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Transcript of Weekly Media Briefing by Official Spokesperson (September 22, 2016)

September 28, 2016

Official Spokesperson, Shri Vikas Swarup: Good evening friends. Welcome to the weekly press briefing. I have a couple of announcements.

The first one pertains to the visit of the Vice President of India to Nigeria and Mali.

Hon’ble Vice President Shri M Hamid Ansari accompanied by Smt. Salma Ansari will be visiting Nigeria from September 26 – 29 at the invitation of H.E. Professor Yemi Osinbajo,Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

He will be accompanied by Shri Arjun Ram Meghwal, Hon’ble Minister of State for Finance and four Members of Parliament, senior officials and media.

India and Nigeria relations have traditionally been friendly and the bilateral partnership was elevated to a strategic partnership in 2007. India is Nigeria’s largest global trade partner and Nigeria is India’s largest trading partner in Africa with the bilateral trade amounting to 12.6 billion US dollars in 2015-16.

India is also the largest buyer of crude oil from Nigeria, in fact almost 12 percent of our crude oil requirements are met through imports from Nigeria. Indian companies have large presence in Nigeria and Nigeria hosts the largest Indian community in West Africa. Both the countries also have strong defence cooperation.

His Excellency the President of Nigeria along with a high powered delegation had participated in the 3rdIndian Africa Forum Summit held in New Delhi in October 2015. Hon’ble Vice President’s visit intends to further strengthen the strategic partnership between the two countries, expand and diversify bilateral economic engagement and explore new avenues of partnership on a wide range of issues of shared common interests.

During his visit the Vice President would be meeting H.E. the President of Nigeria and H.E. the Vice President of Nigeria. He would also meet the Hon’ble President of Senate, Hon’ble Speaker of the House of Representatives and deliver an address at the National Defence College of Nigeria.

In the Lagos leg, which is from 28thSeptember afternoon to 29th September afternoon, Hon’ble Vice President would be meeting the Hon’ble Governor of Lagos and deliver an address at the Joint Business Forum at the University of Lagos.

Hon’ble Vice President would also inaugurate the High Commission of India Chancery Complex in Abuja. Hon’ble Vice President would interact with the members of Indian community both in Abuja and Lagos.

From Nigeria, Hon’ble Vice President and his delegation would travel to Mali. India and Mali enjoy warm and friendly relations and Hon’ble Vice President’s visit will be the first ever high level visit to Republic of Mali from India.

H.E. the President of the Republic of Mali accompanied by a high level delegation had participated in the 3rdIndia Africa Forum Summit in New Delhi in October 2015.

India has been a steadfast partner of Mali’s reconstruction efforts, development and growth. Indian has extended 7 Lines of Credit amounting to $ 353.60 million to Mali. Five of the LoC projects implemented have been in the areas of agriculture machinery, electrical transmission and distribution, and supply of railway coaches and locomotives.

Our last project of $ 150 million for power transmission is in the final stages of processing. India and Mali bilateral trade has almost trebled in last five years and amounted to $ 350 million in 2015-16.

Hon’ble Vice President’s visit intends to further strengthen the relationship between the two countries and explore new areas of cooperation to expand and diversify the bilateral relationship. During this visit the Hon’ble Vice President would be meeting the President of the Republic of Mali and the Prime Minister of Mali. He would also address the National Assembly of the Republic of Mali.

My second announcement. I am happy to give you good news about two of our Indian nationals Shri. C Balaram Krishan from Telangana and Shri T Gopikrishna from Andhra Pradesh who were rescued from Libya. As you know, EAM had tweeted on September 15, 2016 their release from captivity after being confined since the 29th July, 2015.

They will be arriving in Delhi early tomorrow i.e. 23 September. Subsequently they will be travelling to their home towns to be reunited with their families. This concludes my two announcements. The floor is now open for questions.

Question: Vikas, this is on India’s diplomatic strategy post the Uri terror attacks. Prime Minister yesterday met top ministers including External Affairs Minister Smt. Sushma Swaraj. Are there any directives given by the Prime Minister to, in fact, shift the focus towards Pakistan sponsored terrorism globally? Have there been any instructions given to the ambassadors?

