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Transcript of Weekly Media Briefing by the Official Spokesperson (August 27, 2021)

August 27, 2021

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: Very good afternoon to all of you. Good to see a large crowd here. I think our regular briefings are becoming more common. Thank you for joining us. I know today is not the regular day but yesterday we had some other engagements. Before we start, perhaps I'll just make an announcement to begin with and then we can move on to some of the questions I'm sure you have. I just wanted to inform you that Foreign Secretary Shri Harsh Vardhan Shringla, will be visiting the United States next week for multilateral as well as bilateral engagements. India currently holds the rotating presidency of the United Nations Security Council for the month of August. Foreign Secretary will be attending events relating to the wrap up session of our UNSC Presidency, including the UNSC open briefing on the Middle East. After his engagements in New York, he will visit Washington DC for bilateral consultations. Thank you. Having made that announcement, Okay, I see hands up already. Okay. Look, ground rules need not be restated, we'll try to take one question from each person. And then let's see if we have more time. So since you raised the hand first ma’am, go ahead

Vinita Pandey: Arindam we are meeting after a long time. My name is Vinita Pandey; I represent the Asian Age Deccan Chronicle. My question is about yesterday's deadly attack in Kabul, we see a resurgence of ISKP and possibly the other terror groups that were silent in the region because of the presence of US troops. Do you think that this resurgence is going to cause trouble for other countries in the region? And are you in touch with any of the partner countries since yesterday night’s development?

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: Look, I have a feeling there'll be, just a guess, a lot of questions on Afghanistan. So why don't I take a few more on this one. Okay, yes, please.

Maha Siddiqui: I’m Maha Siddiqui from CNN News18. Do we have a rough estimate of how many Indians are still in Afghanistan? Have the explosions yesterday affected our evacuation plans? And are we looking at…

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: One question ma’am.

Maha Siddiqui: It’s the same. Are we looking at 31st August as our deadline as well for evacuations?

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: Okay, sorry. Could you repeat the ones how many Indians, evacuation impact and which is the third question deadline?

Maha Siddiqui: Are we looking at 31st August as a deadline to evacuate?

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: Okay, anybody else? Yeah, please. I'll come back to you.

Sidhant: Hi, sir, Sidhant from Wion. My question is regarding evacuation. How many countries have we coordinated with for the complex evacuation challenge? Like we have been dealing with the Tajikistan with US and Iran, if you can shed some light on that as well.

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: Okay. And maybe one more question. Yes, ma'am.

Rekha: Rekha from the week magazine. My question is what is our evacuation policy? Who all are we getting? What I hear right now is basically Indians and Afghan Sikhs and Hindus. But beyond that, because there has been some kind of reportage about an MP having to return if you could clear the air on that. And I know it's a second question, but why Devi Shakti?

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: Third question.

Rekha:No, no, that was just a long question. Why Devi Shakti I mean, can you just give us a little idea on how this was named?

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: Okay, let me take this round of some of the questions. Let me begin with the evacuation because I know a lot of queries you may be having on that. Look, we have been sharing with you details of every evacuation flight. We've been putting out publicly details of who's on the flight, how many Indian nationals have been, I think we have evacuated more than 550 people. There were, I think, in six separate flights, either directly from Kabul, or through Dushanbe. Of these more than 260 were Indian nationals. Apart from and I mean, this does not include the Indian Embassy personnel, who were also been repatriated and brought out from Afghanistan. Separately Government of India also facilitated the evacuation of Indian Nationals through other agencies, I mean other countries and partners. So that just give you a sense of what the evacuation efforts have been. Of course, in this evacuation process, we were in touch with various countries, particularly, of course, the United States, which is controlling Kabul airport as you mentioned, in Dushanbe, the government there, plus military flights overflew certain countries, such as Iran. So of course, that kind of coordination also happened, I would say even Uzbekistan, Iran etc. So that would be some of the sense of it, what we have done so far.

