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Transcript of Weekly media briefing by Official Spokesperson (December 06, 2019)

December 08, 2019

Official Spokesperson, Shri Raveesh Kumar: Namaskar, good afternoon and welcome to this weekly press briefing. I have no announcements to make so we can move to the Q&A session.

Question: Jo Sudan mein fire incident hua thaa usmein kuchh logo ki shinaakht ho chuki hai. Aap ye details de sakte hain ki kitne logo kii shinaakht ho chuki hai aur kaise unki bodies ko vaapis Bharat laayaa jaa rahaa hai, aur baaki jo injured hain unkaa kya status hai?

(Few people have been identified after the fire incident in Sudan. Can you provide the details how many have been identified and how their bodies are being brought to India and what is the status of injured people?)

Official Spokesperson, Shri Raveesh Kumar: Sabse pahle to ye kahnaa chaahunga ki jo ghatna hui wo bahut hi dukhaad ghatna thii aur hum unke parivaarjano ke liye hamare condolences hain.

Ye jo ghatna huii ek ceramic factory mein hui, ye jagah Sudan ke capitol Khartoum ke bagal mein hai aur jahaan tak hamaari jaankaari hai us factory mei us samay jo Indian workers they unki sankhya 58 thi. Abhi tak jo update hai mere pass uske hisaab wahaan par 6 Bhartiya workers kii jaan chalii gaii hai ismein. Hamein ye bhi pataa hai ki 33 Indians safe hain, 8 hospital mein hain aur 11 logo ki abhi shinaakht nahi ho paaii hai. To hum aisa kahein ki ya to 11 log missing hain ya unidentified hain. Jo 6 logo kii jaanei gaii hain unke parivar walon se humne sambandh sthaapit kiyaa aur unko batayaa hai. Jo hamaari embassy hai wahaan par wo kaafi closely kaam kar rahii hai local government ke saath. Hamare ambassador khud hospital visit kar injured ki dekhbhaal kar rahe hain. Hamaari koshish yahi rahegi ki jin logo kii jo jaan gaii hai aur unki jo bod hai usko kaise jitni jaldi ho sake, jitni smoothly ho sake hum usko repatriate Bharat kar sakein aur jaise-jaise hamare pass update aate rahenge hum aap logo ko bataate rahenge.

(First of all I would like to say that it is a very unfortunate and sad incident and we extend our condolences to the family members of people involved in this.

This incident happened at a ceramic factory which is situated at a place near to the capital of Sudan and as far as our information which we have there were 58 Indians in that factory during the time of incident. As per the update that we have 6 Indian workers have lost their lives in the incident. We also have information that 33 Indians are safe and 8 are in the hospital and 11 have not yet been identified. So we can say that 11 people are missing or unidentified. The six people who have lost their lives we have contacted their families and informed them. Our embassy is very closely working with the local government. Our ambassador is personally visiting hospital and looking after the injured. It will be our efforts that the people who have lost their lives, their bodies should be repatriated to India at the earliest and smoothly. We will keep on sharing the updates as and when we receive them.)

Question: Nigeria mein ek ship ko pirates ne kidnap kiyaa aur usmein 18 Bharartiay maujood hain. Abhi filhaal kya status hai, kya unko wahaan se nikaal liyaa gayaa hai?

(Pirates have hijacked a ship in Nigeria and there were 18 Indians onboard that ship. So what is the current status, have they been evacuated from there?)

Official Spokesperson, Shri Raveesh Kumar: Dekhiye ye ek doosari dukhad ghatna huii hai aur ye bhi usi din huii jis din Sudan waali ghatnaa hui. Ye ghatna bhi 3 December kii evening ko hui aur ghatna ye hui jo 18 Indian national crew members they, ship kaa naam thaa Nave Constellation, unko us ship se agwaa kiyaa gayaa. Ek jagah hai Bonney Island, Nigeria ke pass aur is ship aur Indians ko high seas mein agwaa kiyaa gayaa. Abhi filhaal sthiti ye hai ki hum Nigerian authorities ke saath bahut hi closely kaam kar rahe hain. Ek baat ye samajhani hogi ki ismein doosare kii jaan involved hai, isiliye iske baare mein abhi kya chal rahaa hai aur latest updates kya hai, gatividhiyan kya hai is maamle, us par hum jyada jaankaari nahi de paayenge kyonki usase aur bhi kaii cheezein hain jis par asar pad sakta hai.

(See, this is another sad and unfortunate incident which happened on the same day of the Sudan incident i.e. 3rd December. The incident is that the ship Nave Constellation had 18 Indian crew members and they were kidnapped from the ship. There is a place called Bonny Island near Nigeria, the ship was hijacked from the high seas there. Right now the situation is that we are very closely working with the Nigerian authorities. We need to understand one thing that lives of people are involved in this incident, so we will not be able to share much information what all is going on regarding this incident because it can affect many other things related to this incident.)