And specifically talking about Pakistan Prime Minister’s speech at the UNGA, we have seen your reaction, we have seen MoS Shri M J Akbar react, so what is India going to do about it because they continuously rake up the Kashmir issue?

Official Spokesperson, Shri Vikas Swarup: Well, as you are aware, India has been the target of cross border terrorism emanating from Pakistan or territory under its control for a long time. The despicable Uri terrorist attack in which 18 of our brave soldiers lost their lives comes in a series of such attacks in the recent past.

In terms of what action we are taking, I can only address this from the perspective of the MEA Spokesperson. I can also share with you the diplomatic efforts we have made and whose results are there for all of you to see.

You would have seen the very strong condemnation of the Uri attack from several major countries. Expressions of support have been received from all of India’s neighbours except one, from UK, France, Russia, USA, Saudi Arabia, UAE, and many other countries.

Yesterday, as you are aware, the Pakistan High Commissioner was summoned by our Foreign Secretary and was conveyed our grave concern on such a terrorist attack on an army camp in Uri and the escalating infiltration of heavily armed and equipped terrorists tasked to carry out attacks in India.

He was also reminded that the Government of Pakistan had made a solemn commitment in January 2004 to not allow its soil or territory under its control to be used for terrorism against India. The persistent and growing violation of this undertaking is a matter of very serious concern.

As far as the speech by the Prime Minister of Pakistan is concerned, that has already been very ably responded to by our First Secretary in our Permanent Mission in New York, Eenam Gambhir. You would have seen the right of reply that we exercised and that very succinctly puts the matters in their correct perspective.

You would appreciate that the onus is now squarely on Pakistan to act against terrorist groups and entities who find safe haven and all types of support in Pakistan and indulge in cross border terrorism against its neighbours, not just India. Pakistan must dismantle the infrastructure of terrorism if it has to be seen as a responsible member of the comity of nations.

Question: Day before yesterday the US Congressmen have told their Parliament to pass a bill that Pakistan should be declared as sponsor of terrorism. Do you have any conversation with them and are you going to give some input so that their case can be strengthened?

Official Spokesperson, Shri Vikas Swarup: I think the development that you are referring to reflects the acknowledgement in the US Congress that a country to which the United States had channeled so much aid is actually the epicenter of terrorism which has also targeted Americans and American interests.

You would recall that the US Congress has also blocked US$ 300 million aid to Pakistan under the Coalition Support Fund (CSF) due to Pakistan’s insufficient action against the dreaded Haqqani network. Earlier, the US Congress had also objected to the sale of F-16s to Pakistan.

The present bill has been introduced by two of the senior most and highly respected members of the Congress and I am sure it will be treated with utmost seriousness.

Question: Sir, is India going to take any action at the UN or UN Security Council to get Pakistan designated as a terrorist attack? You would recall that 25 years ago US had put Pakistan on the watch list for state sponsored terrorism and as soon as Bill Clinton became the President it was removed. Are you going to do anything to persuade the US to put Pakistan back on that watch list?

Official Spokesperson, Shri Vikas Swarup: As far as we are concerned, we have been continuously sensitizing the whole world about the terror emanating from Pakistan, how Pakistan continues to treat terrorism as a matter of state policy. At the same time, we have to work through the designated counter-terrorism structures.

As you know the 1267 Committee in the United Nations has certain modalities through which such things can be handled and we continue to hope that the international community which is already suffering from the effects of Pakistani sponsored terrorism, after all Pakistan’s hand has been seen in a number of terror attacks all around the world including the most recent one in New York. So we hope that increasingly the international community will see the validity of ensuring that Pakistan is made to stop its state sponsorship of terrorism.

Question: Yesterday we saw Nawaz Sharif raising Kashmir issue and talking more about Kashmir than his own country at the UNGA. Pakistan has been knocking all doors in the world and trying to make Kashmir a center point of discussion. How do you see the Pakistan’s effort to politicize Kashmir and how does India actually plan to counter that?