There was a query, of course, how many Indians are, from Maha, how many left? Look, this is a number that changes. As we receive new information of people who contact us with the request to leave the country, there could be Indians there who may wish to continue to stay in the country, we may not know that, or as to be honest, as they find new, or other routes to other destinations, some of them have gone to other countries and we are aware of that. In fact, we have facilitated some of that, and we have been in touch with other friends for partners who have pulled them out. Our overall assessment is that the vast majority of Indians who wish to return have been evacuated. But of course, some more are likely to be in Afghanistan. I don't have an exact number for that. But we will keep you updated of further developments in this regard. I don't know about the deadline you mentioned about, to answer the question, are you talking about further flights? Look, you are aware of the very difficult situation on the ground right now. So we are in touch with various parties regarding when we can mount, you know, such evacuation flights. And of course, again, we will share with you more details as we go ahead. I think that answers both Sidhant’s question as well as yours.

Regarding the policy on evacuation, as has been said earlier, our primary focus and continues to be on Indian nationals. Okay, I think that was important. We had issued a number of advisories to Indians to leave. Nevertheless, some Indians remained there, even after our embassy personnel were brought back. In addition to that, we were able to bring out some Afghan nationals, as well as nationals from some other countries. Of these Afghan nationals, many of them were Sikh community and Hindus. But primarily, our focus has, as I said, we will continue with the focus there on Indian nationals naturally. But we will also stand by Afghans who stood by us as our minister has already said.

You mentioned about, I think, the nomenclature of Devi Shakti, I think that also came up in your question. Look, I don't know the specifics of that. Like all other operations of this type a name was suitably given to this and that was Devi Shakti.

I thought I had a query before I go to Miss Pandey’s thing about the MP who returned, right? that's the one you had asked about. Look, that was something that has come out, of course, in the media also. I would like to say that you look at the circumstances in what happened. There were reports right in the beginning I mean, from 15th, or so that once the security situation there deteriorated immediately after 15th August, there were reports of groups of people who had access, or who raided one of our outsourcing agency, where Afghan passports with Indian visas were there. So in the light of the loss of Afghan passports containing Indian visas, our authorities were in a state of high alert. You will also recall that we were moving to the e-emergency visa system. It appears that all this could have led to some confusion, which in turn led to the unfortunate incident of the denial of entry to a particular Afghan national that you mentioned. Of course, since then, many Afghan citizens have been evacuated to India. And an e-emergency visa window for Afghan nationals is now operational fully.

And then let me just move on to the issue of the attacks. Yeah, I'll come back to you ma’am just give me a second. I will come back to you. Regarding the resurgence of attacks, look, I won’t like to speculate as to what and who this is, we have issued a statement condemning this and conveying our condolences to the families of victims as well as those who injured. We are in touch with the various countries and partners. You've seen our conversations that have happened at the Prime Minister level, at the External Affairs Ministers level, our Foreign Secretary and other officials. So that, of course, you know, this is a matter of concern and that this kind of security situation happen there. And I think we will continue to be closely in touch with all our partners on this issue.

Yeah, sorry. Now go ahead please. You were saying which numbers. I gave the numbers how many Indians came out, 260 Indian nationals. Look the remaining are Afghan nationals and third country nationals. Okay. I don't know the exact number with me, they would be, I would say about 20 odd or 30 odd other country nationals. Look, we've been putting all this information in our social media as well as others so I would request you to have a look at that. And the remaining are Afghan nationals. And I don't have details of breakup between them.

