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Transcript of Weekly Media Briefing by Official Spokesperson (November 21, 2019)

November 22, 2019

Official Spokesperson, Shri Raveesh Kumar: Friends, Namaskar, good afternoon. I don’t have any announcements to make so I open the floor to questions.

Question: On Monday we saw reports from Pakistani media that they have arrested two Indians, any update on that? Has India approached Pakistani government for consular access?

Official Spokesperson, Shri Raveesh Kumar: Are there any related question to this?

Question: His father also,

Official Spokesperson, Shri Raveesh Kumar: You are talking about one of the Indian nationals, from Hyderabad, Ok.

Question: There is a similar report coming from Germany of an Indian couple who are accused of spying and are being tried. Do you have some details of that as well?

Official Spokesperson, Shri Raveesh Kumar: You will have to give me some details at least, name and when.

Question Contd.: They are charged of spying on some Sikh community.

Question: I was just wondering if there was any other kind of update on the consular access for Kulbhushan Jadhav and if we could get a broad overview of consular access to other Indian prisoners, are there any other difficulties we are facing?

Official Spokesperson, Shri Raveesh Kumar: On this particular case, you have seen reports that there were two Indian nationals, Mr. Prashant Vaindam and Varilal, we believe that they have inadvertently crossed over to Pakistan sometime in 2016 – 17 and when we were told about this incident we actually had informed to Pakistani side through note-verbal which means we had officially taken up the matter with them and told them that this has happened and in case they locate these two individuals, and there were other individuals as well, it should be brought to our notice.

Since then we did not get any response and if I could refer to specifically to these two individuals. For Mr. Prashant Vaindam, we had conveyed as early as in May 2019 and for Mr. Varilal we had informed them in December 2018.

Now the sudden announcement of the arrest of these two people through media is a matter of surprise to us. We hope that these two Indian nationals, they are not used or they do not become a victim of Pakistani propaganda. What we also did the moment this was announced and it came out in the media, initially in the Pakistani media, we approached the government of Pakistan on the same day and we requested for immediate consular access. We also asked them to ensure the safety and security of the two Indian nationals and also their early repatriation so that they could be united with their families back in India.

I am not specifically aware about request which has been made, if a request has been made, depending on EAM’s program, I think that will be considered but I have no update on that.

As of now what we hear from press reports is that he was found to be illegally staying in Pakistan but we have requested more details and when we get consular access that is when we intend to find out more on the nature of the arrest which has been made.

Question:………… inaudible………..

Official Spokesperson, Shri Raveesh Kumar: Look, it is very difficult to define a time frame in such cases. I mean it is not a question of only Mr. Prashant Vaindam, there is another person who is involved there as well and there are many other Indians, who we have been requesting that they might have crossed over inadvertently to the Pakistani side. These are all separate cases and from time to time we are told sometimes by the family members, sometimes by our own security forces that it is possible that an individual may have crossed over to the other side. When such incident is brought to our notice we promptly write to the Pakistani side that it is quite possible that a certain individual may have crossed over.

And apart from these two, there are other cases as well. In fact there are at least five Indian nationals and hundreds of Indian fishermen and these are cases where their nationality has beenverified. In many cases, some of them have completed their sentence. Two of them they were about to be repatriated on 5thAugust , you are aware, and they had reached Atari Border but at the last moment it didn’t work out.

So the bottom line is that in such cases where we suspect that individuals may have crossed over to the Pakistani side, immediately we inform them officially. We do expect them that if they are taken into custody, if they find them, we should be informed and we should be given consular access. We also request not to harm them, no harm is caused to them and also their early repatriation.

Question:………… Inaudible………..

Official Spokesperson, Shri Raveesh Kumar: Yes, of course. I think on the same day, the day we got to know through the press that these two peoples have been arrested, we alerted the Pakistani side.

Further, I am not specifically aware about the Germany incident. I think it all depends on the nationality of the individuals, whether they are Indian nationals or people of Indian origin that will clarify matters. Since I don’t have the name and details I cannot answer your question.

Jaisa media mei aayaa hai ki do Bharatiya naagrik jinka naam, Prashant Vaindam aur Warilal hai, hamein ye andaz thaa ki ye galti se Pakistan ki taraf cross kar gaye honge aur ye ghatna 2016-17 ki bataai jaati hai. Jis samay ye hamein pata chalaa, jis samay ye hamaari jaankaari mein layaa gaya usii samay humne Pakistani government ko bataya ki ye individuals aapki seema mein ho sakte hain. Aur agar aapko inke baare mein jaankaari mile to aap hamein iski soochanaa dein.