Official Spokesperson, Shri Vikas Swarup: Well, as you know, two days have passed since the high level debate in the UN General Assembly began. In each of these days 25 countries have spoken, which means if you count the two days 50 countries have already spoken.

The UN Secretary General himself has spoken and outlined what he believes are the primary areas of concern. If you look at all the statements made so far, no one, I repeat, no one has referred to the issue that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif devoted 80% of his speech to.

On the contrary, virtually every statement has referred to terrorism as the main threat to international peace and security, a fact that Pakistan still remains in denial of. Four of the five members of the Security Council have also spoken and their statements are also available for everyone to see. In fact the only permanent member of Security Council which has not spoken is Russia and I think you all are aware of Russia’s position on terrorism as well.

As far as the so called dossier is concerned, that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is believed to have given to the Secretary General, you have seen the read out given by the Secretary General’s Office. It makes no mention of the dossier. It does not talk about Secretary General wanting to intervene in J&K. In fact, the Secretary General has very wisely said that this issue needs to be settled bilaterally.

In addition, as I have already pointed out, you have seen the flurry of bilateral statements issued by all the major world capitals condemning the Uri terror attack in the strongest possible terms.

So, I think this itself makes very clear how successful Pakistan’s diplomatic strategy has been.

Question: Sir, you have heard Maleeha Lodhi speaking about Pakistan’s and India’s nuclear program and equating them. You have also heard Nawaz Sharif speaking about Pakistan’s membership, his proposal to be a member of NSG. How do you react to it?

Official Spokesperson, Shri Vikas Swarup: Our position on this issue has been made very clear on a number of occasions. We believe that issues pertaining to nuclear disarmament do not have regional solutions. These are global issues and our position on these issues as well as our engagement in global forums which are dealing with these issues is a matter of record.

Question: Pakistan is now increasingly finding itself isolated in the entire SAARC region, you have seen very strong statements from Bangladesh and Afghanistan. Would you now urge SAARC nations to actually consider whether they really want to participate in SAARC Summit in Islamabad or not and have the developments since Sunday affected India’s decision as well?

Official Spokesperson, Shri Vikas Swarup: Look, I cannot comment on that, but SAARC stands for regional cooperation which is underpinned by peace and stability. The biggest to peace and stability, we all know, is terrorism. Squarely addressing this challenge will benefit the entire region and also strengthen regional cooperation. I am sure all member countries of SAARC need to reflect on this. You spoke about coordination with Bangladesh and Afghanistan, I cannot go into that, but certainly, I think all victims of terrorism do stand in solidarity.

Question: Vikas, apart from the expressions of solidarity and condemnation and all that we are getting, what are the diplomatic levers we have to make it very costly for Pakistan to persist in this path for example scrapping of the Indus Water Treaty has been tossed around, this is number one. Number two, just wanted your confirmation, has Russia cancelled the joint exercise with Pakistan?

Official Spokesperson, Shri Vikas Swarup: You are entitled to one question so please decide which question you want to ask.

Question: The first one, what are the diplomatic levers we have as part of our isolate Pakistan strategy?

Official Spokesperson, Shri Vikas Swarup: Well, whatever diplomatic levers or leverages or blueprint we have, I am certainly not going to discuss that in a public forum and certainly I am not going to debate that in the media. Our actions speak for themselves and you have already seen that our actions are delivering results.

Question: Our representative in UN called Pakistan a terrorist state. How prudent or wise it is to have diplomatic relations with a terrorist state?

Official Spokesperson, Shri Vikas Swarup: Look, first of all I don’t know which statement you are referring to. I think we referred to Pakistan as a country which practices terrorism as a matter of state policy, if that is what you are referring to. Now you are saying that why should we have diplomatic relations with Pakistan?

