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Transcript of Weekly Media Briefing by the Official Spokesperson (November 11, 2021)

November 11, 2021

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: Good evening, I welcome you all for the weekly media briefing. Last couple of weeks, we had very detailed media briefings on the visits and other activities, today we are back to the regular one. I don't have any immediate announcements to make. However, as you know, we have had very active last few days, we've had activities, we had the Prime Minister's visit, we've had now the NSA level dialogue, etc. and we've been trying to get you all the information on that through our social media as well as on the website. I hope you will continue to monitor that. Anyway, now may I open the floor for some questions. As always, please introduce yourself and organisations for the record.

Shailender Wangu: Sir I’m Shailender Wangu from News18. Moscow format mein Indian officials bhi gaye the, jab Taliban ke saath meeting vahan pe chal rahi thi. Uske baad Taliban ki taraf se statement saamane aya ki Indian delegation se unki mulaakaat hui thi jo Joint Secretory level ke do adhikari vahan gaye the, lekin Indian side se ispe koi statement nahi aaya, lekin us meeting mein bharat ki taraf se kya kaha gaya, kyoki 2nd meeting thi ye Indian diplomat ke saath jo Qatar mein mulaakaat hui thi. Is meeting mein India ki taraf se directly Taliban ko kya convey kiya gaya? (Questioned in Hindi; Approximate Translation) Indian officials also went to Moscow format when a meeting with the Taliban was going on there. After that a statement came out from Taliban that they had met the Indian delegation who had gone there, two officers of Joint Secretary level. But no statement came from the Indian side. What was said on behalf of India in that meeting, because it was the 2nd meeting with the Indian diplomats,as first they met in Qatar. What was conveyed to Taliban directly by India in that meeting?

Sidhant: Sir, Sidhant from WION. Has India taken steps, or considering sending humanitarian support to Afghanistan, and also Sir any update on E-VISAs for many Afghans who want to come to India?

Madhurendra: Sir Madhurendra from News Nation, Troika plus ki baithak mein China shamil hua jabki bharat ne ek din pahle hi baithak ki Afghanistan ke mudde par, uss se china Absent kar gaya aur hamein bataya gaya ki scheduling jaisa koi issue jo hai China ki taraf se tha to China ke is puree vyavahar ko kaise Bharat dekh raha hai? (Questioned in Hindi; Approximate Translation) Sir Madhurendra from News Nation, China attended the Troika plus meeting whereas India held a meeting a day before on the issue of Afghanistan, China was absent from it and we were told that there is some issue like scheduling, from China side. So how is India looking at this entire behaviour of China?

Maha Siddiqui: Maha Siddiqui from CNN-News18. A Pentagon report has said that China has built a 100 home village along the LAC in Arunachal Pradesh. Is that correct, that assessment by the Pentagon and what is India's response to that?

Speaker 1: Hi, good evening. Just a related question. Has China's construction of a 100 home village in the upper Subansiri District of Arunachal Pradesh come up at any level in talks with Chinese authorities?

