Media Center

Transcript of Virtual Weekly Media Briefing by the Official Spokesperson (December 03, 2020)

December 04, 2020

Shri Anurag Srivastava, Official Spokesperson: Friends, Namaskar and good evening. Welcome to this weekly briefing in the virtual format. I will start with a short update on the Vande Bharat Mission. You would know that the phase-8 of this Mission has been operational since the 1st of November and this phase has now been extended until the 31st of December. Under this extended phase, called phase-8+, 897 international flights have been scheduled to operate from 15 countries, with the capacity to repatriate an estimated 1.5 lakh people. In addition to this, flights operated under the bilateral air bubble arrangements with 18 countries are progressing smoothly. And as of 3rd of December, 34.1 lakh Indians have been repatriated through different modes of this Mission. I'll move on to your questions. Garima, could you please take over.

Ms Garima Paul, US (DD): Taking the first set of questions, Gautam Lahiri asks - "Chinese state-sponsored media reports that China plans to build a mega hydropower project on the Brahmaputra river, whether Indian Government is concerned and what steps MEA is taking to allay the reported concern both in India and Bangladesh?" Shankar from IVD asks - "whether India has expressed its concern to China on its planned development of super dam on the Brahmaputra river?" Similar questions have also been asked by Aishwarya from AFP, Madhurendra from News Nation, Geeta Mohan from India Today and Sandeep from The Tribune.

Shri Anurag Srivastava, Official Spokesperson: We have taken note of media reports in this regard and the Government has been carefully monitoring all developments in the Brahmaputra river. As a lower riparian state, with considerable established user rights to the waters of the trans-border rivers, we have consistently conveyed our views and concerns to the Chinese authorities. We have urged them to ensure that the interests of downstream states are not harmed by any activities in upstream areas. The Chinese side has conveyed to us on several occasions that they are only undertaking run-of-the-river hydropower projects, which do not involve diversion of the waters of the Brahmaputra. Various issues relating to trans-border rivers are discussed with China under the ambit of the institutionalized expert-level mechanism, which was established in 2006, as well as through diplomatic channels. We intend to remain engaged with China on the issue of trans-border rivers to safeguard our interests.

Ms Garima Paul, US (DD): Sir, next question is from Sidhant from WION - "EAM and Australian FM had a telephone conversation on the 1st of December, did they discuss the recent China-Australia controversy?"

Shri Anurag Srivastava, Official Spokesperson: Sidhant, you know our two countries enjoy strong bilateral relationship and we are both democratic nations with shared values based on commitments to a rule based global order. A virtual Summit was recently held between our two Prime Ministers on the 4th of June and at this virtual Summit it was decided to elevate our bilateral relationship to a comprehensive strategic partnership. Our bilateral engagements span various areas, they include agriculture, mining, education, skill development, infrastructure, maritime cooperation, counter terrorism, cyber security. These are some of the areas. You would also know that Australia recently participated in the Malabar series exercises and it is an important partner in our Indo-Pacific Oceans initiative, which was tabled by India, as well as in the post-Covid economic rebalancing through building more resilient supply chains. So, given the depth and importance of our bilateral relations, naturally, we exchanged views on regional and global developments as well as on current issues of concern.

Ms Garima Paul, US (DD): Next, Uma Shankar from NDTV India asks - "kya Bharat ke PM ne UK PM ko Gantantra Diwas Parade ka mukhya atithi banne ke liye nyota dia hai, agar haan to kya UK PM ne kabool kar liya hai?" (Questioned in Hindi; Approximate translation) "Has the PM of India invited the UK PM to be the chief guest of the Republic Day Parade? If yes, then has the UK PM accepted the invite?” Sridhar from Asian Age asks - "has an invite been extended to the British Prime Minister to be the chief guest of the Republic Day Parade? Has he accepted the invitation?" Similar questions have also been asked by Shailendra from News18, Neeraj from News18, Shankar from IVD, Suhasini Haider from The Hindu, and Srinjoy from Times Now.

Shri Anurag Srivastava, Official Spokesperson: See, as you're all aware, the announcement regarding the chief guest for our Republic Day celebrations is made closer to the event. So as and when there's something to share we will be happy to do so.