As you know yesterday only, we called in their High Commissioner, we confronted him with the evidence of Pakistani involvement in the latest terror attack in Uri. We also conveyed to him Pakistani involvement in earlier terror attacks, the Poonch terror attack, the capture of Bahadur Ali etc. and we told him that if you would like to conduct an investigation we are ready to assist you in that. Now such demarches can only be made if you have diplomatic relations. So I think you will agree that having diplomatic relations does serve a useful purpose.

Question: In the statement after the Foreign Secretary summoned the Pakistan’s High Commissioner yesterday, you mentioned at the end that we now expect a response from Pakistan. Could you just help us understand, what kind of response we are looking at, that you would like that we expect and want and what is the time frame we are looking at within which we expect a response?

Official Spokesperson, Shri Vikas Swarup: Considering that eight years have passed since the Mumbai attack trial is dragging on, I don’t think we have kept a time frame. Obviously it’s in the interest of Pakistan to act as swiftly as it can on the perpetrators of terror which it has harbored and which have been conducting terror attacks in India.

Foreign Secretary has basically conveyed to the Pakistani High Commissioner the irrefutable proof that we have Pakistan’s involvement. We have also conveyed our willingness to share finger print and DNA evidence should Pakistan be serious about investigating it. And as I said, the onus is on Pakistan, the demarche has happened only yesterday. So let us see when we receive a response from Pakistan.

Question: Pehle jo sawal poochha gaya tha, hamara jo right to reply hai usmein we have used the term "terror state” aisa nahi ki usko imply kiya ja raha hai, ye term humne use kiya hai. Toh kya aise mein Pradhan Mantri abhi bhi SAARC Sammelan mein hissa lene us terror state mein jayenge ya nahin jayenge, is baare mein koi faisla hua ya nahin?

Official Spokesperson, Shri Vikas Swarup: Dekhiye iska jawab main abhi de hi chuka hoon, to dobara poochkar aapne apna prashn vyarth kar diya hai.

Question: Sir, SAARC ke member countries ki ek anti-terrorism meeting ho rahi thi, toh hum log jaanana chahte hain ki Pakistan se kis level par appearance hua tha taki hum jaanen ki Pakistan kitna serious hai, anti-terrorism par action ko lekar?

Official Spokesperson, Shri Vikas Swarup: Dekhiye aatankwaad ka muqabla karne aur nasheele padarthon ke karobar, jaali currency jaise muddon par sahyog karne par saara vishwa samuday, aur SAARC desh pramukhta se, focus kar rahe hain.

Aaj Delhi mein ho rahi baithak is disha mein ek mahatvapoorn kadam hai aur SAARC ke karyakram ka ek mahatvapoorn hissa hai. Swabhavik roop se SAARC ke sabhi sadasyon ko uchit adhikari star par ismein bhag lena chahiye.

Jaise ki aap jaante hain Bharat ki taraf se Intelligence Bureau ke Director is sabha ki adhyakshta kar rahe hain. Yadi uchit darje ke adhikari ke dwara is baithak mein bhag na liya jaye, jaisa ke aap jaante hain Pakistan ne toh kisi ko nahi bheja hai, do adhikari unke jo yahan dutawas mein hain, unse pratinidhitva karwaya hai, toh Yadi uchit darje ke adhikari ke dwara is baithak mein bhag na liya jaye to aap swayam hi nishkarsh nikal sakte hain.

Aur yadi main Hindi ka ek muhavra istemal karoon toh, Chor Ki Dadhi Mein Tinka.

Question: Sir, Pathankot hamle ke baad Pakistan ke haath ke jo saboot the usko dikhane ke liye aap logon ne Pakistan ko offer kiya aur Pakistan ki team Pathankot base par aayi. Uri ko lekar bhi, kal summon ke dauran in cheezon ko rakha gaya ki kis tarah se Pakistan ka haath is hamle ke peechhe hai, to yadi Pakistan ab bhi aana chahe to kya Uri base par aap use aane denge?