Us samay se aur jaise maine kahaa ki Prashant Vaindam ka case humne May 2019 mei liyaa thaa aur Warilal ka case December 2018 mein. Jis samay humne pahle Note Verbal likha aur uske baad jitne bhi reminders gaye, hamein kisi ka jawaab nahi diyaa gayaa. Isiliye jab achaanak iski ghoshana hui, Pakistan press mei ki do Indians arrest ho gaye hain to thoda sa hamein surprise hua

Hamari ummeed yahi hai ki ye jo do innocent Bharatiya naagrik hain inko Pakistan propaganda ka tool na banaaye. Us din jis din hamein iski jaankaari milii, humne ye bhi demand kiyaa ki hamein consular access diyaa jaye in dono Indians ke liye aur inki suraksha kii jimmedaari bhi Pakistan ke pass hai aur jitni jaldi ho sake inko repatriate kiyaa jaaye jisase ye apne parivaar walon se mil sakein.

Question: Recently there were talks between the USTR and Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal in Washington and they had a conversation over the phone as well. There are reports coming in that the trade talks are almost done. So diplomatically what is the larger message that you see and what is the status right now?

Official Spokesperson, Shri Raveesh Kumar: You are aware that the details for this will be available with Ministry of Commerce. Discussions have been going on between the two sides since the two leaders instructed the commerce ministers of the two countries to find a solution. Since then they have been engaged in discussions. You know these are complex matters, we have said this earlier as well, we remain optimistic that a solution will be found very soon but the details of what transpired in the meeting when our commerce minister met his counterpart in the U.S. ,you will have to contact the ministry of commerce.

Question: Pakistani national Altaf Hussain, living in exile in London, has sought political asylum from India. Is government of India considering the request?

Official Spokesperson, Shri Raveesh Kumar: You know that the asylum request and the matters relating to asylum are not with the Ministry of External Affairs. We do not deal with such matters so I may not be able to answer this query.

Question: We have seen recent interviews of our External Affairs Minister in foreign press and media where he has criticized Pakistan for running a terror industry and sponsoring cross-border terrorism. Pakistan has said that these are unfounded and India is trying to divert attention from Kashmir.

Official Spokesperson, Shri Raveesh Kumar: You see what the External Affairs Minister has done that he called a spade a spade and this naturally has touched on Pakistan’s raw nerves, it has hurt them where perhaps it hurts the most. Instead of reacting in an illogical manner, in a very predictable manner I think Pakistan should take action on some of the points which External Affairs Minister has raised in his interview with several of the foreign media.

Question: This is about the India-Japan ministerial 2+2 which is scheduled to happen this month. First can you confirm the dates and second, given that Prime Minister Abe is also supposed to visit in December, what are the specific agendas of this particular 2+2 meeting between India and Japan?

Official Spokesperson, Shri Raveesh Kumar: I will not be able to confirm the dates today. I can only share with you that we are looking forward to the inaugural 2+2 Foreign and Defence Ministerial Dialogue which will take place later this month. We will come up with the exact dates sometime next week. This is a clear reflection of the growing strategic trust between India and Japan.

As far as the summit is concerned you know this is a very important summit, we are again looking forward to this summit which will take place sometime in the middle of December. We are confident that this summit would lead to further strengthening of India-Japan strategic partnership, special and global partnership and the 2+2 dialogue will actually feed into the main summit. So I think the discussion flowing out of the 2+2 will form an important component of what will be the main outcome during the summit.

For both the dates, for 2+2 as well as for the summit, I think we will have to have some patience, maybe perhaps next or next to next week.

Question: Mera sawal Sri Lanka mein naii Satta ke sthaapit hone ko lekar hai. Tamaam is tarah ki khabarein aa rahi hain ki Bharat aur Sri Lanka ke sambandhon par iska asar padega kyonki jo nayaa establishment hai wo China se jyada close hai, halaanki Bharat Sarkar ne apni taraf se pahal kii hai. Ek badaa sawaal hai ki jo Tamil hain Sri Lanka mein, unke hiton ki kis tarah se Bharat unki rakshaa kar paayega?

