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Transcript of Weekly Media Briefing by the Official Spokesperson (October 07, 2021)

October 08, 2021

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: Okay, let me extend a very good afternoon or good evening to all of you. Wonderful to see you again here. I'm happy to see our press media briefing weekly is becoming more on the physical one, always worried with the COVID thing. I don't have any particular announcement except to remind you that Prime Minister of Denmark, Her Excellency Mette Frederiksen will be here from tomorrow late night and the main day of engagement is on Saturday. You'd have seen our press release already and media advisories. Apart from that, I don't have any particular announcements. So may I move on to the questions please, Start with Sidhant maybe.

Sidhant: Sir, first question on the vandalism which happened at the Gurdwara in Kabul. Any reaction to that? We saw the comments by Anas Haqqani as well recalling the smashing at the Somnath temple of idols. And Secondly, has Russia invited India for the talks it is hosting when it comes to Taliban on 20th of October?

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: I think there'll be a lot of interest in this. Is there anyone else on Afghanistan? So before we move on to anything else. Any other questions on Afghanistan? Yeah. Okay, please.

Speaker 1: abhi haal hee mein Taliban ki taraf se jo communication bheje gaye civil aviation ministry ko le ke, ki kya flights resume ho rahi hain aur bahut saare students hain jinko ICCR ki scholarship jo mili thee, unke case par kya hua hai? kya unki aawaajaahee ke liye? unko visa dene ke liye? kyonki ki logon ka kehna hai ki unhen visa nahin mil rahe hain, electronic visa, to electronic visa ka kya status hai? kitne logon ko visa issue kiye gaye hain abhi tak? (Questioned in Hindi; Approximate translation) Recently, the communication was sent by the Taliban to the Civil Aviation Ministry, on whether the flights are resuming? And there are many students who got ICCR scholarship, what is update in their case? For their movement? To give them visa? Because many people say that they are not getting visas, electronic visa, so what is the status of electronic visa, how many people have been issued visa so far?

Speaker 2: Afghanistan pe G-20 Leaders ki meeting virtual hone wali hai 12th october ko. Kya Prime Minister Modi ya India ki taraf se koi representation iss mein rahega? (Questioned in Hindi; Approximate translation) On 12th October a meeting of G-20 leaders on Afghanistan is being organized in virtual mode. Is Prime Minister Modi participating or will there be any representation from India in this?

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: Okay, one more.

Speaker 3: Could we get a sense of what's happening to the Afghan nationals who are kind of stuck in India at the moment? I mean, I believe the number is about 2000, they had come for various reasons like medical treatment, and family visits and things like that. And a lot of them want to return. So if there's any updates on that?

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: Okay, let me start with the main issue that was raised. I would like to begin with UN Security Council resolution 2593. I think this articulates and guides the collective approach of the global community towards Afghanistan. As you are aware, this resolution was adopted under India's Presidency of the UN Security Council, in end of August. The resolution talks of ensuring that the Afghan territory is not used for terrorist acts. It talks of safe passage and secure departure of Afghans and all foreign nationals from Afghanistan, it talks about upholding of human rights including of women and minorities and of course of encouraging all parties to seek an inclusive negotiated political settlement.

Now, the reports that Sidhant you alluded to, of vandalism and of intolerance, obviously raised concerns, not just for us, I suppose across the world, and it is very important that we feel that the international community continues to insist on fulfilment of the goals outlined in the UN Security Council resolution 2593. I think that would be what I would like to say on that. About the resumption of flights etc, I don't have any update. It's a complicated and sensitive issue. There are various factors that need to be taken into account, I think in a very holistic manner, rather than taking a piecemeal approach. On the meeting, I think we talked about Afghan nationals, I will come the other issue on Afghan nationals. Look, I think it's related to the issue of having flights and other connectivity linkages with Kabul or other places in Afghanistan. So I think we'll have to wait for that unless there are other modes of departure.