Official Spokesperson, Shri Vikas Swarup: Dekhiye, pahli baat to main ye spasht karna chahta hoon ki hum us taatparya se ye information unhen nahi de rahe hain ki woh ek team yahan bhejen, kyonki abhi hamari NIA team ke upar hi unka koi uttar nahi aa paya hai, woh abhi bhi kah rahe hain ki jo evidence humne yahan collect kiye hain woh unko abhi bhi analyze kar rahe hain.

Humne jo ye offer unko diya hai woh kewal is prayojan se diya hai ki Pakistan ka jo apna national finger print database hai usmein woh jo Uri aur Poonch ke jo aatankwadi hain unke jo fingerprints humein miley hain uske saath woh match kar saken taaki woh ye tathya sthapit kar saken ki woh Pakistani nagrik they.

Question: Is Ministry open for any initiative to draft a bill that declares Pakistan a terror state?

Official Spokesperson, Shri Vikas Swarup: I have already answered this question. Currently, in India we do not have any provision for declaring a state sponsor of terrorism. So this would require an internal legislative process within India.

Question: Sir, this Uri attack has clearly shown the Jaish-e-Mohammad imprint on this attack also. India has taken steps to designate Masood Azhar, the leader of Jaish-e-Mohammad, as a UN designated terrorist. Are we going to renew our efforts and take this issue up with China who has blocked this effort?

Official Spokesperson, Shri Vikas Swarup: We have said right from the beginning that Jaish-e-Mohammad is a very well-known terrorist organization which has a global reach and its leader continues to roam freely in a country known for harboring wanted terrorists. The 1267 issue regarding the proscription of Masood Azhar, as well as the latest attack in Uri, have both been the subject of discussion with China.

Question: Is India also preparing some kind of dossier on various acts of terrorism committed by Pakistan and when EAM Smt. Sushma Swaraj will be visiting New York, she will be presenting it to various world leaders?

Official Spokesperson, Shri Vikas Swarup: We don’t need to produce a dossier. The whole world is already aware of what Pakistan’s role has been in sponsoring terrorism.

EAM Smt. Sushma Swaraj Ji will of course be going to New York, she will be addressing the United Nations General Assembly on the 26 September and I think you will have to wait and watch what she has to say on the subject.

Question:Vikas Ji, 1999 mein Pradhan Mantri Atal Bihari Vajpayee Ji ne Lahore yatra ki, us waqt Pradhan Mantri Nawaz Sharif they, uske baad Kargil yudh hua. 2016, Pradhan Mantri Narendra Modi Nawaz Sharif ki mataji se miley, gift diya, uske baad ye Uri ka jo tohfa hai, isko kis tarah se paribhashit karenge aap?

Official Spokesperson, Shri Vikas Swarup: Main to yahi kahunga ki dekhiye jahan tak Bharat ka prashn hai humne Pakistan ke prati nirantar dosti ka haath badhaya hai, lekin jahan tak Pakistan ka prashn hai unhone ne nirantar cross-border terrorism ka sahyog liya hai, to ispar aur kya tippani ho sakti hai.

Question: What happened to the request that India made to Pakistan on exporting wheat to Afghanistan and also is there a rethinking on the MFN tag that India had given to Pakistan?

Official Spokesperson, Shri Vikas Swarup: As far as the first part of your question is concerned, I think there are two aspects to it. One, Afghanistan itself is now a member of the World Trade Organization and as such has rights including transit rights. That means other countries have corresponding obligations to allow needed transit to Afghanistan.

We all know the concerned country which is also a WTO member does not have much respect for global rules whether it is trade in ordinary products or nuclear equipment and material. The bottom line is that Afghanistan’s right to access is being seriously infringed.

The other aspect is that the proposed supply of wheat is a humanitarian matter. The 170,000 tonnes of wheat has no commercial value and is not a commodity or ‘goods’ in a normal commercial sense. So far we have had no formal response from the government of Pakistan and can only hope that their approach will be consistent with the humanitarian nature of the matter as well as the rights and obligations of Afghanistan and Pakistan under global regimes.

As far as your second question regarding MFN status, I just saw some comments on the ticker by MoS Commerce in this regard. I think you will be well advised to direct your query towards them.