Speaker 1: (inaudible)

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: Jeebilkul kaun se part kebaare mein, jee dekhie, hamare har flight ke saath jo social media main nikala hai us mein likha hua hai, kitane log aye the flight pe aur us mein se kitne bhartiyee nagrik hain. Hamara anuman yahi hai kareeb 550 se jyada total logon ko laaya gaya hai. Total jo hamare 6 flights the usmein, 550 mein se kareeb 260 ke upar bhartiyee nagrik hein. Baki iske alava hamare embassy ke jo log kam karte the Kabul mein, unko bhi laaya gaya aur uske alava Afghan Nationals jo the aur third country main bhee kuchh log the. To, sab milaake kareeb 550 aae aur usamein se 260 ye the, Embassy personnel the, aur baki Afghan aur doosre deshon se aae hue. Hum sara information hamari, jaisa kaha, social media mein ham dete aa rhe hein. Haan evacuation ke liye jaisa maine kaha, evacuation ke liye hum United states se to bilkul unke saath close coordination, unke saath raha, wo airport ki poori security wahan maintain kar rahe hein abhi bhi aur baaki deshon mein, Tajikistan ke saath Dushanbe airport se hamne use kiya. Aur kuch countries ke saath overflight aur baki coordination karni padi. Jaise Iran bhi hai ya Uzbekistan to isse hamen bahut faayda hua hai aur hum ye 6 flight mein kafi logon ko la payehein. (Answered in Hindi; Approximate translation) Yes, about which part, see it is mentioned in the social media that how many people came in the flight and how many of them are Indian citizens. Our estimate is that more than a total of 550 people have been brought. In total we had 6 flights, out of 550 there are over 260 Indian nationals. Apart from this, the people of our country who used to work in our Embassy in Kabul were also brought and apart from those some Afghan nationals and few from third countries. So, in all, about 550 came, and 260 of them were Indian nationals, and the rest were Afghans and from other countries. We have been giving all the information as we said in social media. Yes for evacuation as I said, we stayed in close coordination with the United States. They are maintaining complete security at the airport. We are in contact with the many other countries like Tajikistan as we used the Dushanbe airport. And with few other countries also like Iran and Uzbekistan we had to coordinate for overflight. And due to all these we could evacuate so many people.”

Sorry next round of questions perhaps okay, one, yeah please.

Brahm Prakash:Sir main Brahm Prakash hoon Zee-news se. Mera sawal yeh hai, Jis tarah se kal Kabul mein dhamaake hue, uskebaad Islamic State ne jimmewari li dhamaakonki. Iske baad ek naya khatra bharat ki seema par bhi utpann ho gaya hai. To usko lekar strategic ranneeti lihaaj se bharat kis tarah se kam kar raha hai? kya UN ke manch par ya tamaam mitr deshon ke saath kis tarah se aage badhega. Aap jaankarin de sakte hain? (Questioned in Hindi; Approximate translation) Sir, I am Brahm Prakash from Z-News. My question is this, the way the blasts took place in Kabul yesterday, after that the Islamic State took the responsibility of the blasts, after this a new threat has arisen on the border of India as well. So what strategic planning is doing about that? Will India proceed on the UN platform or with all other friendly countries? Can you update?

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson:Sorry, maybe he first and then you.

Huma Siddiqui:Sir, my name is Huma Siddiqui and I’m from the Financial Express. I just wanted to know these Indians and Afghan nationals who have been evacuated from there. So the Afghan National specifically, what status will they get are the refugees…

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: Indians or the Afghan nationals.

Huma Siddiqui:The Afghan nationals. So what kind of status are they under? They are refugees? And if they are refugees, where are they going to stay for a longer term? Or it's just a temporary thing and they'll move on?

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: Both of you perhaps.

Sandeep Dixit: I'm Sandeep Dikshit, with the Tribune. Wanted to know if India has a policy on the Taliban, whether it has recognised or will plans to recognise Taliban, and like other countries, which have put several caveats, is it conditional thinking about recognition of the Taliban?

Kalol: Yeah, this is Kalol from the Hindu. My question is something that Huma also asked that you know, what's exactly the policy regarding the Afghans who have come? Are you going to keep them here on long term visa? Or will they have the refugee status because these two things are quite different from each other.

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: Anyone else on this topic or related to this specific? No, I'll come back to you. I’m saying specifically on these ones. Not repeat questions on this. If not, then let me just answer this. Then I'll come back next for this one. Okay, please.