(My question is related to the establishment of new government in Sri Lanka. There are many reports that there will be effects on India and Sri Lanka relations because the new establishment is closer to China, however India has taken initiative from its side. The big question here is how will India ensure protection of rights of Tamils in Sri Lanka?)

Official Spokesperson, Shri Raveesh Kumar: Dekhiye do-teen sawaal hain aapke, pahla to ye ki President Gotabhaya ke aane se hamaare upar kya asar padega.

Sabse pahli baat jaanane kii ye hai ki jo hamara rishta hai Sri Lanka ke saath, wo kisi doosari country ke prism mein nahi dekhaa jaa saktaa hai, wo hamaari apni standing hai. Sri Lanka hamara purana kareebi mitra hai aur bahut hi historical civilizations relationship hai inke saath hamara.

Jaisa aapne dekha ki jaise hi naye President ka chunaav hua hamaare Pradhanmantri ne tweet kiyaa tha, congratulate kiyaa tha uske baad unka jawaab bhi aaya tha aur uske baad hamaare minister bhi gaye wahaan unke saath mulaqat karne, to hamein lagta hai ki hamein Bharat aur Sri Lanka ka jo rishta hai usko on its own standing dekhna chaahiye, kisi doosare country ke prism mein nahi dekhna chaahiye. Jahan tak jo aapne bataya Tamil issue ke baare mein, aapko pata hai ki do-teen din pahle hamare External Affairs Minister Colombo gaye they as a special envoy of the Prime Minister aur unhone wahaan jakar jo hamaare Pradhanmantri ki wishes thii wo naye President ko convey kiyaa. Hamare minister ne Prime Minister ka letter of congratulation bhi saunpa aur usi samay unko invite kiya ki aap Bharat aayein aur jaisa ki aap sabko pata hai ki jo naye President hain wo 29-30 ko State visit par Bharat ka daura kar rahe hain.

Main ye bhi batanaa chaahunga ki jo hamare External Affairs Minister kii meeting hui President Rajapaksa ke saath, usmein sabse pahla mudda thaa ki jo hamare bilateral samabandh hain unko kaise drudh kiya jaaye, kaise majboot kiya jaaye. Uske saath-saath hamare Videsh Mantri ne ye bhi kahaa ki wo Sri Lankan government se expect karte hain ki jo process national reconciliation ka tha usko aage badhaaya jaaye aur us jagah par le jaayaa jaye jahaan par jo Tamil community ke aspirations hain, jo equality, justice, peace and dignity ke aspirations hain, wo unko mil sakein.

Uske baad aapne President Rajapaksa ka statement bhi dekhaa hoga jismein unhone kaha ki saare Sri Lankans, chaahe wo kisi bhi dharm ke ho, kisi bhi race ke ho wo sabke President hain aur unhone ye bhi kaha tha ki chaahe in logo ne unko vote diya ho ya na diya wo sabke liye kaam karenge.President Gotabhaya ne ye bhi kaha ki jab wo kaam shuru karenge to uttari Sri Lanka aur Poorvi Sri Lanka ke jo provinces hain uske development ke liye wo dhyaan denge aur usmein unhone ye bhi kahaa ki India is maamle mein bahut hi important aur valuable partner hoga.

There are two parts to the question, I think I will take the second part first. On the Tamil issue and also on the motion, you are all aware that External Affairs Minister visited Colombo as a Special Envoy of Prime Minister a few days ago to convey Prime Minister’s wishes and greetings to the newly elected President of Sri Lanka. The External Affairs Minister delivered the letter of congratulations and extended an invitation to the President of Sri Lanka to visit India. You are all aware that the President of Sri Lanka has accepted the invitation of the Prime Minister of India to visit India and he will be on a State visit to India on 29 and 30 November later this month.

During his meeting with President Gotabhaya, the new President of Sri Lanka, the first part of the discussion was of course focused on strengthening the bilateral relationship. EAM also expected and he conveyed to President Rajapaksa India’s expectation that the Sri Lankan government will take forward the process of national reconciliation to arrive at a solution that meets the aspirations of the Tamil community for equality, justice, peace and dignity and since then you must have seen President Rajapaksa’s statement where he reaffirmed that he will be the President of Sri Lanka of all Sri Lankans irrespective of their racial or religious identities and without creating a distinction on whether they voted for him or not.