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: Okay, let me let me try to address that set of questions. Dekhiye pahle, I think Madhurendra ji, Troika plus jo Pakistan ki baat kar rahe honge aap vahan, dekhiye as you know, abhi NSA Level meeting hui thi vahan pay. Saat deshon ke National Security advisors ya Security Councils ke jo Secretaries hote hain wo aye the yahan pe, jo discussions hui wo bahut achchhi rahi, uske upper kaafi logon ki sahamati rahi bahut muddon par or is sahamati ke kaaran hamare pass fayada ye hua ki hum ek ye Delhi declaration nikaal paaye to use aapne dekha hoga ki usko hamne Public kar diya ki kafi logon ne usmen kya kaha hai. Discussions vahan pe terrorism ke mudde pe, vahan Afghanistan se terrorism na ho aur hamlog kaise inclusive governance system vahan pay la saken,us desh mein aur humanatarian needs kya hain, unko jo jaruratein hain, Ye bhi tay kiya gaya ki is tarah ke format mein discussions ho ye chalu rahe to ye sab bahut important mudde the jismen clearly ye tha ki itne saare jo regional desh hai ye mante hain ki inka aana yahaan pe aur ye discussion is tarah ke hona unke lie important hai or hamare desh mein aake or India ka hona aesi baithak mein, aise discussions mein unke lie mahatvapoorn hai. Iss mein hamne Chin ko bhi amantran jari kiya tha unhone jaise aapne kaha ki kuchh karanvash jo hai scheduling, wo kah rahe the ki nahi aa paye. Ab baki wo kahaan jaate hai aur kya karte hai ispe mai tippani nahi karna chahunga. Aapne kaha Pakistan mein jo ho raha hai, dekhiye Pakistan ko bhi invitation diya gaya tha,par wo nahin aye, ispe mai yahi kahunga ki aissi important meeting mein nahin aye to issse pata chal sakta hai ki unka kis tarah ka ravaiya hai Afghanistan k mudde par. Mai itna hi kahana chaahungaa. (Answered in Hindi; Approximate Translation) Look Madhurendra ji, you are talking about Troika plus and Pakistan. As you know there was recently a NSA Level Meeting here in India. The Secretaries of the security councils or National Security Advisors of seven countries had come here. The discussions that took place were very good. Many people agreed on many issues and due to that consensus, we had an advantage that we were able to move this Delhi declaration. You must have seen it, that we have made it public what many people have said in it. The discussions included that there should be no terrorism from Afghanistan, on the issue of terrorism and how can we bring inclusive governance system there or what are the humanitarian needs in that country, what they need. It was also decided that if we continue to discuss all these important issues in such a format, in which it was clearly stated that so many countries believe that it was important that they should come here and participate in these discussions. Being part of this is important for them and coming to our country and India’s presence is important for them in such discussions, in such meetings. We also issued an invitation to China. Like you said that due to scheduling, they were saying that they could not come. Now where else do they go and what they do, I would not like to comment on that. You said about what is happening in Pakistan, see Pakistan was also invited. The invitation was issued, I would say that if they do not come to such an important meeting, then you can know from this what kind of attitude they have on the issue of Afghanistan. That's all I want to say.

Sidhant moving on to your question regarding steps on humanitarian support, let me reiterate what actually came up in the discussions and also, what have we have put out. I think, India's support to the people of Afghanistan is very clear. It is a people led interaction and our involvement with that country. We have been extending support over many years for the people of Afghanistan. I don't need to reiterate that today. Situation on the ground has become very difficult over the last few months since the transition there. And accordingly, I think we have been participating in meetings where this issue of how to address impending humanitarian concerns. As you know, I was just talking to Madhurendra regarding the NSA meeting, where the very serious humanitarian situation in Afghanistan was discussed at length, and one of the key elements which we have seen in previous meetings was the need for unimpeded, unhindered access for aid or humanitarian assistance providers. And I think that is a key element of anything that we would be in a position to extend assistance. As you know, we have been looking at the possibilities, but there have been difficulties due to lack of unimpeded access. On the E-VISAs, I'm afraid as I have always been saying, you will have to contact our Home ministry on this visa element.

Let me move on to the questions regarding Pentagon report. I think NDTV was asking more about there is a village near the border or in the border. Let me let me choose my words carefully because there are different elements in this. Look as regard the US report, it was the US Department of Defence report to the US Congress as far as we understand, we have taken note of the US Department of Defence report to the US Congress, which inter alia also makes reference to construction activities by the Chinese side along the India China border areas, particularly in the Eastern sector. Reports have also appeared in the media earlier this year on this issue. As we had stated then, China has undertaken construction activities in the past several years along the border areas, including in the areas that it has illegally occupied over decades. India has neither accepted such illegal occupation of our territory, nor has it accepted the unjustified Chinese claims. Government has always conveyed its strong protest to such activities through diplomatic means, and will continue to do so in the future. Now further as conveyed earlier, government has also stepped up border infrastructure, including the construction of roads, bridges, etc. which have provided much needed connectivity to the local population along the border. Government remains committed to the objective of creating infrastructure along the border areas for the improvement of livelihood of its citizens, including in Arunachal Pradesh. And of course, government keeps a constant watch on all developments, having a bearing on India security and takes all necessary measures to safeguard its sovereignty and territorial integrity. So I think that addresses both the queries that you had mentioned.