Question: Sir, do you have anything more to add to the UN State Department statement on the India-US-Afghanistan trilateral, it’s a pretty sketchy statement. So I am wondering if there is something from India’s perspective.

Official Spokesperson, Shri Vikas Swarup: Well if it’s sketchy then it’s probably for a reason. I think I can add a little bit more to the statement which was issued following the meeting between India, US and Afghanistan on September 21 in New York.

The three sides shared their experience and exchanged views on various key democratic processes and institutions such as Inclusive Democracy, Elections, Parliament, Peace & Reconciliation, and efforts to reinforce them. India briefed the participants on the important decisions and discussions pertaining to expansion of development cooperation with Afghanistan during the recent visit of President Ashraf Ghani to India. India’s continued commitment to reconstruction of Afghanistan was appreciated by all the parties. The possibilities of cooperative efforts in specific sectors with Afghanistan were also explored.

The security situation and the challenges posed by the terrorism in the region were discussed. The continued commitment of the international community to strengthening capacity of Afghanistan to meet these challenges adequately and effectively was appreciated and views were exchanged on the evolving security situation and its implications.

I think, I can now read out from the press release itself. "The meeting provided a forum for the US Government and the Government of India to explore ways to coordinate and align their assistance with the priorities of the Afghan Government. They agreed that the dialogue helps to advance shared values and goals and decided to continue these consultations on a regular basis.”

Question: I just have a Yes or No question. Has the final decision been taken on the Prime Minister attending the SAARC Summit, yes or no?

Official Spokesperson, Shri Vikas Swarup: Well, every question does not has a yes or no answer.

Question: Sir, during the trilateral between the US, India and Afghanistan, did you take up the issue of the return of Hezb-e-Islami leader in Afghan peace process?

Official Spokesperson, Shri Vikas Swarup: The read out that I have does not mention that. As I said, I am not privy to all the discussions that were held. I can only share with you what I am authorized to share with you and the aspect that you mentioned does not figure in the read out given to me, but I will check on that point.

Question: Vikas, Sartaj Aziz, the advisor to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, in a statement said that India should stop blaming Pakistan, rather share evidence now. A demarche was issued to the High Commissioner of Pakistan, will evidence be shared with Pakistan and if so what are the kind of evidence we are talking about here?

Official Spokesperson, Shri Vikas Swarup: Let me then share with you more details of the demarche that was made yesterday and on which I have already put out a press release.

Basically, the demarche was in the context of the Uri terror attack and the strong evidence that points to the involvement of organizations and individuals based in Pakistan or territory under its control.

Foreign Secretary underlined that this terrorist attack was the most recent in a series launched from across the border that has steadily escalated in recent weeks.

These include a foiled infiltration bid in Nowgam sector on 30th July that resulted in the deaths of two terrorists and two Indian soldiers, one along the LoC in Macchil sector on 8th August resulting in the deaths of three BSF personnel and one terrorist, an encounter in Srinagar on the 15th August leading to the death of a CRPF commandant and injuries to 11 CRPF personnel, another foiled infiltration along the LoC in Uri sector the same day where five terrorists were eliminated, an attempted ambush on the 17th August of an army convoy leading to the deaths of two army and one police personnel, an interception on 21st August along the LoC in Tanghdar sector with the neutralisation of three terrorists and a similar event in North Kashmir on 11th September leading to the deaths of four terrorists.

Foreign Secretary said that the nature and frequency of this infiltration across the LoC of heavily armed terrorists charged with attacking Indian targets belies the claim of the Pakistani DGMO that the border has ‘water-tight arrangements’ from the Pakistani side.

On the contrary, such bids cannot be continuously mounted without the active and collaborative support of Pakistani security forces. Foreign Secretary added that it is, of course, widely known that the training and arming of terrorists is freely taking place in Pakistan and Indian territory under its control.

Acknowledged leaders of terrorist organizations have also been given free rein and parade around even in Islamabad. Such terrorism is not only directed against India but is now increasingly recognized as a larger regional concern.