The new Sri Lankan president also stated that he is committed to ensuring development of Northern and Eastern provinces and considers India a valued partner towards this endeavor. On the other aspect about how is India looking at the relationship I think it is very clear that India is ready to closely work with the government of the day in deepening our age old relationship. You are aware that exchanges of greetings have taken place between the two leaders. Our relationship with Sri Lanka or for that matter with any other country is not dependent on a third country, it stands independently. We enjoy historical and very close relationship with Sri Lanka and we are looking forward and we will work very closely with the new Sri Lankan government.

Question: Kartarpur Corridor shuru ho chuka hai lekin jo pilgrims wahaan jaa rahe hain unki tadaad bahut kam hai halanki paanch hazaar kii baat kii gaii thii. Humko ye bhi jaankaari dii gaii thii ki Pakistan ne ek proposal share kiyaa hai India ke saath jismein kahaa gayaa hai ki passport ke saath do away kiyaa jaayega aur advances ko bhi khatam kiyaa jaayega. Us proposal ka kya hua, us par kab baithak hogi, uspe aagey kya kaaryawaahi honi hai?

(Kartarpur Corridor is functional now and the number of pilgrims visiting is quite less even though it was said that 5000 pilgrims will visit. We were also given the information that Pakistan has shared a proposal with India where it was mentioned that the requirement of passport will be done away and there will be no need for advances. What happened to that proposal, when will there be a meeting on that, what is the way forward?)

Official Spokesperson, Shri Raveesh Kumar: Dekhiye jahaan tak meri jaankaari hai ki jo yatriyon kii sankhya hai mujhe lagta hai wo pichhale kuch dino mein badh rahii hai aur khaskar jo weekend ka samay hota hai usmein humne notice kiyaa hai ki usmein izafa hua hai. Jahan tak procedure kii baat hai ye aapko samajhana padega ki ye ek bilateral document aur ye bilateral document jo India aur Pakistan ke officials they, unke discussion ke baad finalize hua hai. Ab ismein agar kuch bhi tabdeeli karni hai aapko to wo tabdeeli aapkoformally karni hogi. Ye ek tweet ke jariye ye ek statement ke jariye nahi hoga.

Ek empowered committee hai jo Home Secretary chair karte hain jismein aisi saari jitni bhi baatein hain unka discussion hota hai. Jahan tak Videsh Mantralay ka sawal hai kyonki ek muddaa uthaa thaa ki passport milne mein problem ho rahi hai to uske baare mein main ye jaankaari dena chaahunga kii abhi hamaare filhal Punjab mein teen passport offices hain, 5 PSK (Passport Seva Kendra) hain aur 6 POPSK (Post Office Passport Seva Kendra) hain. Iske alawa jo POPSK hain, ek hum khol rahe hain Dera Baba Nanak mein hii, 6 passport camp humne organize kiye hain jiska basic maqsad yahi hai ki jo log ye bataa rahe hain ki hamein passport milne mein dikkat hogi aur jo passport ek requirement hain bilateral agreement ke tahat to hum usko facilitate karaane kii koshish kar rahe hain.

Jo doosara muddaa hai jise hum kaafi dino se Pakistan ke saath suljhaane kii koshish kar rahe hain, jo humne unse kahaa bhi thaa ki jo $20 ki service fee unhone impose kii hai usko wo hataayein. Aapko pataa hai ki Pakistan iske liye taiyaar nahi hua hai aur hum abhi bhi unse request kar rahe hain ki agar isko wo hataa dete hain to ye jo restrictions kuch pilgrims feel kar rahe hain us par kaafi had tak, mujhe lagta hai, sudhaar hoga.

(Look, as far as our information the number of pilgrims is increasing and we have noticed especially during the weekends that there has been an increase in the number of visitors. As far as the procedure is concerned you need to understand that it is a bilateral document which was finalized after the discussion between Indian and Pakistani officials. If you need to make any change in it then it has to be carried out formally rather than through a tweet or a statement.

There is an empowered committee which is chaired by the Home Secretary where all such things are discussed. As far as Ministry of External Affairs is concerned since an issue was raised regarding the difficulties in obtaining passports. On that front I would like to inform you that right now we have three Passport offices in Punjab, five Passport Seva Kendra and six Post Office Passport Seva Kendra. Other than this we are opening a POPSK in Dera Baba Nanak. We have organized six passport camps because people said they will face difficulties in obtaining passports and as per bilateral agreement passport is a requirement to visit and we have been trying to facilitate it.