Pranay, Aapne visa ke baare mein jikr kiya tha, jo yahaan pe hain. Dekhie visa ka mudda hamare grah mantraalya best bata payenge aapko. Par jo yahaan pe hai unke liye visa automatically extend kiya gaya tha. Jo afghans the unko kaha gaya tha ki specially aap contact kijiye aur jo yahan pe hain unka visa extend kiya ja raha hai. (Answered in Hindi; Approximate translation) You mentioned about Visa for those who are here. See on the issue of visa, our Home Ministry will be able to tell you the best. But the visa was extended automatically for those who are here. Those Afghans who were here were told specially that you should contact and their visa is being extended. Hamein maaloom hai ki dikkaten ho rahi hain unko jo vaapas jaana chahate hain aur flights nahin hain. Par details, ki kitne visa, aur kisko, aur kya ho raha hai ye to home ministry se hi khabar mil sakti hai. Par jitna door hamein maalum hai, jo yahaan pe hain, afghan, unke visa renew ho chuki hain aur automatically badhai ja rahee hai. (Answered in Hindi; Approximate translation) We know that problems are being faced by those who want to go back and do not have flights. But the details about how many visas, and to whom and what is happening, in that case you can get the information only from the home ministry. But as far as we know, the Afghans who are here have their visa renewed and visas are being extended automatically.

I think somebody asked about the meeting in Russia. Look, we've seen media reports on this but I don't have any information at this of an invitation being extended or of what kind of a meeting it is. I'm sorry, that was the 12th October. On the G20 meeting. Yes, there is an event on G20 on Afghanistan that's been planned. I don't have a confirmation of participation from India and at what level it will be but we are engaged with the G20 Secretary to get more details. I know it's only a few days ago away, but today is still the seventh and we will hopefully be able to make public something.

UNSC ki resolution thi jo August ke end meh jo hamare karyakal meh, Presidency of UNSC meh hua tha yeh pass. Ye resolution mein hamara ye maanna hai ki hamare pure abhee vaishveek ki taraf se jo najariya hai afghanistan kee taraph, , ye resolution usko cover karti hai. Is resolution mein jo kahi gayi hai baaten aap log ko maaloom hi hai ,resolution mein terrorism, Afghanistan se baahar ki taraf, afghanistan mein terrorism ke baare mein jikr hai aur jo log afghanistan se nikalana chaahate hain unko safely ya securely nikalne ki baat hai, foreign nationals hon, afghan citizens hon aur human rights ke baare mein kaha gaya hai. Minorities aur women ke liye. Aur saare parties jo involved hain unke liye jaise inclusive negotiated political settlement ki baat ki gayee. (Answered in Hindi; Approximate translation) UNSC resolution was passed in end August during our UNSC Presidency. In this resolution, we believe that the attitude that we have from the global side right now, towards Afghanistan is covered. You people are aware of the things that have been said in this resolution, there is a mention about terrorism, out of Afghanistan, terrorism in Afghanistan and those who want to leave Afghanistan, it is a matter of getting out safely or security, foreign nationals, Afghan citizens and this also mentions about human rights for minorities and women. And for all the parties involved, for them it has been talked about inclusive negotiated political settlement.

Aapne jikr kiya tha jab usmein kuch reports ko, jismein hamne vandalism ya aapne kaha tha ki somnath ke baare mein kaha gaya tha ya gurudwara pe attack, in mein jaroor hamaare concerns aate hain aur ham ye maante hain ki hamari jo international community hai, vo jo pehle se kah rahi hai, issi resolution mein, Jo ye goals hamne identify kiye hain, ye jo kah rahe hain. Inke oopar issi pe nazar banae rakhiye aur hum ye insist karen ki ye goals ham log poori tarah fulfill karein. (Answered in Hindi; Approximate translation) You mentioned when there were some reports in which we had said about vandalism or you said that Somnath or attack on Gurudwara, these definitely come with our concerns and we believe that what our international community has been saying since long is in this resolution. These goals which we have identified, what they are saying, keep an eye on them and we will insist that we fulfil these goals completely.