Foreign Secretary also reminded the Pak High Commissioner of the capture of the Pakistani terrorist Bahadur Ali to whom we had even offered consular access to Pakistan.

Thereafter, as you already know, Foreign Secretary conveyed details of the various items that had been recovered from the terrorists. He showed the Pak High Commissioner the GPS tracking devices, pictures of Pakistan made grenades and the finger prints of one of the terrorists.

Foreign Secretary offered that in case the Government of Pakistan wishes to investigate these cross-border attacks, we are ready to provide finger prints and DNA samples of terrorists killed in the Uri and Poonch incidents.

I would like to underline that our offer is limited to providing finger prints and DNA evidence to Pakistan so that Pakistan can verify it against their national database (NADRA) and confirm that the terrorists who attacked the Indian facilities were indeed Pakistani nationals.

Foreign Secretary reminded the Government of Pakistan that it had made a solemn commitment in January 2004 to not allow its soil or territory under its control to be used for terrorism against India. The persistent and growing violation of this undertaking is a matter of very serious concern and we now await a response from Pakistan.

Question:Sir, Pakistan ke Defence Minister ne tweet kiya hai ki Pakistan Occupied Kashmir mein Pakistan air exercise karega. Aap ko lagta hai ki kahin na kahin Bharat ko dikhana chahta hai ki …

Official Spokesperson, Shri Vikas Swarup: Main aapka sawal samjha nahin. Agar woh exercise karna chahte hain to…. Woh hamara area hai par woh unhone abhi anadhikrat roop se occupy kar rakha hai.

Question:Vikas, my question is little different from Pakistan, my question is on BRICS. Since the summit will be in India, we are planning a number of sectorial meetings, there is one I believe on PPP on infrastructure financing and agriculture. Can you tell us any other sectorial meeting that are likely to take place?

Official Spokesperson, Shri Vikas Swarup: As I mentioned last time, all the meetings that are going to take place are listed under the BRICS website. If you just go there you will find all the details are listed there. There are separate sections which inform which are the meetings that have already been held and which are likely to take place.

Question: In this diplomatic blitz that has been launched after Uri, is India considering revisiting the 1969 Indus Water Treaty?

Official Spokesperson, Shri Vikas Swarup: I am sure you are aware that there are differences between India and Pakistan on the interpretation of the Indus Water Treaty, but this is an issue which is being addressed bilaterally. But let me make a basic point, eventually, any cooperative arrangement requires goodwill and mutual trust on both sides.

Question: Just a question on Russia. There are reports that Russia cancelled the military drill with Pakistan which is unconfirmed, but there is obviously strong support from Russia after the Uri attack. I am wondering if there has been any communication between the MEA and Russian counterparts.

Official Spokesperson, Shri Vikas Swarup: Well, certainly there has been continuous communication between MEA and our counterparts from Russia. This issue was discussed even during the very high level inter-governmental commission that was held between India and Russia.

As you know, Pakistan Occupied Kashmir is sovereign Indian territory, so our sensitivities in this regard are well known internationally and given our privileged and strategic partnership with Russia, we have rightfully conveyed our concerns to them.

Question: You just spoke about Indus Water Treaty and said that any such issue requires mutual trust and cooperation. Does it mean that India will be willing to have a rethink on this issue, which stood since 1960 and we have never gone for arbitration on this issue.

Official Spokesperson, Shri Vikas Swarup: Yes, for 56 years. Please examine carefully what did I say, I said for any such treaty to work…after all the preamble of the treaty itself says that it works on goodwill, so for such a treaty to work it is important that there must be mutual trust and mutual cooperation between both the sides. It cannot be a one sided affair. That’s all I have said and I think I will leave it at that.

Question: But it worked between previous wars?

Official Spokesperson, Shri Vikas Swarup: When have I said that it is not working now? I will restrict myself to what I have already said. In diplomatese you do not spell out everything.

I think finally we have exhausted all the questions. Thank you all.

(Concludes)


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