Sanjeev Trivedi:Mera naam Sanjeev Triwedi hai. Mein News 24 TV Channel se hoon. Ye suna jaata raha hai ki jahan tak Taliban ka sawal hai uske saath kaise engagement honi chaahiye, is prashn ke saath-saath ye bhee kaha jaata hai ki back-channel negotiations Taliban ke saath hoti rahi hai. Aapse chaahoonga ki sthiti spasht Karen. Kya kisi tarah ka back-channel negotiations Taliban ke saath ham logon ka hua hai? Ya ham log kis tarah se Taliban se engage karne wale hain. (Questioned in Hindi; Approximate translation) My name is Sanjeev Trivedi. I am from News 24 TV Channel. It has been heard that as far as the Taliban is concerned, how should be the engagement with it? Along with this question it is also said that back-channel negotiations are taking place with Taliban. I would like you to clarify the position whether any kind of back-channel negotiations has taken place with Taliban? Or how we are going to engage with Taliban.”

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: See a couple of questions have been regarding recognition of Taliban. I don't know what that means, I presume you mean the government in Afghanistan. Look, let me reiterate again, the situation on the ground is uncertain as all of you know. The primary concern or prime concern currently is the security and safety of the people. Currently, there is a lack of clarity or no clarity about any entity, forming a government in Kabul. So I think we are jumping the gun here regarding recognition. We of course continue to monitor the situation very carefully. This is an evolving situation, and, I think for the moment that's all I have to say about this element. As regards the issue of engaging back channels, Back channel ki baat kar rahe the. Dekhiye, I think we have said this, pehle bhi har stakeholder ke saath, sabke saath hamare contact rah chuke hein. Ham baat kar rahe the. Current situation abhi evolving hai, kaafi fluid hum kah rahe hain. Aur isliye ab bhi we remain in touch with our partner countries. We are monitoring the situation. Isse jyadaa ab mere paas aur iss topic par kuch kehne ke liye nahin hai, kyonki jaisa meine kaha abhi wahan Government ka bhi element abhi clear nahin hai. (Answered in Hindi; Approximate translation) We were talking about back-channel. See, we have already said this, earlier also we had maintained contacts with all the stake holders. The current situation is very evolving and fluid and therefore we remain in touch with our partner countries. We are monitoring the situation. I do not have anything more to speak on this topic as I have already said that even the element of Government is not yet clear over there.

Kalol you mentioned about policy regarding Afghanistan. same issue, I think about recognition. No on the refugee sorry. Regarding the issue of Afghans who are coming here, as you've seen the Home Ministry, as you know, the visas and immigration issues our Home Ministry’s, you've seen an announcement, the e-emergency visas. These are six month visas. And so they are coming here currently under the six-month visa regime. And we will take it from there. See at the end what happens there, immediately that's the current plan of six months. As I said this is an evolving situation I think making long term plans is not been the best of ideas considering the changes last few days.

Aapne rananeeti kee baat ki, dekhiye terrorism ke maamle mein to aap jaante hain ki hamare kya vichaar hain. Ham kah chuke hein bahut baar, hamare jo partner deshon ke saath ham jute hue hain. Humne is maheene United Nations Security Council mein bhi is mudde par, hamari Presidency hai august ke mahine ke liye, 16 taareekh ko vahaan pe Afghanistan pe charcha hui. To ham is vishay par isi tarah se jaari rakhenge ki terrorism aur is tarah ke jo khatre paida ho sakte hain, uspe hum kaise poore vishv mein ekjut hoke is mein hum kuchh iske khilaf kaaryavaahee kar saken. Par Afghanistan mein jo ho raha hai alag se uske specific us issue par main kuchh kah nahin paoonga. Is kal ke attacks ke bare mein kyonki abhee to ismen kya exactly kaise hua, aur kuchh logon ne claim bhi kiya hai, I think Islamic State ne claim kiya hai. Par abhi aaj ek hee din hua hai aur ham dekh rahe hai kya situation ban raha hai. (Answered in Hindi; Approximate Translation) You talked about strategy, yes, you already know our view on terrorism. We've said that many times. We are engaged with our partner countries. We will also discuss this month in the United Nations Security Council on this issue as we are having the Presidency for the month of August. On the 16th there was a discussion on Afghanistan. So we will continue on this topic in such a way that how can we unite all over the world on terrorism and the dangers that can arise, so that we can take some action against it. But I will not be able to say anything on the specific issue of what is happening in Afghanistan separately. About this yesterday's attacks because what exactly happened is not clear, and some people have also claimed, I think Islamic State has also claimed. Only one day has passed and we are monitoring the situation.