Okay, next round of questions, please. Yeah, please here.

Madhurendra: Sir, Madhurendra News nation se, mera sawal sar kashmir mein ho rahi hinsa ko lekar hain. Do dinon se jis tarah se kashmiri panditon ko pakistani aatanki target kar rahe hain. Nirshansh hatya ki ja rahi hai. Usko kis tarah se videsh mantraalya aur sarkar sangyaan mein le rahee hai. Doosara savaal mera hai, jo bhaarateey cheen mein padhne waale hain aur acedemics hai unko lagaataar ek saal se jyaada ho gaya hai, visa nahin diya ja raha hai? (Questioned in Hindi; Approximate translation) Sir, I am Madhurendra News Nation, my question is regarding the violence happening in Kashmir. The way Pakistani terrorists are targeting Kashmiri Pandits for many days, brutal murders are being committed. How is the Ministry of External Affairs and the government taking it into cognizance? My second question is, Indians who are studying in China and academics, it has been more than one year, visas are not being given?

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: Sorry, ek minute, ek minute, ye ek savaal ka paddhati hai, dekhie aap log do-teen saaval pe ja rahe hain. par theek hain aapne isabaar kaha. dusre saaval kaun see hain? Anybody else related to this issue? Yeah, this issue or something else? (Answered in Hindi; Approximate Translation) Sorry, one minute, one minute, there is a system of one question, see you guys are going on two-three questions. But ok you continue this time. Which is the second question?

Speaker 4: No, something else. Second sawaal hai jo hamaare bhaartiye students hai aur academicians hain unko chin mein visa nahin mil raha hai jaane ke liye. Hajaron ki sankhya mein yahaan phase hue hai. Even Covid ke jo tenures hain vo khatm hone ke baad bhe unako viss nahin mil raha hai to usko lekar kya baat ho rahee hai. (Questioned in Hindi; Approximate Translation) Second, the question is, our Indian students and academicians, they are not getting visa to travel to China. Thousands are stuck here. Even though the tenures of Covid are over, even after that they are not getting visa, then what is the update on this issue.

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: Anybody else? aur is savaal par? ek saath le len ya ek ek kar ke Karen? Dekhiye kashmir mein jo hui hai ghatna, hinsa ki, jo aap baat kar rahe hain last 4-5 dinon mein. Dekhiye ye videsh mantraalya ki koi specific vo to nahin hai par ye to strongly condemn karte hain ham log, is tarah se nihatthon ko maara ja raha hai, targeted hain , ham to pahle se hi kah rahe hain ki terrorism jo Pakistan se, cross-border terrorism ki hamein bahut chinta hai , par aap agar detail maang rahe hain, about kya action liya ja raha hai, security point of view, vo to greh mantraalya se aap poochhiye, par hamaari taraf se is vishay par ham apne saare partners ke saath cross-border terrorism ki baat ham lagae hue hain aur har meeting mein ye jikr karate hain, aur usko ham kahte hain ki is mein kya efforts international community ko lena chaahiye.

China visas ke baare mein mujhe koi update to nahee hai. Aapako iss se pehle bhi hamne kaha tha, ki ham sirf China ki kyon baakee jagah bhi jahaan pe ja nahin pa rahe hain log, ham contact mein hain. Chin ke saath dikkat hai ki vo kahate hai ki saare deshon ke liye unhonne kuchh controls rakhe hue hain Covid ke tahat aur hamaari koshish yahi hai ki jitni jaldee ho sake issmein koi forward movement ho, jaise jaanate hain kuchh aur deshon ke saath kaafi positive movement, hua hai, par Chin ke saath kuchh aur ho movement to aapako bataenge.