Shailendra ji aap ne Moscow format ka jikr kiya tha, aapne theek hi kaha tha, hamne uss mein jo kaha tha uss samay kah diya, usme aur kahane ko mere paas abhi nahin hain. hamari woh meeting rahi thi is mein hamare do diplomats gaye the vahan pay vartalap hui thi par uske alava jo jitna vahan kaha tha kaafi hai abhi ke liye (Answered in Hindi; Approximate Translation) Shailendra ji, you had mentioned about Moscow format. You were right. We said what was said in it at that time. I don't have any more to say on that yet. We participated in that meeting and two of our diplomats went there. The conversation took place but apart from what was said there, I have nothing to add for now.Okay, any other set of questions?

Kalol: Kalol from the Hindu. Yesterday in the NSA’s meeting, it was decided that there should be unimpeded and urgent humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan. The situation on the ground is deteriorating every day in Afghanistan. Is there a deadline that you are looking at by when these assistance could be provided to the people of Afghanistan because it's winter already.

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: Any other set of questions?

Speaker 2: Sir, when the Moscow meeting took place, purported Joint Statement was issued, which referred to the Taliban as the interim government of Afghanistan, interim Afghan government. It was not clear at that time whether we had been signatories to the statement or as some suggested, it was the chairman summary or it was a joint statement. What exactly is India's position on this issue? Do we accept what is written in Joint Statement that the Taliban is the interim government of Afghanistan? Thanks.

Sanjana Sharma: kuchh Media mein khabren aa rahi hai ki Afghanistan mein child trafficking yani ladkiyon ko becha ja raha hai bahut sari assi khabren hain to ye bahut hi disturbing hai kya UN key help se aap is vishay mein kuchh kadam.. is Meeting men iske baare mein koi charcha ki ye jo child trafficking hai iss ko kaise roka jaye ? (Questioned in Hindi; Approximate Translation) There are reports in some media that child trafficking means girls are being sold in Afghanistan. There are many such news. So this is very disturbing. Will you take some steps in this regard with the help of UN, whether in this meeting any discussion took place as to how to stop this child trafficking?

Speaker 3: Hi, sir. On this bilateral meeting between the NSA and the other three security chiefs within, it was a very brief one, which we got. But the Iranian papers, they have published a very long detailed one where they've said that Rear Admiral Ali Shamkhani he conveyed to NSA Doval that the economic relations were not satisfactory and the economic barriers have to be removed and he's asked for full commissioning of the Chabahar port and they also said that NSA Doval agreed that the relations were not up to the mark. So what do you say to that?

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: Will take one more question. Pranay please.

Pranay: Sir OIC ke jo special envoy hai Jammu Kashmir ko lekar woh is samay Pakistan ke daure par hain aur Pak occupied Kashmir ke kai ilakon mein bhi unhen le jaya gaya uske baad unki taraf se kai statement aaye hain toh is mamle ko Pakistan jis tarah se tarike se Kashmir k mudde ko OIC ke saath us Platform ka istemaal kar raha hai, bharat aapatti uthata rahe lekin aap is par kya kehna chaahenge? (Questioned in Hindi; Approximate Translation) Sir OIC's special envoy is currently on a tour of Pakistan regarding Jammu and Kashmir and he was also taken to many areas of Pak occupied Kashmir. After that many statements have come from their side. So the way Pakistan is handling this matter with the OIC, the way the issue of Kashmir is being raised using that platform. India should continue raising objections but what would you like to say on this?”

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: There are a variety of issues, some of them related to the NSA’s meeting. So let me take that first. Look there was a query I think from Kalol, I think as I was starting off by saying during the NSA meeting, both the bilateral meetings as well as in the actual conference that took place, there was clearly concern over the very serious humanitarian situation, and I would say looming humanitarian situation rather than just immediate. There's obviously no deadline for such things, but the fact that all the regional countries were on the same page in expressing their concern on the humanitarian situation and their determination to see that assistance is provided and their call for ensuring unimpeded and unhindered movement of goods as well as movement of aid workers etc. shows the importance of it. I don't think they had a deadline in mind but naturally with winter approaching, and there are disturbing reports coming in off the dire humanitarian situation and I hope that this joint call by so many national security heads would spur movement on the ground.