Ms Garima Paul, US (DD): Next, Geeta from India Today asks - "Pakistan is trying to club cases of other Indian national with Jadhav to build a case against him. The court order of the hearing also is about Jadhav and no mention of the Indian national-wise hearing in it. Could you throw some light on what is happening on the Jadhav case and who is the other Indian national in question here? How is Pakistan linking the two cases?"

Shri Anurag Srivastava, Official Spokesperson: Look Geeta, Pakistan is trying to link the case of Shri Kulbhushan Jadhav with another case. To give you a background, in a routine Consular practice, Mr. Shahnawaz Noon was selected to represent our High Commission to appear in this case for the release and repatriation of an Indian prisoner, by the name of Mr. Mohammad Ismail, who has completed his sentence but continues to be in jail in Pakistan. So, Mr. Shahnawaz Noon was selected to represent in the case of Mr. Mohammad Ismail. However, during proceedings of the case of Mr. Ismail, the Pakistan Attorney General raised the matter pertaining to Shri Jadhav, though these two cases are not interconnected in any way and Mr. Noon is reported to have made those statements about our Cd'A which are not true and they are in contravention to our stand in this case. It appears that he acted under pressure from the Pakistani establishment to make such statements for which he has no authorization. Mr. Noon has therefore misrepresented the position of our High Commission. He was clearly told by the High Commission that he had no authority to represent either the Government of India or Shri Kulbhushan Jadhav. And our Mission in Islamabad has written to Mr. Noon, reiterating that he has no authority to represent Mr. Jadhav and has no basis to suggest that the Indian Cd'A would appear in the court. As regards, our position on Shri Kulbhushan Jadhav, I have clarified this on several instances in the past, Pakistan has failed to respond on core issues pertaining to the case, including provision of all relevant documents, providing unimpeded, unhindered and unconditional consular access to Shri Jadhav which would form the basis for an effective review and reconsideration of the case as ordered by the ICJ.

Ms Garima Paul, US (DD): Next, Shailendra from News 18 asks - "kya Pakistan ne Bharat ke agle Cd'A ke taur par Suresh Kumar ko manjoori de di hai?" (Questioned in Hindi; Approximate translation) "Has Pakistan approved Suresh Kumar as India's next Cd'A?” Similar question has also been asked by Uma Shankar from NDTV India.

Shri Anurag Srivastava, Official Spokesperson: Dekhiye, jahan tak meri jankari hai, is niyukti ki prakriya abhi jari hai. " (Answered in Hindi; Approximate translation) "See, as far as I know, this appointment process is still in progress”.

Ms Garima Paul, US (DD): Sir, next, Ranjit Kumar from Rakshak News asks - "what is the status of negotiations planned with China on disengagement and de-escalation along the Ladakh border?" Srinjoy from Times Now asks - "are India and China working towards the next round of military level discussions? Are informal discussions underway?" Similar questions have also been asked by Madhurendra from News Nation, Pranay from ABP and Suhasini from The Hindu.

Shri Anurag Srivastava, Official Spokesperson: To respond to these questions, I will say as we have conveyed earlier, the two sides continue to maintain communication through diplomatic and military channels with the objective of ensuring complete disengagement in all friction points along the LAC in the western sector and for full restoration of peace and tranquility. Both sides have agreed to have another round of senior commanders meeting at an appropriate time, and as and when we have more information, we'll be happy to share it with you.

Ms Garima Paul, US (DD): Sir, next, Aditya Raj Kaul asks - "US-China Economic and Security Review Commission has told the US Congress that Beijing had planned the Galwan Valley violent clash in Eastern Ladakh and casualties as well. How does India react to this development?" Madhurendra from News Nation asks - "Ameriki report mein Galwan hinsa ko le kar jo tathya samne aaye hain usse Bharat kitna sehmat hai?" (Questioned in Hindi; Approximate translation) ”American report has come out with some facts on Galwan violence. How much does India agree with this?” Shailendra from News18 asks - "America ke ek ayog ki report mein kaha gaya hai ki Galwan hinsa ki yojna Cheen ki CCP ne ki thi, kya Bharat is report se sehmat hai?" (Questioned in Hindi; Approximate translation)” The report of one of America’s Commission says that the Galwan violence was planned by CCP, does India agree with this report?”