(Answered in Hindi; Approximate Translation)

And let’s take all the questions together or do it one by one.

Look at what happened in Kashmir, the violence that you are talking about during the last 4-5 days. See, this is not a specific thing for the Ministry of External Affairs, but we strongly condemn it, unarmed people are being killed in this way, they are targeted, we are already saying that terrorism which comes from Pakistan, cross-border. We are very concerned about terrorism but if you are asking for details, about what action is being taken, from security point of view, then you ask the Ministry of Home Affairs, but on our behalf, we discuss this with all our partners on this subject. We are talking about cross-border terrorism and mention it in every meeting, and we tell that what efforts the international community should take in this regard.

I do not have any update about China visas. We told you earlier also, that why are we not only going to China but also to other places where people, we are in touch. The problem with China is that they say that they have kept some controls for all the countries under Covid and our effort is that there should be any forward movement in it as soon as possible, as we know that there is a very positive movement with some other countries. It has happened, but if there is some other movement with China, then we will tell you.

Yes, please.

Manish Kumar Jha: Manish Kumar Jha from Business World. My question is regarding Denmark Prime Minister visit tomorrow. This is regarding the Kim Davy extradition issue which I understand Prime Minister also raised last year during a virtual conference with Denmark Prime Minister. So what is the status now of Kim Davy extradition case? And second, is this a part of agenda tomorrow with the Prime Minister meeting? And secondly, related to the same question basically, we often hear about the strategic green partnership…

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: I get your point. Let me go back to what we released. This is a very important visit. This is a visit that is happening actually the first head of state or head of government level visit which is happening since unfortunately, COVID restrictions kicked in last March. So we're looking forward to this, it is a very special occasion. We have seen the press release, let me read out some of the important elements of it. Look, we've had regular high level contacts, regular high level exchange. Last year, there was a virtual meeting summit, as you referred to. Our External Affairs Minister visited Denmark earlier this year. Special unique part of this would be the green Strategic Partnership, which was established last September. And I think this visit will give us an opportunity to review that and look at what further we can do on that, there's something very important this is the only one that we have. We have good strong trade investment ties. There are lots of Danish companies in India, about 200 of them for investment. We have about 60 Indian companies that have invested in Denmark. Areas like renewable energy, of course, clean technologies, water and waste management, agriculture, science and technology, digitization, smart cities are some of the elements. So we look forward to this visit which will have a broad multifaceted agenda, I would say. And this will give us an opportunity to talk about these important issues. And as regards the Kim Davy issue we are focused on that, this has been on the agenda. We have raised it in the past. And we remain engaged with Denmark on this issue. And our discussions are ongoing on the subject. I would not like to prejudge conversations before they happened, what Prime Minister will do.

Speaker 5: This is regarding the Denmark visit, which of course you have just spoken about. I wanted to know what has been the outcome of the visit of Wendy Sherman.

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: Sorry, your question was about Wendy Sherman or Denmark?

Speaker 5: No Denmark, you've answered.

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: Oh your question about Wendy Sherman.

Speaker 5: Yeah, that's right.

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: What exactly would you like to know?

Speaker 5: What's the outcome of the visit?

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: Okay, related questions. Let's take that. Yes, ma'am.

Speaker 6: So basically, I want to know about Deputy Secretary of State's visit to New Delhi. And was there any specific discussion on Afghanistan related to that, of course, regarding the security thing, of course, if you could just brief us on that.

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: Security, okay. And ma’am please.

Speaker 7: S-400 Missile system ke baare mein unhone kaha hai ki ye kissi bhi desh ke liye dangerous hai. Is that a sticking point with India. China ko lekar kya baat hui ? (Questioned in Hindi; Approximate Translation) Regarding the S-400 missile system, she has said that it is dangerous for any country. Is that a sticking point with India? What happened about China?

