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Transcript of Special Briefing by Foreign Secretary on the Visit of the Prime Minister to Indonesia for G-20 Summit (November 16, 2022)

November 16, 2022

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: A very good afternoon to all of you. Thank you very much for joining this Special Media Briefing that we are conducting from this beautiful city of Bali in Indonesia on the occasion of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi's ongoing visit to the city of Bali for the 17th G-20 Summit. Actually, the Summit proceedings are still underway with the third session on digital transformation and you would have just seen that the Prime Minister has made his intervention there. We are doing this briefing now, because Prime Minister would be leaving directly from there to the airport. We have a bit of a shortage of time, but let me just introduce people who have come here to give you a sense of what the conversations have been and other elements of this important visit. Of course, Foreign Secretary sir Shri Vinay Kwatra is with us. We also have the pleasure of having our Ambassador to India to Indonesia and Timor Leste, Shri Manoj Kumar Bharti, as well as our Sous-Sherpa for the G-20 process, Shri Abhay Thakur. Foreign Secretary Sir, if I could request you for the opening remarks and then we will take a few questions.

Shri Vinay Kwatra, Foreign Secretary: Thank you Arindam, Ambassador Manoj Bharti, Sous Sherpa Mr. Abhay Thakur and dear friends, thank you very much for coming here this afternoon in this beautiful city where it's pouring outside. So thanks very much for coming in these large numbers despite the heavy rain outside. As Arindam mentioned, Prime Minister's visit to Bali to participate in the ongoing G-20 Summit is still continuing. It's my pleasure to do this Special Briefing. I'll be making brief remarks and thereafter depending on the time, take some questions. Honourable Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, as you all know arrived on 14th November late evening and since then, he has had a series of engagements. Even as we meet here, as Arindam just mentioned, the third session of the G-20 Leaders Summit is underway and following this will be a closing ceremony where the G-20 Presidency will be handed over to India. Thereafter, Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi is expected to have several bilateral meetings. These as of now include Germany, Indonesia, Italy, Australia, and UK. He will leave for the airport directly from the venue. And thus we have taken this opportunity to do this quick briefing. As you're all aware, Prime Minister's first engagement in Bali was the official welcome by His Excellency, the President of Indonesia. We have been working very closely with Indonesia to support their Presidency. And we've also worked with Indonesia to give a larger voice to the Global South in the G-20.

In the G-20, Prime Minister's first intervention was during the session on food and energy security. The text of this has already been shared. You would have seen in Prime Minister's intervention, the emphasis on the impact of contemporary developments on the developing world. He particularly underlined the criticality of resilient supply chains for food, fertilizer and energy and the need for affordable finance for smooth energy transition for the Global South. Prime Minister Modi also highlighted India's effort to further food security for our own citizens as also for the needs of other developing countries, and in this context, shared India's own achievements and experiences, including the practices of natural farming, and called upon the G-20 Members to celebrate the International Year of millets 2023. Prime Minister later attended the second session on the health. Prime Minister met the US President Biden and Indonesian President on the margins of the G-20 Summit yesterday. Prime Minister Modi have found that G-20 is the premier forum for international economic cooperation and underlined the importance of G-20 continuing to demonstrate its capacity to bring together major economy to overcome the global challenges.

In his brief bilateral interaction with President Biden, Prime Minister reviewed the continuing deepening of the India-US strategic partnership and expressed satisfaction about the ongoing strong cooperation between the two countries in groupings such as the Quad, I2U2 etc. Prime Minister Modi and President Biden agreed to maintain close cooperation during India's G-20 Presidency. Prime Minister also had several meetings with leaders of the G-20 Members, guest’s countries and international organizations yesterday. Yesterday afternoon Prime Minister also addressed and interacted with the Indian community and Friends of India in Bali. He highlighted the close cultural and civilizational linkages between India and Indonesia and the role of diaspora in deepening these vibrant and ancient ties. The warmth and respect that the 700 Odd Indians and Friends of India in Bali was visible for all of us to see there. Today, as Arindam just said Prime Minister has concluded his intervention during the session on Digital Transformation. This is an area where India is a global leader and Prime Minister used this opportunity to highlight actions taken by India and offered to share our expertise in the space. Prime Minister Modi highlighted the importance of technology and an open, inclusive and empowering public digital infrastructure in fostering global economic transformation, building inclusive societies, empowering billions of people and improving livelihoods. Digital transformation will also feature among the key priorities during India's G-20 presidency that commences on first of December.

