hai. Pakistan ko koi haq nahi banta hai ki apni taraf se wo bolein ki ab humne ye badal diyaa hai – wo badal diyaa hai. Aur ye to mere samajh mein nahi aa rahaa hai ki abhi 10-15 din hue hain sign kiye hue, yahi sab cheezein unko karni thii to unhone pahle kyon nahi kiiya. Ye jo posturing hai aur yahi mujhe hamesha doubt hota hai ki ye posturing kyon karte hain. Agar yahi unki seriousness thi, agar yahi unka tha ki hamein sabko facilitate karna hai, hamein ye nahi karna, hamein wo nahi karna, exactly jis samay negotiation ho rahaa thaa us samay kar sakte they, but ye baar-baar after thought aanaa ki ab hum ye nahi karenge, ab hum visa fee nahi lenge, to ye last moment mein dikhana ki humne itna bada concession kiyaa hai wo confusion paida kar rahaa hai.

(See, I have said earlier also that this MoU has been agreed upon after a lot of meetings and negotiations. Pakistan has no right to say that they have now changed this or that. And I fail to understand it has hardly been 10-15 days since the singing of the MoU, if they had do all this why couldn’t they do it at that time. The posturing that they are doing now, and I always have this doubt why do they always do this kind of posturing. If this was their seriousness and if this was their stand that they will facilitate all then they could have done that during the negotiations only. But they having this after thought time and again that now we will do this or we won’t do that, now we will not insist on visa fee, by which they want to show they have made such a big concession, it is creating a confusion.)

Question: A clarification on the same thing because in the second letter of Navjot Sidhu, he said either on the 9thof November with the Jathaa or 8th of November via Wagha, I am awaiting a visa, which he got eventually. So he has a visa, on the 8thof November minus the political clearance, if he tries to cross over, what happens, what are the repercussions?

Official Spokesperson, Shri Raveesh Kumar: Speculative.

Question Contd.: An elected representative …………..

Official Spokesperson, Shri Raveesh Kumar: Let me just explain. You know there are different categories of people who require different categories of clearances and it all depends on whether you are going for an official visit or a private visit. Now depending on that certain clearances are required. Now who are undertaking the journey they should be aware as to what kind of journey this constitutes and accordingly they have to proceed. And I will not take any other question on this.

Question: We have seen the videos of Khalistani from the Pakistani side, the government there first tweeting the video with the poster of Bhindrawala, any reaction? Are you concerned that Pakistan might be using the Corridor for its own nefarious purposes?

Official Spokesperson, Shri Raveesh Kumar: Concerns, I think we condemn Pakistan’s attempt to undermine the spirit under which the pilgrimage is supposed to be undertaken. We have lodged our strong protest with the Pakistan side on this matter. From the beginning we have gone ahead with this entire initiative with a very open mind, with a very constructive and enthusiastic way because we realized that it involved the sentiments of the Sikh Community and also the members of other religion, it involves matters of faith. We have been assured repeatedly by the Pakistani side, during our discussions, that they will not allow any anti-India elements, anti-India propaganda during the pilgrimage, during the event. They should now stick to the spirit under which we have agreed to all this, under the spirit under which this pilgrimage is undertaken and we also demand that they should remove the objectionable video and also some printed material which is being circulated promoting anti-India propaganda.

This concludes the weekly briefing. Thank you all for joining.

(Concludes)

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