Brahm Prakash: Sir, mein Brahm Prakash hun Zee News sef rom Zee, Mera sawal chin ko lekar hai. Jis tarah se wo….. (Questioned in Hindi; Approximate Translation) Sir, I am Brahm Prakash from Zee News, My question is related to China. The way they are…….

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: Wendy Sherman ke visit ke bare mein ya alag se, to baad me aate hain (Answered in Hindi; Approximate Translation) If it is related to Wendy Sherman visit or other, then will take up later. Wendy Sherman let’s finish with that topic.

Speaker 8: Sir there was talk between Foreign secretary and the US Secretary of State. So what is the crux on indo Pacific because, it was US, which was earlier telling that it is Asia Pacific. Now it has come to indo Pacific. So how we are securing our interest in the new definition of Indo Pacific? Was there any talk regarding that?

Speaker 9: In every interaction that you are having with the United States, the issue of human rights, democratic values, institutions, you know, democratic principles, these topics are coming up repeatedly. Why do you think is the United States and its officials raising these issues with us repeatedly at every bilateral platform.

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: Again, Wendy Sherman, second thoughts about questions. You said. Nobody raised hand. Wendy Sherman, please go ahead. Well, let me take all the questions because I think we will move on after this.

Speaker 10: Yeah, I just want to check if Iran was discussed, the sanctions on Iran and India getting impacted.

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: Okay, I think more questions. Okay, please.

Speaker 11: Sir the US State Department statement said that there had been discussions on both Russia and Iran. So I wanted to know, can you get into the specifics on what exactly was discussed viz a viz these two countries, Russia and Iran. Thank you.

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: Okay, thank you. Look, first, you will appreciate that I would not be in a position to share all the conversations that's not appropriate. We had a very, very intensive, very useful and productive visit of US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman. We have shared some information already with you, I think in various formats. But I will try to wrap up a few of the other elements that you asked. Let me just take you back to the very high level exchanges that have been going on with the US for the last few months, including visit of the Defence Secretary. visit of Secretary of State Blinken. Our conversations at the level of Prime Minister and President, virtually EAM level discussions with Secretary Blinken on the margins of various meetings that have happened earlier this year. And of course, culminating, I would say, in the very successful visit of Honourable Prime Minister to Washington, for the quad, as well as bilateral meetings in end of September. So it just shows you the kind of deep engagement that has been going on with the US for the last few months under the current Biden administration. And now you will be seeing a lot more engagement on each of the different pillars and sectors that encompass our engagement with the US. And the visit of US Deputy Secretary of State was an element of that visit, of that engagement. I will try to answer some of the issues here. What I will start off is look, I think there was question about Indo Pacific, Asia Pacific, and how are we securing that's too broad for this press conference. Let me just say, look, I think there is a clear understanding of how we look at the region, how Indo Pacific is a format that is now well established, be it in the American system, or in other countries, you've seen the European Union looking at the indo Pacific strategy, you're seeing countries. as far out as Latin America talking about Indo Pacific, I think that's a term that's come to stay. And it encompasses a perspective that we share. So I don't want to get into further than that. Let me just take off some of the other elements that were discussed. Of course, discussions happen on the bilateral element, how we can take forward the discussions from both the quad, as well as on the bilateral segment during Prime Minister's visit. I think an overall understanding which you saw in the statements which have been put out by foreign secretary and by the US side, both at the beginning of the talks and separately, of the importance that we attach to the bilateral relationship and not just to the bilateral relationship but also the value that both countries attach to working with together for addressing problems in other regions also. And I think a quad indo Pacific comes to mind very easily. But again, various other elements. It's a partnership, which Prime Minister mentions is a partnership of trust, partnership based on our traditional democracy, talent, technology, as well as we're looking at a decade of transformation. So obviously, various elements were discussed, I'm not going to read out all of them, but I'll just try to respond to some of the questions that came up. Let me start with one which I heard about why our democracy and human rights issues, I think, look, first and foremost, we are democracies, we are fellow democracies, the presence in the quad indicates that, I would pose a counter to say it is but natural that we should discuss, uphold highlight democracy, you heard the Prime Minister speak at length in the recent UN General Assembly, statement of the democracies can deliver. And this is something working together, we can be an example of how we can bring benefit to other partners across particularly in the indo Pacific region. So I don't see it at all, as being told or this is an issue that has been mentioned, it's something that both countries pride and value and we should naturally speak about these common shared values. And you heard that during the visit. We discussed various issues, of course, both regional security situation, bilateral cooperation. In that context, discussions did take place, I think China was somewhere, yes, naturally, it is an important player, it is an important country and our relationship, both countries share their perspectives. Similarly, Russia as a special privilege strategic partner for us. And we have good relations with them. And in some of those we had briefing exchange of views. Iran, in the context of Afghanistan, of course, somebody asked me about security, yes, that was, of course, a major focus on Afghanistan, and how we can ensure what both countries believe as well as the global community on making sure terrorism does not emanate from Afghanistan, how we can ensure that security is maintained after the US withdrawal. Discussions did take place. We highlighted also our perspective of role of Pakistan and what are our concerns regarding that. Regarding the S400 this has been on the discussion between our two countries for some time it was raised. And we have discussed and I think explained our perspective, and discussions on this are ongoing. I think that covers it. There is nothing else. I mentioned Russia. We discussed on that. And so did Iran both in the context of Afghanistan and our bilateral relation, as you know, EAM, visit was there for the inauguration ceremony of the new president. He had another visit transit stopover and we shared perspectives on each other what our relationship where we stand with Iran, as you know, the US doesn't have the direct relationship there. But Iran is an important partner for us. Yeah, moving on, please.

