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Transcript of Virtual Weekly Media Briefing by the Official Spokesperson (February 12, 2021)

February 13, 2021

Shri Anurag Srivastava, Official Spokesperson: Friends, Namaskar and Good evening. Welcome to this weekly briefing in the virtual format. I don't have an announcement to start with. We'll move directly to your questions. Yatin could you please take over.

Shri Yatin Patel, OSD (PR): First set of question is on vaccine cooperation. Suhasini from The Hindu has asked, "Of the vaccine supplies India is sending out, how many are gifts? How many are GAVI grants? And how many are commercial exports?” Ashok Sharma from AP has a question, "Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau has sought Prime Minister Modi's help to get AstraZeneca vaccines for Canada via Serum Institute of India. Has the Indian government allowed the Serum Institute to export to Canada? Also, please confirm whether Bharat Biotech has been given permission to export to Brazil, UAE and any other country?” Huma from Financial Express is asking, "Has there been any request from countries like Iran, Iraq, Libya, Syria for the vaccines? Can you please share which countries are buying vaccines from India? Is there a list?” Siddhant from WION is asking, "Any update on India's vaccine outreach? How many countries will be getting it? Please indicate quantity also? How much vaccines Canada has requested for?”

Shri Anurag Srivastava, Official Spokesperson: Let me give you an update of our "Vaccine Maitri” initiative. As of date we've supplied a total of the 229.7 lakh doses to the global community. Of these, 64.7 lakh doses have been supplied as grant, while 165 lakh doses have been supplied on a commercial basis. I see a lot of interest in the list of countries and breakup of how many doses have been received by which country. The following countries have received supplies as gifts. Bangladesh - 20 lakhs, Myanmar - 17 lakhs, Nepal - 10 lakhs, Bhutan - 1.5 lakhs, Maldives - 1 lakh, Mauritius - 1 lakh, Seychelles - 50,000, Sri Lanka - 5 lakhs, Bahrain - 1 lakh, Oman - 1 lakh, Afghanistan - 5 lakhs, Barbados - 1 lakh and Dominica - 70,000. Of the countries which have received vaccines on a commercial basis, Brazil - 20 lakhs, Morocco - 60 lakhs, Bangladesh - 50 lakhs, Myanmar - 20 lakhs, Egypt - 50,000, Algeria - 50,000, South Africa - 10 lakhs, Kuwait - 2 lakhs& UAE - 2 lakhs. This information is now available on our website. It will be constantly updated. I would ask you to go and look there. There is also a question on which countries are likely to be supplied? what are the quantities? To which I'll say that we will continue to take forward our global vaccine supply initiative and will cover more countries in a phased manner. In the coming weeks, we expect to supply to more countries in Africa, Latin America, CARICOM and the Pacific Island States. Ashok Sharma of AP and Siddhant have a question on a specific country. What I'll say is that decisions on these supplies will of course be calibrated as per domestic production and the requirements of the national vaccination program, which as you know is the largest vaccination drive in the world.

Shri Yatin Patel, OSD (PR): Sir, next set of question is on Line of Actual Control. Maha from CNN News 18 has asked, "If India patrol Finger 1 to 8 traditionally at Pangong Lake, why has India agreed to make 3 to 8 buffer zone? Is there any timeline fix for the disengagement?” Suhasini from The Hindu is asking, "Has PM Modi spoken to Chinese President Xi Jinping since the LAC standoff in April 2020 and more recently during the negotiations for disengagement. Are there any plans to?” Shankar from India vs Disinformation is asking, "How India sees China's readiness to disengage from Pangong Lake? Will India's business with China be usual after the move of Chinese PLA troops? Will India ask China for disengagement from Doklam, and other friction points as well?” Naveen Kapoor from ANI is asking, "Did we cede any territory to China? Why did we move from Finger 4 to Finger 3? Can you please give factual position?” Shrinjoy from Times Now has asked, "The process of disengagement is on in Pangong, how much of it is complete? When is the Tenth Round of Commander Level talks likely to be? Is there a WMCC planned?” Shailendra from News 18 has asked, "Cheen ko Lekar Rahul Gandhi ne sawal uthae ki Bharat mein Cheen ko jameen de di hai. Factual position kya hai? Baki illake jaise Depsang, Gogra ke bare mein cheen se batchit kab hogi?” (Questioned in Hindi; Approximate translation) Regarding China, Rahul Gandhi has raised questions that India has given land to China. What is the factual position? When will talks with China take place on other areas like Depsang and Gogra. Nainima from The Print is asking, "What led to the disengagement process between India and China and will there be more talks held at diplomatic level?” Pranoy from ABP is asking, "Cheen ke saath hue disengagement samajhaute mein ek shart takaraav ke morchon par tatkaalik taur par saamanya patrolling na karane kee bhee hai. Saal 2014 mein isee tarah kee sahmati chumaar ke ilaake mein bhee gatirodh todane ke liye banee thee aur dedh saal tak patrolling nahin kee gaee thee magar patrolling shuroo hone ke baad ab bhee chumaar mein kaee baar aamane-saamane tanaav kee sthiti aatee hai. Aise mein patroling ko lambit rakhane ka phaisala kyon liya gaya?” (Questioned in Hindi; Approximate translation) In the disengagement agreement with China there is a condition to stop patrolling on conflict fronts. In 2014, a similar agreement was reached to break the deadlock in Chumar area and patrolling was stopped for a year and a half, but after the start of patrolling, there is still a lot of face-to-face tension in Chumar. In such a situation, why was it decided to stop patrolling?