Did I miss anybody in this round or otherwise I will open our next round. Okay, please. Right from there.

Speaker 2: Sir, Times Now. Have we reached out to our friends in the OIC about the statement that they have made, which appears to be very sort of watered down and not possibly critical enough of the Taliban.

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: Next please. Go ahead.

Basant: Sir I’m Basant from Matrabhumi. Sir there have been reports regarding IS widows held in Afghan jails. And there were reports that they have been released by Taliban. Does the MEA or Indian government have any information regarding that?

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: Okay. Please. One ma’am, let’s finish with that.

Prashanth: Sir I’m Prashanth from Asianet. There were reports that 20 Indians were not able to come to the airport yesterday because the Taliban didn't allow them to come to the airport. Is there any update on that? It was informed in the all party meeting.

Shri ArindamBagchi, Official Spokesperson: Oh, you were there. Okay.

Prashanth: No, I have heard it.

Shri ArindamBagchi, Official Spokesperson: Okay.

Ranjeet Kumar: I’m Ranjeet Kumar you know, Dr. Abdullah Abdullah and Hamid Karzai are reported to be under house arrest. Are you in touch with them?

Shri ArindamBagchi, Official Spokesperson: Okay, and maybe the last one, ma'am. Yeah.

Ranjana: I’m Ranjana from UNI. There was a report that there were 140 Afghan Sikhs and Hindus who are trying to come back but they were not allowed. But they said they were going to come to attend the 400th celebration of Guru Tegh Bahadur. So was it a part of the evacuation? Or were they just seeking to attend the celebration and go back? It is very unclear. And the number has now gone up to 160 because I was following the Manjinder Singh Sirsa tweets he said, now that one and then the Gurdwara in Kabul, so how many are there? And are they all seeking to come back?

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: Sorry, how many are there who?

Ranjana: How many of these Afghan Sikhs and Hindus are there in the Gurdwara in Kabul? And are they all seeking to come here? And what is this information about the 140 Sikhs and Hindus. Are they coming just to attend the celebration or for evacuation? Thanks.

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: Okay. Let me start actually, with your question. Look, I don't know exactly how to answer what they were coming from. I'm not gonna comment on media reports. All I could say is that, yes, you know, the last flight that was coming, had only about 140 odd people, we were able to operate six flights. But this last flight, we were hearing reports that Afghan nationals were facing difficulties in reaching the airport. We know that some Afghan nationals, including number of Afghan Sikhs, could not reach the airport for the evacuation flight on August 25. I won’t like to put a number on it, because I myself wouldn’t know. But I've seen some reports, that was the numbers, some Indians I would say around 20. But again, I don't have a number. We're also trying to reach and as you've seen the kind of chaos at the airport they could not reach. And so our flight had to come without these Indian nationals. And it could have brought some Afghan nationals, Afghan Sikhs through that. Regarding are they in house arrest, are we in touch with them? I don't have any information. I must confess on that. I answered the question regarding the 20 Indians, I think that Mr. Prashant asked also.

On the IS, Islamic state widows, I understand. Look, I don't have any update I must say. Nothing immediately. And regarding the OIC, I'm not sure how to characterise your comment on that. We are, of course in touch with a large number of countries partners. But I'm not sure whether that this specific element of their statement, or anything that we have commented on, we are in touch with them about this evolving situation in Afghanistan. And we are monitoring developments, which have been quite fast paced over the last couple of weeks. Sorry, any further, You please.