Question: Can we have some clarity regarding this matter of this rape accused godman Nityananda whose one of his followers has bought an island near Ecuador and declared a sovereign nation there. So have you taken up the matter with the authorities in Ecuador, what exactly is government of India doing because at the end of the day he is an absconder and there are also reports that he fled via Nepal, that his passport had expired. So can you confirm how he fled the country in the first place?

Question: The Ecuadorian ambassador has actually denied that he was given refuge and they are saying that he has fled to Haiti, so what information do you have and secondly how could he leave India?

Question: Any notice that have been issued regarding Nityananda because we are hearing from Gujarat Police that there is some red corner notice that has been issued?

Official Spokesperson, Shri Raveesh Kumar:  You see there are two parts to the question. On an individual declaring a state or a nation, do you really expect me to answer that question. Setting up a website is very different from creating a nation so what essentially has been done, he has opened a website and he is saying that it is my nation and I don’t think I should answer that question.

On the other aspect, you see in all such cases, you are aware and we have handled such cases in the past that the Ministry of External Affairs have a certain role to play and that role basically could involve on two different fronts. The first could be related to the passport, what have we done to the passport and the second relates to the extradition part.

Now in this instant case when we got information about the cases which were pending against him, what we did was we cancelled his passport first and then he applied for a fresh passport which was denied, which was put on hold simply because he could not get the requisite clearance from the police, there was an adverse report from the police and then we have sensitized all our missions and posts that this man is wanted in several cases of crime in India and we have asked our missions and posts to sensitize the local government that in case he happens to transit or be in that country, they should let us know. So that is what we have done.

Now on the extradition part itself, you talked about the red corner notice etc. you see, we can only act on the basis of inputs which we receive from different agencies. We have not received such requests so we can only take action once that comes to us. On his whereabouts, it is very difficult for us to speculate and you are aware that in previous cases as well there have been speculations about the location of the fugitives. Please note that it is not for MEA to kind of go into that investigation and try to find him but yes, I think through our missions and posts abroad and through the local foreign governments we have told them, we have sensitized them that in case there is information they should inform us. But so far we are still waiting for any information in this regard. So that is what I have on this and if there are any follow up questions.

Question:First, have you taken up the matter officially with the Ecuador that is one, and second when was his passport cancelled, can you tell us?

Official Spokesperson, Shri Raveesh Kumar: Taking up the matter with Ecuador was done along with all the missions and posts abroad. We never said that he was in Ecuador and I am sure you must have seen a denial as well from the embassy of Ecuador, they have issued a denial by their local embassy where they said that his association with Ecuador has not been out. So I would not like to focus on one individual country, I would rather say that we have sensitized all our missions and posts and through our missions and posts all the countries were sensitized that if they have any information then that information has to be given to us.

On the passport itself, you see he had a passport issued way back in Oct 2008 which had a validity of 10 years and this was cancelled much before that. Again he applied after the cancellation which was put on hold after the adverse remarks from police.

Question Contd.: When was it cancelled?

Official Spokesperson, Shri Raveesh Kumar: It was cancelled, as I said it was due to expire in Sep 2018 and it was cancelled much before that, I don’t have the exact dates of the cancellation.

Question:…………. Inaudible…………

Official Spokesperson, Shri Raveesh Kumar: Dekhiye iske do pahloo hain, pahla to ye hai ki koi shaksh agar ek website ke jariye ye bataanaa chaahta hai ki usne ek nayaa desh banaa liyaa hai to is dhang se nayaa desh banta nahi hai to mujhe nahi lagta ki mujhe is sawaal ka jawaab denaa chaahiye.

Jahaan tak jo doosara pahloo hai, Videsh mantraalay ki ek responsibility hai aise cases mein aur hamaari responsibility ke do segment hain. Pahla to ye hai ki aisi information aane ke baad hum passport ke saath kya karte hain aur doosara extradition process hai jo parallel mein chalta hai.

Jab hamein ye jaankaari milii kii in shakhs ke khilaaf aise cases hain to humne unka passport cancel kiya aur jo subsequent unka request thaa ek fresh passport issue hone ka wo humne nahi kiyaa, jaisa maine batayaa ki police kii tarafe ek adverse report aaii thii uske basis par unka passport clear nahi hua.

Jahaan tak extradition kii baat hai, extradition process tabhi shuru hota hai jab hamaare pass agencies se information aati hai aur wo information abhi tak hamaare pass aayaa nahi hai. Aur teesari baat ye hai ki humne jitne bhi hamaare missions and posts hain humne sabko kahaa huaa hai, sensitize kiyaa huaa hai ki aap apni local governments ko bataayein ki aisa incident hai aur ye Bharat mein inki khoz ho rahi hai, inke khilaaf cases pending hain aur isi wajah se aisa hota hai aur koi bhi jaankaari unke pass aati hai to hamein uski soochana dein.

(See, there are two aspects to this. First if some individual declares, through a website, that he has created a nation then it does not happens in this way, nations are not created like this and I don’t think I should answer this question.