The second issue, which is regarding the $20 service fee which was imposed by Pakistan, which we have been requesting Pakistan to remove. You know that Pakistan did not agree to it and we are requesting them to remove it and if they remove it then it will greatly help in easing the restriction which some of the pilgrims are now facing.)

Question: BJP MP Tapir Gao ne ek baar fir se ek claim kiya hai ki 50-60 km ki jameen China ne capture kiya hua hai Arunachal mein aur Doklam jaise haalaat ban sakte hain agar government is taraf dhyaan na de?

(BJP MP Tapir Gao has once again made a claim that almost 50-60 km of land is captured by China in Arunachal and conditions like Doklam can crop up if government of India does not pay any attention to this.)

Official Spokesperson, Shri Raveesh Kumar: Dekhiye aapko pataa hai ki jo maamla parliament mein hota hai, ye maamla parliament mein uthaa hai, ismein do cheezein hain, ek to maamla parliament mein uthaa hai aur doosara maamla defence ministry kaa hai, to mujhe nahi lagta hai ki is par mujhe ko tippani karni chaahiye.

(Look, you are aware that any issue which has been raised in parliament, this issue has been raised in Parliament. So there are two things, one it has been raised in Parliament and other that it relates to Ministry of Defence, so I am not going make any comments regarding this.)

Question: Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina is coming to Calcutta tomorrow. Now exactly five weeks ago one of our BSF head constable was shot dead apparently in Bangladesh border guards firing and I also believe an Indian national, a fisherman, who was also involved in that incident is still under Bangladesh’s custody. I am sure India has taken up the issue with appropriate authorities, so what is the latest update on that?

Official Spokesperson, Shri Raveesh Kumar: You see where you had left on that incident, clarifications have been provided. Our concerned border agencies have met and basically the focus has been that this incident should not repeat itself in future. That is the kind of understanding which should be there between the two sides.

On the visit of the Prime Minister of Bangladesh, you know that she is visiting Kolkata tomorrow. She is visiting at the request of our Prime Minister and this request was made in view of the historic nature of the India-Bangladesh Test which is taking place. This is the first ever day-night test match to be played on Indian soil and we felt that it was most appropriate that the first day-night test match in India should be inaugurated by good friend of India and that is the reason why the Prime Minister of Bangladesh is visiting Calcutta tomorrow.

Question: Ayodhya masle ke baad aapne kaii deshon ko uske baare mein brief kiyaa to jo Muslim desh hain aur OIC desh unka kya nazariya tha ya unki kya chintaayein thii. Aur doosara kai deshon ke, kam se kam teen deshon ke raajdooton ne icchha jataai hai ki wo Ayodhya jaana chaahte hain, to kya wo wahaan jaa sakte hain, aapki kya pratikriya hai?

(After Ayodhya issue you have briefed many countries regarding this, so what was the outlook and concerns of Muslim and OIC countries. Second, Ambassadors of many countries, at least three countries have expressed their desire to visit Ayodhya, so can they visit Ayodhya, what is your reaction?)

Official Spokesperson, Shri Raveesh Kumar: Ek to main ye batana chaahunga ki ye VIdesh Mantralay kaa kaam hai ki agar koi bhi important development Bharat mei hota hai to uske baare mein hum engage karein aur agar diplomatic community se request aati hai ki hamein aap bataayein ki kya hua, kyon hua, to hamara ye kaam hai ki hum unko engage karein aur us maamle mein apna perspective unke saamne rakhein. To isii ke tahat humne kuch countries ke saath engage kiyaa. Yahaan bhi kiyaa aur kuch hamaare jo missions they, jo important countries mein hamaare missions uske through bhi kuch deshon ke saath hamara engagement hua.

Jahaan tak mera khyal hai jitne bhi logon ke saath hamaari engagement huii humne yahi argue kiya ki ye Bharat kaa aantrik maamla hai, ye Supreme Court ka decision hai, Supreme Court apex court hai aur isko is nazariye se dekhaa jaaye. Jahaan tak meri jaankaari hai ki aisa kahin se bhi koi comment nahi aaya hai jisase hamein lage ki jo ye cheez hum unko bataanaa chaah rahe they usmein kahin chook huii ho. To mujhe lagta hai jo engagement thaa wo kaafi had tak hamaara successful rahaa hai.