Brahm Prakash: Main Brahm Prakash Zee News se. Mera Sawal hai ki bite kuch dinon se ye kabrein aa rahi hain ki Chin ne kai points par , border par tainati badhai hai aapni, isske bawjood ki pichle ek saal se baatchit chal rahi hai chin ke saath jin jaghon par dispute chaal raha hai. Usko lekar kya Bharat aware hai aur kya lagta hai ki agar iss tarah se chin ne gadbadi ki to aage aur jo sambandh sudhar rahe the patri se utar sakte hain. (Questioned in Hindi; approximate Translation) I am Brahm Prakash from Zee news. My question is that for the past few days there are reports that China has increased its deployment on the border at many points, despite the fact that talks are going on for the last one year with China for the places where the dispute is going on. Is India aware about this and what does it think that if China has done this kind of malpractices, then further relations which were improving can be derailed.

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: China related Please go ahead. We'll take the China first.

Speaker 12: Sir there has been, especially in July, a lot of transgressions, and there's Barahoti has been talked off. But in Arunachal they've been at least three or four places like Dibang and so on. And a huge number in Ladakh, and I'm not referring to the situation on the ground, but these are separate fresh transgressions, particularly in of all places in the Depsang area. Now, all this happened in July. Did this come up when EAM spoke with Chinese Foreign Minister and has it come up in discussions between the two countries since then.

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: Look, let me try to break it up to I think two three different aspects. There are two three different aspects. Regarding the incursions, regarding that kind of military aspects, I would request you to contact the Ministry of Defence. I'm not in a position to comment on that. But on the larger issue of External Affairs Minister discussion, as you know, he did meet Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on the margins of the SCO, I think it was in Tajikistan last month. It is our expectation that China will work towards early resolution of the remaining issues along the line of control in Eastern Ladakh, while fully abiding by bilateral agreements and protocols.