Shri Anurag Srivastava, Official Spokesperson: What I will say is you would have seen RM statement in Parliament yesterday on the agreement reached on disengagement in the North and South Bank of Pangong Lake. This agreement was reached after several rounds of sustained negotiations at the military and diplomatic level.Now, to your questions on the details and specifics of the agreement reached, next steps etc. I think they have been very clearly spelled out in RM statement, which is self-explanatory. Shrinjoy to respond to your question. I will say that the two sides have also agreed as you will see in the statement to convene the Tenth Round of Senior Commanders Meeting within 48 hours after complete disengagement in the Pangong Lake area. To address the remaining issues, no date has been set so far for the WMCC. Naveen, Maha and Shailendra, you would have also seen the subsequent statement from MOD issued a short while ago setting the record straight and countering instances of wrongly understood information. I would ask you to look at that. I believe that would answer your question. Suhasini, as I had said earlier, normally after telephone calls of PM with world leaders, we issue a press release, so you'll get to hear.

Shri Yatin Patel, OSD (PR): Siddhant from the WION is asking, "Have the sailors from MV Anastasia reached?” Shailendra from News 18 is also asking, "MV Anastasia par phanse log kab tak Bharat lautenge?” (Questioned in Hindi; Approximate translation) When will the people stranded on MV Anastasia return to India?

Shri Anurag Srivastava, Official Spokesperson: The information that I have is that MV Anastasia has sailed out of Caofeidian Port for Japan to effect crew change and the crew is expected to reach India on the 14th of February and you would know that the Ministry and our Mission have been continuously following up on the issue of our stranded Sailors aboard this ship with the Chinese authorities.

Shri Yatin Patel, OSD (PR): Shrinjoy from Times Now is asking, "While the Anastasia problem has been sorted out, two more ships with Indian Sailors are outside ports in China. It is the similar situation. Is the MEA looking into it?”

Shri Anurag Srivastava, Official Spokesperson: Shrinjoy, I'm not aware of what you mentioned. I'll need to check on that. Needless to say that our Missions and Posts, whenever there is such a situation, render all possible assistance.

Shri Yatin Patel, OSD (PR): Maha from CNN News 18 is asking, "In the phone call with Justin Trudeau, what was the response from Prime Minister on the subject of farmers protest when it was raised?” Narendra from Navbharat Times is asking, "Kya Canada Prime Minister ke saath baat cheet mein kisana andolan par bhi charcha uthi thi?” (Questioned in Hindi; Approximate translation) Was the farmers protest also discussed during the conversation with the Canadian Prime Minister?” Siddhant from WION is asking, "Canadian readout mentioned farmer protest. Is there any response from Indian side?”

Shri Anurag Srivastava, Official Spokesperson: You would have seen the readouts issued by both sides. What I'll add is that on the farmers protest Prime Minister Trudeau commended efforts of the Government of India to choose the path of dialogue as befitting a democracy. He also acknowledged the responsibility of his government in providing protection to Indian diplomatic personnel and premises in Canada.

Shri Yatin Patel, OSD (PR): Nainima from The Print is asking, "The White House statement yesterday on Myanmar mentioned Prime Minister Modi as far as US allies are concerned, Does India support the sanctions? what will be our way forward with Nay Pyi Taw” Pranoy from ABP News is asking, "America sarakaar ne Myanmar ke khilaaf pratibandh lagaane ka ailaan kiya hai. America ke taraph se lagae gae in pratibandhon ka Myanmar mein chalr ahee Bhaarat kee vikaas pariyojanaon par kya koi asarhoga? Kya Videsh Mantri Dr.S.Jaishankar ne ameriki Videsh Sachiv Antony Blinken ke saath apane phone call mein in chintaon ko uthaaya tha?” (Questioned in Hindi; Approximate translation)The US government has announced sanctions against Myanmar. Will these sanctions imposed by the US have any impact on India's development projects in Myanmar? Did External Affairs Minister Dr. S. Jaishankar raise these concerns in his phone call with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken?

Shri Anurag Srivastava, Official Spokesperson: The recent developments in Myanmar were discussed during the telephone conversation between PM and President Biden on the 8th of February and between EAM and his counterpart Secretary of State Blinken on the 9th of February. The two countries have agreed to remain engagedin contact and exchange assessments on the situation. Now as regards your question on our positionon the developments, you know that we've already stated our position very clearly in the statement of the 1st of February. We believe that the rule of law and the democratic process must be upheld as immediate neighbors with close cultural and people-to-people ties as well as relations, which are strengthened with exchanges in the areas of trade, economy, security and defense. We are closely monitoring developments in that country and we will remain engaged with all concerned in this issue.