Shri Anurag Srivastava, Official Spokesperson: See, I would refer all of you to the press release that was put out by the Ministry after the conversation between EAM and State Counsellor and Foreign Minister of China, Mr. Wang Yi, on the 17th of June 2020, in the immediate aftermath of the violent face-off in the Galwan Valley on the 15th of June where 20 Indian soldiers laid down their lives while protecting India's sovereignty and territorial integrity. I would stress that the core issue remains that both sides need to strictly follow the various bilateral agreements and protocols in their entirety, including the 1993 and 1996 agreement on maintenance of peace and tranquility along the LAC in the border areas, which require that there should not be amassing of troops, each side should strictly abide by and respect the LAC and should not take any unilateral action to alter it.

Ms Garima Paul, US (DD): Sir, next, Sidhant from WION asks - "how many foreign envoys will go to Covid vaccine centre in India? They were expected to visit as an outcome of the November meeting with Foreign Secretary?" Shailendra from News18 asks - "MEA kitne envoys ko 9 November ko Hyderabad le kar ja raha hai, aur is visit me diplomats ko kya brief kiya jayega?" (Questioned in Hindi; Approximate translation)” For how many envoys MEA is organizing visit to Hyderabad on 9th November and what all will be briefed to them?” Madhurendra from News Nation asks - "UK mein approved hui Covid vaccine Bharat mein bhi logo ko mil sake, kya is sambandh mein Bharat aur UK ke beech koi baatcheet chal rahi hai?" (Questioned in Hindi; Approximate translation)” Is the Covid vaccine approved in UK accessible to people in India? are there any discussion going on between India and UK on this issue?

Shri Anurag Srivastava, Official Spokesperson: Sidhant and Shailendra, this visit is still being planned and we shall share the details with you once it is finalized. Madhurendra ji, aapke sawal ke liye main yeh kahunga ki vaccine ko le kar jo bhi developments hain, kis se kya baatcheet hai, kiske saath kya ho raha hai, kis stage par hai, iski vistrit jaankari aapko swasthya mantralaya se leni padegi. (Answered in Hindi; Approximate translation)” Madhurendra Ji, in reply to your question, I would like to say that whatever developments are taking place related to the vaccine, the talks, what is happening with whom, at what stage it is, all the detailed information can be obtained from the Ministry of Health”

Ms Garima Paul, US (DD): Sir, next, Aditya Raj Kaul asks - "there are reports that Indian and Russian Navies would be conducting Naval exercises shortly, can you share details?"

Shri Anurag Srivastava, Official Spokesperson: Yes, the ships of Indian Navy and the Russian Federation Navy will be conducting passage exercise or PASSEX. This exercise is tentatively scheduled on the 3rd and 4th of December and will be held in the Bay of Bengal. As you know, India and Russia are long-standing strategic partners and we share a special and privileged partnership. This proposed PASSEX will maintain the continuity of maritime operational engagement between the two sides and keeping in view the restrictions related to COVID-19, the PASSEX with the Russian Federation Navy will be conducted as a non-contact at Sea only event.

Ms Garima Paul, US (DD): Sir, next, Jommy Thomas from Malayala Manorama asks, is it possible to share some details of EAMs discussion in UAE regarding job issues of Indians there?

Shri Anurag Srivastava, Official Spokesperson: Jommy, you would have seen our press release on EAMs visit and the meetings he had in UAE last week. EAM called on the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi on the 25th of November. He also called on the Ruler of Dubai who is also the Prime Minister and Vice President of UAE, on the 29th of November and this was during his stopover in Dubai, on his way back from Seychelles. He held discussions with his counterpart, the Foreign Minister of UAE on the 26th of November and all these meetings showed the continued close friendship between our two countries. Now during the visit, a range of bilateral, regional and multilateral issues were discussed including issues related to the welfare of the Indian community and EAM thanked the UAE leadership for taking excellent care of the Indian community during the pandemic. The UAE leadership was also effusive in its praise for the Indian community and they assured EAM that as UAE returns to normalcy, they would give India's request due consideration. You would also be aware that an air bubble arrangement is already in place between India and UAE and both countries expressed their satisfaction that despite the COVID-19 restrictions and the resultant economic issues, a large number of Indians have been able to travel back to UAE.