As far as the second aspect is concerned, MEA has certain responsibilities in such cases and our responsibility has two segments. First segment is what do we do with the passport after we receive such information and the second part is the extradition process which goes on parallel to it.

When we received the information that this particular person has cases pending against him the first thing we did was we canceled his passport and when he subsequently requested for a fresh passport we did not issue him one as I told there was an adverse report from police and on the basis of that the passport was not cleared.

As far as extradition is concerned, extraditions process starts only when we receive such intimation from agencies and we have not yet received any information from the agencies. And the third thing is that we have asked all our missions and posts and sensitized them that they should inform their local governments that such an incident has happened in India and this person is being looked out for as there are cases pending against him and if they have information regarding this person they should immediately share with us.)

Question: Two small questions. First, any update on Kulbhushan Jadhav, anything which is underway, if Pakistan is eager for second consular access. Secondly, today at the Pakistani Foreign Ministry briefing the spokesperson said on 26/11 trial that the process is still on, how optimistic you are that justice will be delivered?

Official Spokesperson, Shri Raveesh Kumar: On Kulbhushan Jadhav, I have said in the past that we are in touch with the Pakistani side through diplomatic channels. I have mentioned as well that we would not like to disclose what is the nature of discussion we are having on this matter in the public forum. I can only share with you that we have requested for immediate, effective and unhindered consular access from Pakistan in the light of ICJ judgement and we will see where it goes, but yes there is some communication which is going on between India and Pakistan on this issue.

On the Mumbai terror attack, you see we all know who the perpetrators were in that attack, we all know who the mastermind is, we are also aware that the mastermind of this attack is roaming freely, he is enjoying Pakistan’s hospitality and we are also aware about the link which this attack had to the Pakistan elements within the Pakistani establishment. There is a certain obligation they have, there is certain responsibility which they have. They have an international obligation to take action. You are aware also that we have shared all the evidences with them. Now it is the responsibility of Pakistan to take action. They have shied away in the past citing different excuses which of course is not working. I think internationally, among the global community there is a feeling that Pakistan is not serious in taking action against those who are involved in the Mumbai terror attacks.

Question: The request for consular access………………….. Inaudible……….

Official Spokesperson, Shri Raveesh Kumar: Yes, it was made immediately after that.

Question: Will the next round of India-China Border Talks be held this month because some of the Indian media quoted diplomatic sources saying it is going to happen later this month?

Official Spokesperson, Shri Raveesh Kumar:You are aware that when the two leaders met in Chennai during the informal summit it was agreed that the next round of border talks should be held as early as possible and they had tasked the Special Representatives to continue the work but at the same time the dates on when this would take place has been left to the two sides to work out through diplomatic channels. That discussion is ongoing and as and when we will have confirmation on the dates we will share with you.

Question: Japan ke pradhanmantri Shinzo Abe ka Bharat daura honaa hai, bahut saari reports hai. Aadhikaarik roop se kyaa taarekhon ka ailaan aap kar sakte hain aur kahaan ye mulaqat honi hai agar details aap saajhaa kar sakein to.

(Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is scheduled for an India visit, there are so many reports about it. Can you announce the dates officially and where it is scheduled to be held, if you can share the details.)

Official Spokesperson, Shri Raveesh Kumar: Abhi filhaal main itna aapko bataa sakta hoon ki kab ho rahi hai aur ye jo agla India-Japan summit hai ye 15-17 December ko ho rahaa hai, iske aage jo jaankaari hogi ki kahaan ho rahi hai aur iske elements kyaa hain, discussion kya hoga, agenda kya hoga ye in due course hum aapko bataayenge. Jaisa ki pichhale summits mein hua hai hamaari ummeed hai ki is summit ke baad jo dono desho ke beech mei rishte hain wo aur pragaadh aur majboot honge.

(Right now I can only share with you when it is scheduled to be held and I can tell you that the next India-Japan Summit is scheduled to be held between 15-17 December. Information like where it will be held, what will be the elements and agenda of the discussion we will inform you in due course. As has happened in the past summits we expect that after the summit the relations between our two countries will grow much intense and strong.)

Question Contd.: To abhi aap bataa nahi rahe hain ………

(So you are not confirming the location now…………)

Official Spokesperson, Shri Raveesh Kumar: Aap jo bhi samajhe lein, hum abhi sirf dates hi bataayenge, kahaan hoga ye hum aapko baad mein bataaayenge.

(You may conclude as per your wish, right now we will share the dates only. We will share location of the summit later.)

Question Contd.: Delhi mein nahi hoga?

(It will not be held in Delhi?)

Official Spokesperson, Shri Raveesh Kumar: Maine ye nahi kaha, maine kahaa ki jahaan bhi hogi main aapko baad mein bataaoonga.

(I didn’t say that. I said that wherever it will be held I will tell you later.)

I don’t see any other question. Thank you all for joining.

(Concludes)
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