Shri Yatin Patel, OSD (PR): Gautam Lahiri is asking, "Myanmar Army government has written to many governments to convey reason for sacking civilian government. Whether India received any such letter? What’s the view of India on such letter?”

Shri Anurag Srivastava, Official Spokesperson: Gautam what I can say is yes, we have received the letter and I believe such a letter has also been sent to other governments.

Shri Yatin Patel, OSD (PR): Narendra from Navbharat Times is asking, "Pakistan ne jo Bharat ke saath shanti ki pahal ka rukh dikhaya, uss par Bharat ka kya kehna hai?” (Questioned in Hindi; Approximate translation) What does India has to say about Pakistan’s peace initiative with India? Sidhant from WION is asking, "After Pakistan Army Chief, Pakistan Prime Minister's Special Advisor on National Security said Pakistan wants peace in all direction. Has there been an attempt by Islamabad to reach out via formal channel?” Similar question from Shailendra from News 18.

Shri Anurag Srivastava, Official Spokesperson: Well our position on this is well known, I had articulated it recently. Let me leave it at that.

Shri Yatin Patel, OSD (PR): Shankar from India versus Disinformation is asking, "Is there any plan to hold Summit level meeting of QUAD during Prime Minister Modi's recent telephone conversation with US President Joe Biden? Did the issue related to the QUAD come up for discussion? "Sandeep from Tribune is asking, "There have been several conversations by Prime Minister Modi and EAM Jaishankar with world leaders, where QUAD was mentioned prominently. Is India agreeable to a QUAD summit?” Similar questions from Siddhant from WION and Deriya from Sputnik.

Shri Anurag Srivastava, Official Spokesperson: What I can share with you on this is that we value the ongoing engagement under the QUAD framework which includes consultation at the senior official and ministerial levels. We look forward to continued engagement under this framework. I have no further details at this point of time.

Shri Yatin Patel, OSD (PR): Parul from Straight News has question, "Are reports that Sri Lanka has offered to India the West Container Terminal for development instead of the scrapped East Container Terminal deal? Will India be willing to take up the West Container Terminal project?” Padma Rao is asking, "Has the Sri Lankan government made a formal offer of the West Container Terminal at Colombo port in lieu of the cancelled MOU with India and Japan which it had signed in 2019? and if so, has the offer been accepted?” Nainima from The Print is asking, "Has India agreed to Sri Lanka’s proposal to develop the West Container Terminal?”

Shri Anurag Srivastava, Official Spokesperson: Firstly, I would not like to comment on the specific reports that you mentioned. What I can tell you generally is that we have conveyed an interest in participation in the Colombo port. Our interest is a long-standing one and this is because of the fact that most goods handled there are from and to India. We had in principle agreement from the Sri Lankan Government in this regard. The current government has however expressed a preference in engaging investors directly and I understand discussions are going on in this regard.

Shri Yatin Patel, OSD (PR): Huma from Financial Express has asked, "Did the US sanctions imposed on Iran, Russia and Venezuela feature in talks between External Affairs Minister with his US counterpart?”

Shri Anurag Srivastava, Official Spokesperson: Huma I think you are referring to the telephone conversation of the 9th of February. You would have seen the readouts from both sides. You know that we share a Comprehensive Global StrategicPartnership with the US and under this partnership all issues of mutual interest, regional and global issues, are discussed and some of these issues find mention in the readouts from both sides.

Shri Yatin Patel, OSD (PR): Pranoy from ABP News is asking, "Mumbai aatankee hamale mein shamil David Headley aur Tahawwur Hussain Rana ke pratyarpan par kya America mein aae Biden prashaasan ke saath koi naya sampark kiya gaya hai? Iss pratyarpan request par taaja sthiti kya hai?” (Questioned in Hindi; Approximate translation)” Has any new contact been made with the Biden administration in the US regardingextradition of David Headley and Tahawwur Hussain Rana, involved in the Mumbai terror attack? What is the latest update on this extradition request?

Shri Anurag Srivastava, Official Spokesperson: Pranoy, Tahawwur Rana ke pratyarpan ko lekar hum sthiti ko lagaataar monitor kar rahe hain. Ham is par geharee najar rakhe hue hain aur unake jald se jald pratyarpan ke liye hamaaree pooree koshish hai. Philahaal jaanakaaree yeh hai ki unakee jo court hearing hai pratyarpan ko lekar voh is saal 22 april ko shuroo hogee. (Answered in Hindi; Approximate translation)” We are constantly monitoring the situation regarding the extradition of Tahawwur Rana. We are keeping a close watch on this and we are doing our best to get him extradited as soon as possible. As of now, it is known that the court hearing on extraditionwill begin on 22 April this year.

Shri Yatin Patel, OSD (PR): We have no further questions Sir.

Shri Anurag Srivastava, Official Spokesperson: Thank you. So this concludes the Weekly Briefing.

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