(One, I would like to inform you that if there are any developments in India then it is the job of MEA to engage regarding that and if there is a request from the diplomatic community where they ask us what happened and why did it happen then it is our job that we engage with them and present our perspective regarding any issue. So we engaged with some countries under this criteria only. We engaged here also and through missions of some important countries in those countries also.

All the countries with whom we had an engagement on this issue we argued that it is our internal and sovereign matter and it was a decision by Supreme Court. Supreme Court is the apex court of the country and it should be seen in that light only. As far as my information goes there were no comments made by any country which would make us understand there was a mistake in communicating what we were actually trying to convey. So I think our engagement was very successful.

Question Contd.: OIC countries ne kya bola?

(What did OIC countries say?)

Official Spokesperson, Shri Raveesh Kumar: Ye to hamaari taraf se engagement hota hai, hamein bataanaa hotaa hai ki ye jo hua uska purpose kyaa thaa aur ye part of regular diplomatic enagagement hota hai aur usi ke tahat ye jo engagement thaa ye humne kiyaa.

(This is an engagement from our side, we have to tell them what was the purpose behind any development and it is part of regular diplomatic engagement and we did it as part of that only.)

You see the restrictions on visit of anybody to a particular part of the country, there are certain restrictions which apply if they are in the restricted area or protected area, these are all governed by MHA rules. I am frankly not familiar at this point of time if any such restriction exists in the case of diplomatic envoys visiting Ayodhya.

Question: My question on recent political map released by government of India on November 2. As we know that Prime Minister Oli has said Nepal would not allow anyone to encroach even an inch on its territory and he also told that he will ask India to draw its forces from Kalapani. What is the official statement on this? And the second one is, there are reports that Nepal has already asked India for the foreign secretary level meeting, when that meeting is expected and lastly, the EPG was constituted to resolve and to give suggestions on all the outstanding issues which also include the border issues, but it is already one and a half year since the report was finalized but India has not shown any interest on releasing that, what actually is the issue?

Official Spokesperson, Shri Raveesh Kumar: Let’s start with the last one. I don’t think it is correct that India has not shown any interest. You are aware that there are members from both sides who are part of the EPG and the decision is that the two governments will consider the report only if they are submitted to the two governments. So we are waiting for that, I don’t think it is factually correct that India has not shown any interest.

On the first part, on the map itself, I had made a statement two weeks ago. We have a consistent position on this matter and we stand by that position and there has been no change in that position.

On the foreign secretary level talks, yes there is an existing mechanism and when you try to work out a meeting, there has to be some dates which everyone has to agreed to. What I understand at this point of time that both sides are in touch to find out the dates, as and when the dates are finalized I shall let you know.

Question:……… Inaudible…………..

Official Spokesperson, Shri Raveesh Kumar: As I said that when we approach the matter, we approach the matter that Indian fishermen have been arrested. Now whenever such an incident occurs we take up the matter with Bangladesh, it is taken up at different levels and in this case also we have requested Bangladesh to ensure the early release and repatriation of the fishermen.

Question: Where is the India-Japan Summit taking place?

Official Spokesperson, Shri Raveesh Kumar: Look, if I am not sharing the dates, do you expect me to share the venue of the summit. Just hold on, you can speculate as much as you want but the venue and date, for that you will have to wait for some more time.

You all can keep on guessing, what I can tell you, the only thing which I can give you today is that it is taking place sometime next month, around the middle of next month. The dates and the venue are being discussed between the two sides and I think we should get back to you.

Question: Indians kicked out of America for illegal staying.

Sir aap log thoda bol deejiye un logon ko ki haath pair naa bandhkar bhejein.

(Sir, you people please ask them not to send Indians by tying their hands and legs.)

Official Spokesperson, Shri Raveesh Kumar: See, from time to time whenever Indians are detained and the Indian nationals who do not possess the right to stay in the US, they are detained. These are reported to us and what typically is done by the embassy or the consulate is that we take up the matter with appropriate authorities in the US, number one. Number two, we try to render all the possible assistance to the people who are under detention, we also, sometimes, visit the detention centers to see if they are doing ok. At the same time we also facilitate the repatriation of Indian nationals and Indian immigrants who are undocumented.