Aap ne poochha tha ki is tarah ke agar hote rahe incidents to kya hoga is tarah se aapka savaal tha. Dekhiye mein tainaatee badhee hai, nahin hai, ye military issues hai, jismein mera kehna ye theek nahi rahega. Par jaise main kah raha tha abhee, hamari baatcheet, hamne kaafi iss par statements bhee de rakhee hain, aapne dekha hoga pehle hamne kaha tha ki ye provocative behaviour aur cheen ke taraf se unilateral jo measure to lete hain. Isi se hamaari shuruaat huee thee, aur disturbance aur peace and tranquality issi se badhi thee, hamne ye kaha hai, statement ek - do baar pichhle 10-12 din mein hamne kaha hai issko aur ye cheen ke actions ke khilaaf bhi hamne jo counter-deployments kiye the aur taaki hamaare security interest poori tarah se protected rahein , mainne abhee jaise kaha hamaari jo baatcheet hui thee cheen ke videsh mantree ki hamare external affairs minister ke saath Tajikistan mein. Us mein bhee hamne ye kaha tha aur hamaari apeksha yehi hai ki cheen hamaare saath ek saath kaam karenge. Ki baakee areas main jo resolution hai, disengagement hai vo ho, aage badhe jaise aapako maaloom hai kuchh areass main disengagement achchhee tarah ho gayi hai aur kuchh baakee hai. Aur cheen ham chaahate hain ki jo bilateral agreement or protocols hain unko maane aur aise hi chalet rahein (Answered in Hindi; approximate translation) You had asked that if such incidents keep happening, then what will happen. See, the deployment has increased, no, this is a military issue on this subject, in which I would say it would be fine. But as I was saying now, our conversation, we have made a lot of statements on this, you must have seen that earlier we had said that this is provocative behavior and the unilateral measure taken by China, this is how we started from this and the disturbance and peace and tranquillity were bigger issues, we have said this statement once or twice in the last 10-12 days, we have said this and the counter-deployments that we did against the actions of China and so that our security interest should be completely protected, as I just said, the conversation we had with the Foreign Minister of China with our External affairs Minister in Tajikistan. In that too we had said this and we expect that China will work together with us to disengage in other areas as per the resolution agreed. Be it, go ahead as you know, in some areas the disengagement has been done well and some is left, and China we want that it should adhere to the bilateral agreement or protocols.

Moving on. Ma’am, please go ahead.

Speaker 13: Sir its regarding the Foreign Secretary’s visit to Sri Lanka. So he visited the Trincomalee oil tank farm. But yesterday in the Sri Lankan parliament, there was quite a lot of discussion over that. And the energy minister had to answer that. And plus also, the Sri Lankan president, he referred to it during his talks with the Foreign Secretary. And he did say I mean, they want a proper resolution of the issue because Sri Lanka wants the oil tank farms back. So like we have said it is according to 1987 agreement, so what is now our stand.

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: Let me just answer that. Look, I don't want to make it a simplistic sort of a response. Foreign Secretary had a very successful visit. You mentioned about it Sri Lanka, October second to fifth. We have shared extensive details about the visit, including his meetings with the Sri Lankan leadership, the President, Prime Minister, other ministers, of course, his counterpart, the Foreign Secretary of Sri Lanka, as well as Tamil political leaders. He looked at the development projects that were launched during his visit, there were four of them. He took up the reconciliation process in Sri Lanka, he talked about the need to address the issue of Indian fishermen and in the humanitarian issue. The issue of support to livelihoods of fishermen of Northern Sri Lanka also came up. He actually visited Kandy. He visited Trincomalee and then he visited Jaffna. If you've seen some of the programmes, as the detailed press release also issued. You mentioned two specific ones, I think more to do with oil tank farms. Look, there are a number of agreements on this. As you said it goes back to 87. But they've been other agreements. They've been more recent agreements on how to utilise those tanks in the best way. I wouldn’t like to comment on what the Sri Lankan authorities have been saying to their Parliament internally. But this is an issue that we attach importance as we do to other projects, economic projects which we believe are beneficial for both countries, and this is certainly one of them that has been on our agenda and good discussions took place during the visit. Let's see how to take this forward. Yes, ma’am go ahead.