Shailesh: Sir I'm Shailesh from National Defence. Russia and China are for inclusive government in Afghanistan. Where does India stand? And given the fear of growing terrorism in Afghanistan, and the spill over effect to India, can you please confirm or deny would there be any Indian military boots on Afghanistan soil anytime in future? Or maybe air support?

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: Air Support?

Shailesh:Yeah.

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: Okay. Anybody else left who wants to ask on this? Yeah, go ahead.

Speaker 3: Sir, I'm from Sputnik International. My question is about Indo-Pacific commander, Mark Aquilino visit to India where he met the EAM, now General Bipin Rawat is saying that you know that it could be helpful if court could supply more intelligence Intel inputs on Afghanistan. So was any such thing discussed in the meeting between the visiting US commander and the EAM?

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: Anyone else I have missed out on Afghanistan before we move ahead.

Jai Prakash:Sir, mein Jai Prakash hoon Dainik Jagran se, Aap ne bataya ki Bharat kai mitr raashtron ke saath batcheet kar raha hai Afghanistan aur Taliban ko lekar, exactly hum kya baat kar rahe hain Sir? (Questioned in Hindi;Approximate Translation) Sir, I am Jai Prakash from Dainik Jagran, you mentioned that India is in talks with many friendly nations. Exactly what are we talking about Afghanistan and Taliban, Sir?”

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: Let me start with broadly our position in Afghanistan I think we have repeated a lot of times, of course the situation on the ground has evolved a lot in you know, since we last met for example, a couple of weeks ago. I would not like to comment on what other people are saying. We have been seeking a peaceful, prosperous, democratic Afghanistan. We understand that there have been changes in the ground. We are currently monitoring it very closely. I think the current focus is on the security situation on Afghanistan, you know, evacuations and seeing how it unfolds. I think most other countries are also in that frame of I would say, to some extent, wait and watch. I think they are considering the changes on the ground and while there is some greater clarity and stability that emerges in Afghanistan, I think that is what I would say is our focus.

Aapka jo prashn jo tha mitr raashtron se hum issi baat pe baat kar rahe hain, kis tarah se wahan haalat improve karein aur hum log wahaan pe shanti dekh paein, Wahaan pe thodi stability aaye aur evacuation kaise normal tarah se ho pae. Aur aage ka ham phir dekhte hain uske baad. (Answered in Hindi; Approximate Translation) The question you asked related to friendly countries, we are talking to our Allies on this matter so as to improve the situation there and we want to see peace there, there should be some stability and how can the evacuation be done normally. And next we will see again after that.

Regarding the issue of Indian boots, air support, I really don't have any comment. I'm not even sure these are that relevant in today's context. But I'm no expert on that. I haven't heard anything on it, nor has this issue come up.

As regards the visit in Indo-Pacific and CDS look, I'm not going to comment on what the CDS said, etc. We, as I said Indo-Pacific Quad, has been an important element of our outreach. And this is a group of likeminded countries that have been together. I would not like to share more about what the conversation has been. I think that's beyond the domain of this you know, ministry in particular, in terms of what exactly CDS would have said or what was discussed with EAM, I think you have already seen something that has been put out in public domain, and I would leave it at that. Yeah, please.

Rishikesh: Sir Rishikesh from Sputnik News. So yesterday, as CIA, there is official statement from the American side that CIA's sharing intelligence with the Taliban. So are we also sharing some intelligence with Taliban considering our…

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: I'm sorry. I just didn’t get your question. Could you repeat it again; we are sharing intelligence with Taliban considering our threat perception in Jammu Kashmir?

Rishikesh:In Afghanistan or in Jammu Kashmir.

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: Okay. Any other questioning on Afghanistan? Okay, yes. Okay, ma'am. If you insist, I don't know what, you have three questions last time, but I'm happy to take one more. Okay, tell me.