Ms Garima Paul, US (DD): Sir, next, Sidhant from WION asks - "is Nepali FM expected to visit India?" Shankar from IVD asks - "when is Nepal Foreign Minister visiting India?" Similar question has also been asked by Nainima from The Print.

Shri Anurag Srivastava, Official Spokesperson: Foreign Secretary, during his visit to Nepal last week, had extended EAM’s invitation to the Foreign Minister of Nepal to visit India for the next meeting of the Joint Commission. The dates for this visit are still being worked out.

Ms Garima Paul, US (DD): Sir, next, Pranay from ABP asks - "haal hi mein Cheen ke raksha mantri General Wei Fenghe Nepal aur phir Pakistan ke daure par the. Unki Pakistan yatra ke dauran, dono desho ke beech PoK ke ilake se gujarne wali CPEC pariyojnayon par bhi baat hui jinko le kar Bharat virodh jatata raha hai. Saath hi Pak sarkaar ke mutabiq dono desho ke beech raksha sahyog badhane ke samjhote par bhi dastakhat hue hain. Kshetriye santulan aur dakshin asia mein shanti sthapna ki koshishon ke maddenazar aap pakistan aur chin ke beech sanya sajhedari ko kaise dekhte hai, isko lekar bharat ki taza chintaen kya hain? (Questioned in Hindi; Approximate translation) "Recently the Defence Minister of China General Wei Fenghe was on an official visit to Nepal and Pakistan. During his visit to Pakistan both the countries also discussed the CPEC projects passing through the PoK, which India has been opposing for long. Along with that, according to Pakistan Government, an agreement has also been signed for enhancing defence cooperation. In view of the regional balance and efforts to establish peace in South Asia, how does India view the military cooperation between Pakistan and China and what are India’s latest concerns?

Shri Anurag Srivastava, Official Spokesperson: Pranay, jahan tak CPEC pariyojnayon ka sawal hai maine is par pehle bhi bayan diya hai. Hamari sthiti jo hai, spasht aur susangat hai aur ye dono deshon ko gyat hai. CPEC pariyojna bharat ki samprabhuta aur kshetriya akhandata ka ulanghan karte hain. Aur hamne dono deshon ko apna virodh aur apni chintaye jatayi hain. Visit ko lekar main koi tipanni nahi karna chahunga kyun ki ye do deshon ke dwipakshiya mamlon se sambandhit hai, lekin rashtriya suraksha ka jahan tak mamla hai, main ye kahunga ki inse jude muddon par Sarkar lagatar nazar rakhti hain aur isko sunishchit karne ke liye bhi avashyak kadam uthaye jate hain. (Answered in Hindi; Approximate translation) Pranay, as far as issue of CPEC projects is concerned, I have given a statement in the past also. Our position is very clear and both the countries are aware of it. The CPEC projects are in violation of the India's sovereignty and territorial integrity. And we have already conveyed our concerns and reservations to both the countries. I would not like to make any comment over the visit because it is related to bilateral relations of two countries, but as far as the issues related to national security are concerned, the Government always keeps a watch and always takes necessary measures to safeguard its interests.

Ms Garima Paul, US (DD): Sir, next, Neeraj from News 18 asks ”chunav ayog ne agle sal hone wale paanch rajyon ke vidhan sabha chunavon ke liye NRI ko postal ballet ke jariye mat ka adhikar dene ka prastav diya hai. Kya Videsh Mantralay iske liye taiyar hai?” (Questioned in Hindi; Approximate translation)”For the forthcoming assembly elections in the five states next year, the Election Commission has proposed voting by Postal Ballot for the NRIs. Is the Ministry of External affairs geared up for this?”

Shri Anurag Srivastava, Official Spokesperson: Neeraj ji, chunav ayog ke jo aap prastav ki bat kar rahe hai, jab bhi isko lekar koi bhi nirnay hoga, main ye kahunga ki videsh mantralay is nirnay ko karyanvan karne ke liye puri tarah se taiyar hai. (Answered in Hindi; Approximate translation)” Neeraj Ji, regarding the Election Commission’s proposal, which you are talking about, I would like to say that whenever any decision is taken in this regard, MEA will be fully geared up to implement the decision taken.”