Speaker 14: Sir post AUKUS, UK has said that they're planning to sign strategic deals, something similar on the lines with India, any update or any anything…

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: Sorry could you repeat.

Speaker 14: UK Foreign Secretary has said that they're planning to sign strategic pacts with countries like India post AUKUS.

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: Post August?

Speaker 14: Post AUKUS.

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: Okay. Sorry I don't have any update on that I'm not sure what strategic pacts these are India specifically bilateral? I'm not aware of. I will check if there's something we'll certainly get back to you but I'm not aware of any particular strategic deal on that. Okay, I think we've covered first round of questions Any quick ones that you feel we haven't covered. Anything that you haven't covered I don't want to hear the same issues.

Speaker 15: No, no, this is different. Sir Pakistan has a plutonium processing plant in Khushab. Now there suddenly they've started building a small thermal power plant about 60 megawatts. Now as it happens in Yongbyon in North Korea, which is also a place where they extract plutonium they've had thermal power plant which has been shut down for two years and suddenly just as this Khushab plant is coming up the North Koreans have started that old thermal power plant. Now since DISA looks at all these issues do you see any new equation nuclear equation between the North Koreans and the Pakistanis and this could be only one example of that.

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: Look my knowledge on nuclear power plants and such technologies won't be too deep so let me just say that I'm not aware of this. However, let me make a broader point the India's concerns on proliferation networks in our neighbourhood are well known and I think that is important. Something else Okay, quick. I think we have a long one here.

Speaker 16: Sir UK ki taraf se Visa pabandiyan lagai thi, uspe India ne reciprocal measures liye the, kya wo laagu hog aye hein? Doosri baat ye hai ki issue ko resolve karne ke liye jo baatcheet chal rahi thi wo abhi tak kahan pahunchi hai? (Questioned in Hindi; Approximate translated) Sir, Visa restrictions were imposed on behalf of UK, India had taken reciprocal measures on it, have they been implemented. The second thing is that where the conversation has reached that was going on to resolve the issue?

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: Okay, quickly please.

Speaker 17: Since you spoke a lot about QUAD, indo Pacific, and recently Australian Prime Minister has spoken about China being part of the QUAD. Do you see the incoherent statement is a disruption from the Indian…

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: China being part of the QUAD?

Speaker 17: Yeah, Scott Morrison stated recently that China could be the part of QUAD. How do you look at such statement and it just seems too incoherent to digest basically. Thank you.

Speaker 18: Sir, the British have time and again, reiterated that they have been in talks and they're very hopeful that something will materialise. So what exactly is the sticking point with the Cowin app with the certification? Can you tell us because apparently they visited the health talks with those running the app and it's been going on for a month but there seems no resolution. So what exactly is happening? Thanks.

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: Look, UK travel restrictions and Indians with valid vaccination certificates are clearly discriminatory.

Iss mein koi do rai nahin hai. Ye maine pehle bhi kaha tha. Ye theek nahin hai. Hamne ye UK Authorities ke saath iss ko take up kiya tha bahut baar at various levels but without success. Isiliye (Answered in Hindi; Approximate Translation) There are no two views. I told this earlier also. We have taken up this with UK authorities also at various levels, therefore on October 4th onwards, we have applied reciprocal measures on all UK nationals arriving in India, from the UK. So that's in effect, but discussions are ongoing, nonetheless, and we remain hopeful like them, that some solution may emerge. I don't want to get into the details of whether it is the app or whatever, but we are hopeful that some solution may emerge. But meanwhile, since we haven't reached the solution, and their new rules had come in on October 4, we have imposed reciprocity and I think that is in place.

Speaker 19: Do you have some timeline?

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: No, I don't have any update on that. No, this is applicable, let me repeat to UK nationals who are coming from the UK to India, this specific ones, otherwise they go back to the earlier arrangement. Okay. Thank you very much. I think that's a long one. Appreciate your presence.

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