Rekha Dixit: Yeah, Rekha Dixit from the Week. There are a lot of Afghan nationals right now in India on medical visas or whatever. student visas and all and some of them, you know, seeing a visa is expiring and all what would be our policy on those people currently here. And if you have any number on the number of Afghan citizens living in India, I mean before the evacuations happened, that would be helpful.

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: Any other questions on Afghanistan? Oh, you've just done one. You also did one. Let me do one thing. I think in the interest of fairness, let me ask anybody, anybody has any other questions rather than Afghanistan and I can try to take this last round of questions on Afghanistan? Students if not then I will give you the floor. And then we will wrap up I think on that. Okay, please.

Speaker 4: Sir Prime Minister Modi and the Russian President spoke, we have announced a permanent channel as well, if you can give us little details about this permanent channel, who on the Russian side and who from the Indian side will be leading this channel? And the frequency of the meeting of the channel any details about the channel?

Speaker 4: You said that there is no clarity about which group is going to form the next government in Afghanistan. That's quite a statement, you know, given the fact that...

Shri ArindamBagchi, Official Spokesperson: I think you're misquoting me. I have the text here. I will repeat what I said.

Speaker 5: Alright, fine.

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: But currently, there is no clarity about any entity forming a government in.

Speaker 6: All right. But isn't that quite clear which entity is going to form the government? Or is there…

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: No, let me answer your question. Anybody else on this? If not, we will close it here. Look, I think there has been a lot of stories going around who would be represented in that government, whether that government will be inclusive as one of the questions came up, or whether other elements of Afghan polity will find representation in the government. So that's why I wouldn't like to speculate on the exact there was a peace process to talk about. There are discussions I understand going on, even now. So I think let's wait and see how it develops. And that's the reason why we said this. We are aware of the ground situation. I don't mean to say something different on that.

Regarding the permanent channel, look, that was the wording that came up in I think the Russian readout of that press release, you would have seen the one which came out from our side. If I could just mention, I think that came up in the conversation, the desire to have more regular consultations on Afghanistan on a regular basis. I think the Russian call it a permanent channel, I don't know. We are looking at it as a regular modalities of consultations on Afghanistan. And in fact shows the kind of meeting of minds with Russia on this issue. And I think the details of it are yet to be worked out. But we see it as a positive step in which we can engage and consult with Russia on this important topic. And on your question, no, I have no information on that at all. Did I miss anybody's question? For people who are here, I think discussions are still going on on this. As you know, India has always been a place where people have come and, you know, in times of distress, people have come here before this problem started. We are aware of it. And I think discussions are going on to see what can be the modalities. For people who are coming in now on the e-visa, as I told you it's six months. So let's see what we do for people who are already here. Of course, this is also a matter for the Home Affairs. So I wouldn't like to comment on that and close that discussion right now. But we'll keep you updatedonce I have something on that. Same thing Afghan nationals here in whatever capacity they are, and their visas are expiring I think we'll have to see what to do. Numbers. No, I don't think we I mean, immigration is not a topic. I've said lots of things, but let me not say that. You haven't asked, okay.

Shahid Ibbas: This is Shahid Ibbas from the Informist Media. It was formerly Cogencis. So yesterday in the all party meeting, it was observed that the blast has been assessed as a breach of Doha pact. Now, since Taliban has not taken responsibility, it is some other organisation which has taken responsibility. So how can you see this as a breach of Doha pact?

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: I can answer this in various levels. I'm trying to figure out how best to respond. Look, you're not in the All party meeting, so you heard somebody, which I don't think is an accurate representation of what happened there as politely as I can put it. I don't think the word breach of Doha came up anywhere, I was there at that meeting. So I leave it at that. So, I don't have any response to the subsequent levels of it. I don't think this was said by anybody there. At least I'm not aware of it. Okay, I think we have to stop here. Thank you very much. Appreciate. Good evening.

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