Ms Garima Paul, US (DD): Sir, next, Pranay from ABP asks " Vishwa vyapar sangathan ke krishi sambandhi samite ki bite dino hui baithak mein kuch viksit deshon ne bharat mein krishi subsidy aur kisan bima jaisi pariyojna ko lekar sawal uthaye the. Wo kaun se desh hai jo bharat mein krishi subsidy diye jane ko lekar antarrashtriya vyapar sangathan mein sawal uthaten rahen hai? Aur aise moukon par bharat ki taraf se kya jawab diya jata hai? Aur aise dabav se nipatne ke liye bharat kya kadam utha raha hai? (Questioned in Hindi; Approximate translation) In the meeting of the Agriculture Committee of the WTO, held few days back, few developed countries raised questions with regard to agriculture subsidy and farmer insurance schemes. Which are these countries who have been raising issues in WTO regarding the Agriculture subsidy being given by India to the farmers? And how India is replying to these questions? What steps India is taking to avoid this pressure?

Shri Anurag Srivastava, Official Spokesperson: Pranay, WTO se related jo mamla hai wo vanijya mantralay deal karta hai aur aap ko unko sampark karna parega. (Answered in Hindi; Approximate translation)” Pranay, the issues related to WTO are being handled by the Ministry of Commerce and you are advised to contact them.”

Ms Garima Paul, US (DD): Sir, next, Shailendra from New 18 asks " Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau ne kisan pradarshan par tipanni ki hai. Kya ye bharat ke andhruni mamlon mein dakhal hai? (Questioned in Hindi; Approximate translation)” The Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has commented on the ongoing farmer’s protest. Is this interference in India’s internal affairs?

Shri Anurag Srivastava, Official Spokesperson: Shailendra ji, Canada ke netaon ka kisano ke pradarshan se sambandhit tipanni ke bare mein jo bayan diya gaya hai, wo aapne dekha hoga aur us bayan mein kaha gaya hai ki is tarah ki tipanniya anuchit hai, khas kar jo vay ek loktantrik desh ke antrik mamlon se sambandhit hon. Behtar hai ki kutnitik batchit rajnitik udeshyon ke liye galat tarike se prastut nahi ki jaye. (Answered in Hindi; Approximate translation)” Shailendra Ji, you must have seen the statement issued regarding the remarks made by the Canadian leaders related to the ongoing farmer’s protests and in that statement we have said that such comments are unwarranted, especially when pertaining to the internal affairs of a democratic country. It is also best that diplomatic conversations are not misrepresented for political purposes.”

Ms Garima Paul, US (DD): Sir, next, Sandeep from the Tribune asks, during the EAM’s visit to Seychelles, what was the fate of the Assumption Agreement that has not been approved by Seychelles Parliament discussed? Is India considering environmental concerns that were raised by the current President when he was in the opposition?

Shri Anurag Srivastava, Official Spokesperson: Sandeep you would have seen the press release that we issued after the visit. EAM was on an official visit on the 27th and 28th of November and during his visit he called on his Excellency the President of Seychelles as well as he had discussions with his counterpart, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Tourism. As regards the discussions, all issues of mutual interest in our bilateral relations, including development partnership, capacity building, defense cooperation, people-to-people and cultural ties, trade, tourism, commerce as well as health related issues were discussed.

Ms Garima Paul, US (DD): Sir, Sandeep from the Tribune asks, what is MEA’s stand on reports of a 700 Megawatt Dam project on the river Jhelum in POK?

Shri Anurag Srivastava, Official Spokesperson: Sandeep, we have seen media reports about conclusion of agreements related to this project that you mentioned, i.e. the Azad Pattan hydropower project and you would have seen our reaction to such projects in the past. We have consistently conveyed a strong protest to Pakistan on its attempts to bring material changes in Indian territories under it's illegal and forcible occupation including by constructing hydropower projects like this project. Our Position is consistent and clear that the entire territory of the Indian Union Territories of J&K and Ladakh have been, are and will remain to be integral and inalienable parts of India.

Shri Anurag Srivastava, Official Spokesperson: Are there any further questions Garima?

Ms Garima Paul, US (DD): No Sir, I have no more.

Shri Anurag Srivastava, Official Spokesperson: Thank you. So this concludes the weekly briefing.
Write a Comment Write a Comment

Post A Comment

  • Name *
    E-mail *
  • Write Your Comment *
  • Verification Code * Verification Code