Sanjana ji, aapne jikr kiya ki vahan Child trafficking ki baat ho rahi thi, dekhiye exactly uspe charcha hui ya nahin yeh mujhe check karna padega par ye security ki drishti se meeting ho rahi thi, UN key assistance ki baat to nahi hui thi isamein. Saare deshon ne apne kya perspective apne nazariye se kis tarah ka situation hai or hum kaise dekhate hain aur jo main highlight karna chaahunga ki ye saare 8 desh, 7 jo aaye the, hamein ek position tha ki dekhiye jo threats hain, jo security challenges hain us desh se, woh hamare sabka najariya similar tha, similar perspectives tha. Par ye Child trafficking issue pe mujhe to koi khabar nahin tha ki aisi specific bindu pay baat hui thi ya nahin par agar ho toh hum aapko bataaenge. (Answered in Hindi; Approximate Translation)Sanjana ji, you mentioned that there was talk of Child trafficking, see whether it was discussed exactly or not, I will have to check. But this meeting was being held from the point of view of security, there was no talk of UN's assistance in this. What kind of situation all the countries have from their point of view and what kind of situation we have, how we see and what I want to highlight that all these 8 countries who came together, we had a position that we have seen the threats, the security challenges from that country, that our viewpoint was similar, perspective was also similar. But on this Child trafficking issue, I don’t have any knowledge whether discussions on this topic took place or not. But if discussions took place, we will inform you.

I think you asked about, 3 NSAs ki briefing ke baare mein poochha tha, dekhiye NSA met with other NSA's also.(Answered in Hindi; Approximate Translation) 3 NSA briefing with NSA was asked. See NSA met with other NSAs also, not just 3. We haven't issued anything on those meetings, because these are security meetings, which are held between the NSAs.To ismen jo baaten hui thi usmen hum toh sab janna chaahenge ki kya hota hai par dekhiye meetings aisi hoti hain ki har cheez batai nahin jaati. Agar unki taraf se kuchh nikala hai, thik hai hamaari taraf se hamne formally kuchh nahi kaha hai. Delhi declaration objective main tha or usmen kaffi kuchh kaha gaya hai, Common objective Afghanistan pe tha. jo dvipakshiya muddon per charcha hui thi usmen abhi tak to ye Security perspective se hai toh hamne isko Publicly release nahi kiya hai. (Answered in Hindi; Approximate Translation) So in the things that happened in this, we all would like to know what happened. But these meetings are such that not everything can be told. If anything has come out from their side, that’s fine but we have not said anything formally from our side. The Delhi declaration was main objective and a lot has been said in it. The common objective was on Afghanistan. In the bilateral issues that were discussed so far, these were Security Perspective. So we have not released it publicly.

I think somebody mentioned about the purported joint statement. I like the word which was chosen. Interim very difficult words you've used, interim government, interim joint statement. We participated in the event. This event was hosted by Russia. It's an important event. I think it achieved a lot of important milestones in discussions on this. It's been some time also, to be honest, it's not an immediate one. It was issued as a statement. I have nothing further to say in terms of either questioning it or accepting it. Does it have signatures? I leave it at that. You have raised a valid point back to where we have been talking about how do we see the current ruling dispensation in Afghanistan or regime. We have been guided, as most of the countries around the world have been guided by UN Security Council resolution 2593 and I think that's where I would leave it as you have no opposition on that. And I don't think this issue of characterising or putting a nomenclature on that is the important part. What is the important part is ensuring that the aspiration, the expectations of the international community as outlined in resolution 2593, that is what the important part.

Speaker 2: But will you clarify whether that was a joint statement at all?

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: Look, as I said it was something that they issued and I think it would be best ask to them. Coming back to Pranay, you mentioned about OIC, dekhiye ye abhi hall hi ki statement hai toh ismen mera koi detailed response nahi hai, par mai sirf ye kahna chaahunga ki ye hamaara andruni mamla hai jisme dakhalandaji hai. ham pahle bhi bahut bar is vishay pay kah chuke hai, ki jammu and kashmir mein, occupied jammu and kashmir pe ye visit is tarah ke hum isko dakhalandaji hamare andurani mamlon mein dekhte hain. agar hamare pass or jyada kuchh kahane ke liye hai bad men to main uspe aapko bataaungaa per ye abhi hua hai, aane ke pahale hi mainne dekha hai aaj hi afternoon meh to abhi ke liye main itna hi kehna chahunga.(Answered in Hindi; Approximate Translation) See this is a recent statement, so I do not have any detailed response in this, but I would like to say only that this is our internal matter in which there is interference. We have said many times in the past on this subject, that this visit to Jammu and Kashmir, occupied Jammu and Kashmir, we see this is interference in our internal affairs in this way. If we have more, we will say later, I'll let you know. But it just happened. Just before coming I saw this afternoon only. So that's all I would like to say for now. Okay, let me take next round of questions.