Now in such cases, it is important that their nationalities have been verified. The way it takes place is that when this is brought to our notice, their nationality is verified and then they are repatriated to India. We, of course, on all such matters we remain very closely engaged with the US government on all issues relating to the diaspora including people who are in the US on undocumented papers.

Question: I have a question with respect to Russia. India has apprised Russia about the cyber-attack on the Kudankulam nuclear power plant, when was that done? At the same time the cooperation between Russia on India on cyber security has been enhanced, in case you can share more details about it post Kundankulam?

Official Spokesperson, Shri Raveesh Kumar: What I understand from the relevant agency, we sought some inputs from them. We were told that the matter of the attack is under investigation, so this becomes more of a law and order or law enforcement matter and I did not see the report as to how did this happen. So that is where at this point of time. I think on the matters of cooperation on cyber security, I think this is an ongoing cooperation which we have with some of the closest partners, Russia is one of them. Whether this issue will figure somewhere in the next round of discussions that I think we will see. It is an important issue, we will see if it gets covered.

Question: One small question on BIMSTEC nations, when is the next cyber security dialogue that is happening.

Official Spokesperson, Shri Raveesh Kumar: I have no idea. I will check and get back to you.

Question: Aisi khabarein hain ki Nityanand desh se baahar gaye hain aur Gujarat kii rajya policy ne MEA ko sampark kiya hai unke extradition ke liye. To kya is baare mein koi update hain aapke pass?

(There are some reports that Nityanand is out of country and state police of Gujarat has contacted MEA for his extradition. So do you have any update regarding this?)

Official Spokesperson, Shri Raveesh Kumar: Jahan tak meri jaankaari hai mujhe nahi lagta ki hamaare pass abhi tak chaahe wo Gujarat Police ho, chaahe wo Home Ministry ho, hamare pass koi formal communication is baare mein nahi aayaa hai, number one.

Doosari baat ye jaananaa bahut jaroori hai ki VIdesh Mantralay ka ismein kya role hota hai. Role ye hota hai ki ek to location ka pataa honaa chahiye ki kahaan par hain kyonki hamara role hai ki agar hum extradition request bhejate hain us desh ko to usase pahle hamein ye pataa hona jaroori hai ki ye shaksh wahaan hai ya nahi. To ek location, aur doosara jarorri hai ki inki nationality kya hai aur jab tak in dono cheezon ke baare mein, main general bata rahaa hoon, ye dono cheezein pataa karne ke baad hii Videsh Mantralay kisii bhi aise incident mein apna haath daalti hai. Par filhaal sthiti ye hai ki hamaare pass naa hi Gujarat Police se aur naa hi Home Ministry se iski koi formal jaankaari dii gaii hai.

(As far as my information goes I don’t think we have received any formal communication both from Gujarat Police or Home Ministry regarding this, number one.

Second, here I would like to inform you about the role of MEA in all this process. The role is, first we need to have information about the location of the person, because if we are sending an extradition request then it is necessary for us to have information whether that particular person is present there or not. So one is location, second is the confirmation of his nationality. Till the time we do not have confirmation about both things, I am talking about the general procedure, after ascertaining both the things only then MEA take up such matters. However for the time being we have not received any formal communication either from Home Ministry or Gujarat Police.)

Question:……… Inaudible…………

Official Spokesperson, Shri Raveesh Kumar: No, I mean you are aware that the first 2+2 took place in September 2018. We are in touch with the US side to work out the next set of dates for the event and as and when they are finalized we will let you know.

Question:Is there any formal communication from the Nepal side on that secretary level meeting?

Official Spokesperson, Shri Raveesh Kumar: No, as I said that if we get a formal communication then the two sides will get in touch. You know how such official level talks are conducted. We get a proposal about next talks, next foreign secretary level talks and depending on many factors including the schedule of the two principals a meeting will be decided.

Question: In the House of Representatives, last night, there was Republican from Texas, Peter Olson, who spoke on several issues, can you tell us what our reaction has been?

Official Spokesperson, Shri Raveesh Kumar: We have seen the statement made by Congressman Olson recognizing the rationale behind the decision of government of India with regard to Jammu & Kashmir carried out as per India’s Constitution. As we have said in the past we remain engaged with various stakeholders in the US including administration, Congress, civil society and others to address their questions. We have received full understanding from across the political spectrum that the question and decision related to Article 370 is purely India’s sovereign and internal matter.

Any other question?

I see none. Thank you all for joining. Thank you very much.


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