Speaker 4: Sir, I have a clarification on this 96 countries that have agreed to mutually recognise the vaccine certification. So it's both for Covaxin and Covishield, the 96 countries?

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: Okay, anybody else? Yes, please.

Gautam Lahiri: Yes, Gautam Lahiri. Can you give us an update on vaccine maitri as India has already gotten more than 100 crore people vaccinated, so , what would be the next vaccine maitri consignments that will go or whether you would be abide by the commercial agreements with India has done with the other countries?

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

Pradeep Kumar: Pradeep Kumar, Financial Journal. What the Congress is accusing the government getting the kick back on the Rafale aircraft, fighter aircraft. Is there any news or any statement from your side or it will be the Indian Air Force?

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: Interesting. Okay, next

Neeraj: Sir, News18 India se Neeraj hoon. NRI Voters ko videshon mein hi voting rights dene ki suvidha ko lekar batchit hui thi chunav ayog, videsh mantralaya or kanoon mantralaya ke bich men. videsh mantralaya ka paksh bahut sakaratmak tha, us disha mein kya pragati hui hai? (Questioned in Hindi; Approximate Translation) Sir, I am Neeraj from News18 India. There was a discussion regarding the facility of giving voting rights to NRI Voters abroad, between the Election Commission, the Ministry of External Affairs and the Ministry of Law. The approach of the Ministry of External Affairs was very positive. What progress has been made in that direction?

Speaker 5: Sir again on Afghanistan. India, China and Pakistan, all are members of SCO, Shanghai Cooperation Organisation. Will India request the SCO Secretariat to call a meeting so that all the neighbouring countries can participate and decide something on the security and rural development issues in Afghanistan.

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: Okay, I'll try to take some of these questions. Starting with the vaccines, look, I don't know where you've got the 96 number from because it's from different places. There are multiple places this number is coming from so let me clarify what I'm going to answer on. The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on its webpage, as well as on the webpage of the Ministry of External Affairs, in fact, that's for all our listeners and viewers, we have the link in the Ministry of External Affairs webpage, it's under COVID tab, if you go to COVID on main landing page, a link on what is because it helps people to understand, you can understand and you can see the latest update, which provides a link to the Health Ministry’s notification or the details, you will see that as of I think ninth of November, it has been updated. There are two types of lists. One is high risk categories. There's a few countries and then there is what is called a Category A. As you also know, today just now a little while earlier, the Health Ministry has issued revised guidelines for entry into India for foreign travellers, but it broadly sticks to the same nomenclature, which is you have a high risk and you have a category A, what is category A? The Category A countries are countries that either because they acknowledge WHO approved vaccines or they accept our national vaccines are in that list. Okay, that list is currently 96 countries. So that list is publicly available, I would recommend and I would refer you to that list. Now, we would hope, as you know, in a significant development, the India developed and produced vaccine Covaxin was accorded the emergency use licencing by the World Health Organisation in early this month on November 3rd, We feel that this should ease international travel of those vaccinated with Covaxin. Many countries already recognised as I said, WHO approved vaccines, and now with Covaxin joining this list, you know that should become automatic. Some countries had issued individual orders for individual vaccines, and they perhaps need to issue separate orders for Covaxin, and we are taking up this matter with those countries. Some countries have also accorded on their own national regulatory clearance to Covaxin and so this list of countries that accept Covaxin may be further enlarged. So these 96 countries either have accepted WHO vaccines which will include both Covishield and Covaxin or in some cases, perhaps only Covishield or Covaxin, but we hope that with the Covaxin having got WHO approval this list will go up and all 96 or more countries will accept both our vaccines. So that's, I think is a significant improvement in ease of travel of vaccinated Indians abroad. Category A basically allows members or citizens travellers from those countries to enter India without quarantine, if they are fully vaccinated, if they are otherwise subject to quarantine because of the high risk category list. It's a little complicated because of the health issue, but we go by the guidelines of Health Ministry on this.

Moving on to the issue of vaccine Maitri which was asked, look, I don't know if it's called vaccine Maitri or not, but let me just say that keeping in mind our domestic requirement of vaccines, we have resumed our overseas supply of India made vaccines. Some shipments have already taken place while others are in the pipeline including through the Covax facility. Of course, for details of this, I would refer you to the relevant health and regulatory authorities. I had a query regarding SCO. On SCO look, as we know there are multiple platforms and groupings that have been discussing this important issue of Afghanistan, including the recent NSA meeting. But as of right now, I'm not aware of any initiative to ask the SCO to host the meeting. As I said, as of right now, I don't have any information that we have or are planning to, if we do let's see. SCO does meet, and if the SCO leaders meet, and they discuss Afghanistan, possibly, but as of now, I don't have any information on that. Moving on to a query, I think on Rafael was asked, look, I don't really know what to say. Let me just reiterate what I had said I think earlier, a couple of months ago, as I had mentioned on that occasion, this is clearly a matter for the Ministry of Defence not Indian Air Force, but I think perhaps Minister of Defence and I would refer you to them for a response. Neeraj aapne jikr kiya tha NRI voting ke baare mein, pata nahi aapko kaise maalum hua ki kis mantralaya ne kya kaha aur kya nahin kahaa par main sirf kahunga ki mere pass abhi koi update nahi hai, par ye important mudda hai jismen jab koi ho information to hum aapke saath jaroor share karenge. (Answered in Hindi; Approximate Translation) Neeraj, you had mentioned about NRI voting, don't know how you could know which ministry said what and when. But I will only say that I do not have any update yet, but this is an important issue in which we will definitely share with you when there is any information.

Any other questions?

Speaker 6: Sir, Punjab Election se pahle har koi ab maang kar raha hai ki kartarpur Corridor ko dobara khol diya jana chahiye or usko lekar jab 2nd anniversary thi to us vakt Imran Khan ki taraf se bhi or Pakistan Foreign Ministry ki taraf se ek statement jari kiya gaya ki is month ke end mein I Think 5-6 dinon ke liye unhonne kaha hai ki hum chahte hain ki is Corridor ko khola jaye or jo shraddhalu yahaan se jaane vale hain wo is Corridor ke through jayen na ki woh poora Pakistan ghumte hue wagah border say hote hue kartarpur jayen toh kya kartarpur kholne ko lekar kahin par bhi koi vichar ho raha tha? is mahine ya aane wale mahinon tak is ko nahi khola jayega ? (Questioned in Hindi; Approximate Translation) Sir, before the Punjab elections, everyone is now demanding that the Kartarpur Corridor should be reopened. And when there was 2nd anniversary of that, then a statement was issued from Imran Khan's side as well as Pakistan's Foreign Ministry that at the end of this month I think for 5-6 days they have said that we want that This corridor should be opened and the devotees who are going should go through this corridor and not roam around the the whole of Pakistan and go to Kartarpur via wagah border. So was there any idea anywhere about opening Kartarpur? Will it not be opened this month or until the coming months?”

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: Somebody else on a second question?

Speaker 7: I have a question. Yeah, it's a question regarding yesterday's NSAs meeting, right after the Delhi declaration, Russia issued a separate statement altogether. So do you have any say on this? And my second question is…

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: Can I interrupt and ask what you mean do I have a say on their.... they can issue whatever they like they are sovereign country.

Speaker 7: But there is….

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: You mean do I have a reaction to it?

Speaker 7: Yeah, I mean a reaction from India and also there is this report that suggest that China has exported warship to Pakistan to be deployed in Indian Ocean. So if India has any stand on this?

Speaker 8: Sir last question. Is Sheikh Hasina, the expected Chief Guest for the 26th January parade?

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: Yes, Sidhant.

Sidhant: Sir, the US Special envoy on Afghanistan, he's planning to visit India. It's been confirmed by the State Department. Any dates are anything when he's coming? Or the key focus areas?

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: Yeah, that really has to be the last one. Yes, ma'am.

Speaker 9: Sir any update on getting the Pfizer and Moderna vaccination in India? Are the talks discontinued?

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: Okay, let me just close with that. Let me take the simpler ones first.... You got a confirmation from State Department please ask them for date, why you are asking me? I don’t know. I don't have a date. Obviously, any such visits are announced at the appropriate time and, they'll always be welcome for the visitors. Similarly, on republic day there was a query, we have had a tradition for many years to have a high level dignitary part of our Republic Day celebrations and at an appropriate and opportune time we shall share the details once it's finalised. There was a query on the Pfizer, Moderna that's a query, I think better addressed to our health regulators. I would just like to mention that we do have now a very good supply of domestic other vaccines, but whether that is what are the state or what is discussions are not, I think purview of the Ministry of External Affairs. I think the health authorities would have a better picture of that. On the Russian statement, look, I think that was their understanding and a readout of that conversation. I think they focus more on the bilateral rather than the statement, but they did mention about that I saw that I don't have a reaction. I think it just emphasises and highlights what was said in the Delhi declaration. And I would tend to say, it's a good reflection of the conversations and I would leave it at that. I mean, it's their statement, and I have no real immediate reaction to it. It's their understanding and readout of the conversation. On the Indian Ocean Sorry, what was the question on the Indian Ocean?

Speaker 7: Warship.

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: I don't have an immediate comment, except to say that look, I don't know the details of it, but we'll have to examine what it means. I know there is these efforts to strengthen defence and capabilities of countries and we need to look at it from our national security perspective, but this is a sensitive issue. That's I think, just not our MEA issue altogether. So I will leave it at that. "Kartarpur ke bare me pucha tha, jaisa ki aap jaanate hain, Kartarpur corridor ke raste march 2020 mein Covid- 19 mahamari ke kaaran band kar diya gaya tha Bharat or Pakistan ke beech bhoomi yatra, Pakistani paksh ke saath samanvay mein atari-vagha ekikrit check post k madhyam se simit paimane per ki ja rahi thi donon paksh apne maujuda niyamon or swasthya disha nirdeshon ka palan kar rahe hain. Guruparv ke mahatv or usse judi bhavnaon ko dekhate hue yeh nirnay liya gaya hai ki lagbhag 1500 tirthyatriyon ka ek jattha attar-vagha icp ke raste 17-26 november, 2021 tak Pakistan ki yatra karega yeh yatra bharat or pakistan ke beech 'dharmik tirthon ki yatra' per 1974 ke dvipakshiy protocol ke tahat shamil ki gayi hai. Tirthyatriyon ka gurudwara shree darbar sahib, gurudwara shree panja sahib, gurudwara shree dehra sahib, gurudwara shree nankana sahib, gurudwara shree kartarpur sahib or gurudwara shree saccha sauda jaane ka karyakram hai. Pakistan ne isse pehle is saal june men do bar bharat se sikh tirthyatriyon ki pakistan yatra key anumati se inkar kar diya tha, guru arjan dev ji ke shahadat divas k avasar par or doosra, maharaja ranjit singh ji ki punyatithi per. ye donon jatthe bhi 1974 ke dvipakshiy protocol ke tahat shamil hain. Apeksha yahi hai ki is baar ka jattha ja paaye ( Answered in Hindi; approximate Translation) We all are aware that movement through the Kartarpur corridor was suspended in March 2020, due to the COVID 19 pandemic. Land travel between India and Pakistan, is since being conducted on a limited scale through the Attari-Wagah Integrated Check Post in coordination with Pakistani side. Both sides follow their own extant rules and health guidelines. In view of the significance of Gurupurab and sentiments associated with it, it has been decided that a Jatha of around 1500 pilgrims will visit Pakistan from November 17-26 this year via the Attar-Wagah ICP. This visit is covered under the 1974 Bilateral Protocol between India and Pakistan on 'Visits to Religious Shrines'. The pilgrims are scheduled to visit Gurudwara Shri Darbar Sahib, Gurudwara Shri Panja Sahib, Gurudwara Shri Dehra Sahib, Gurudwara Shri Nankana Sahib, Gurudwara Shri Kartarpur Sahib and Gurudwara Shri Sachha Sauda. Pakistan had earlier denied permission for visit of Sikh pilgrims from India to Pakistan on two occasions in June this year - one, on the occasion of Martyrdom Day of Guru Arjan Dev Ji and second, on the Death Anniversary of Maharaja Ranjit Singh Ji. Both of these jathas are also covered under the 1974 Bilateral Protocol. We hope that the forthcoming jatha does take place.

Speaker 8: So that means your reply is very clear that you are not reopening Kartarpur. So when is it likely I mean, that we will see reopening of Kartarpur.

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: Once I have read the 200-word statement, I don't think I should add any single word to that. Thank you very much. Thanks for joining a very good evening to all of you. Namaskar.

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