This morning, Prime Minister joined the other G-20 leaders on a visit to the mangrove forests. India also has, as you all know, large mangrove reserves, and these serve as a refuge for biodiversity, as well as substantial carbon sinks. We recently joined the mangrove Alliance for Climate led by the UAE and Indonesia. This initiative brings the world together to advance the global costs of mangroves. Apart from the bilateral meeting with Indonesia, Prime Minister also today had earlier a working lunch with President Macron of France. Defence, civil nuclear cooperation, trade and economy and new areas of economic partnership constituted key topics of the conversation during this working lunch meeting. As I earlier mentioned, he would be having several other bilaterals later during the day. I listed out the countries where he would be having bilateral as of now, in these, if I could just mention Germany, with who's Chancellor Prime Minister has already met twice earlier this year, is an important partner and Chancellor Scholz and Prime Minister are likely to take forward the discussions and the outcomes which they both agreed on during the sixth India Germany intergovernmental consultations which were held earlier in Berlin in May this year. This will be Prime Minister's first meeting with the newly elected UK Prime Minister, Mr. Rishi Sunak. And it will provide an opportunity to review the wide ranging India-UK Comprehensive Partnership and the progress made on the roadmap 2030 for future relations. Prime Minister also will be having his first meeting with the Italian Prime Minister and both leaders will review their multi sectoral partnerships.

Our relations with Australia have been steadily deepening, expanding, both bilaterally and also in several plurilateral ways. Prime Minister Modi and Prime Minister Albanese when they meet later this evening are likely to discuss cooperation across different sectors trade, investment, education, defence, critical minerals, etc. The closing ceremony of the G-20 will be held shortly where as I mentioned earlier, the President of Indonesia will hand over the gavel to Prime Minister in a symbolic handover of the Presidency. The outcome document of the G-20 Summit has been adopted by consensus. India worked constructively and cooperated Indonesia and others towards this goal. You will find that some of the key outcomes in the outcome document reflect the priorities and vision of Prime Minister. India's priorities such as the views of the Global South, sustainable lifestyles, climate financing, nutritious food, multilateral reforms, global digital health, networks, digital networks, etc. they all find mention in the document. The consensus document going forward will be a positive development as we take over the presidency of the G-20 on first of December. I would stop here and take questions at this stage. Thank you.

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: Thank you very much sir. Before we move on to questions, please let me lay out the ground rules. Please introduce yourself and the organization that you represent. We will take all hands. One by one.

Sidhant: Hi, sir I’m Sidhant from WION. When it comes to negotiation of the communiqué, the role played by India in bridging the divide between West and Russia what was perhaps a constructive role in bringing the two sides together if you can talk about that.

Brahm Prakash: Sir main Brahma Prakash hoon Zee News se, mera sawal yeh hai ki bharat lagatar international platforms par jis tarah se aatankwaad ka khatra hai usko lekar baat karta raha hai, kya G-20 ke manch par kisi satra men bharat ne is khatare ko lekar baat ki ya dvipakshiy jo batchit ho rahi hai usmen ye mudda uthaya ki kaise duniyan isse nipate jis se bharat lagatar isase jujh raha hai, thank you. (Questioned in Hindi; Approximate Translation) Sir, I am a Brahma Prakash from Zee News, my question is that India has been constantly talking about the threat of terrorism on international platforms, whether India talked about this threat in any session in the G-20 forum or raised the issue in the bilateral talks that are being held, how the world should deal with it, with which India is constantly struggling? Thank you.

Neeraj: Sir Neeraj hoon News 18 India se, G-20 ke baithak mein kal jo dinner ayojit hua tha usmein ek aisi tasveer aayi jiska lambe samay se logo ko intezaar bhi hai, rashtrapati Xi Jinping se handshake karte hue, kya us handshake ke dauran pradhanmantri narendra modi ki jo batchit hui sankshipt mulakat mein, kya agle saal bharat mein hone vaale G-20 sammelan ke lie anopcharik taur par unhen aamantrit kiya hai ya jo mulakat hui hai usmein kya baat hui hai? (Questioned in Hindi; Approximate Translation) Sir, Neeraj from News 18 India, In the dinner held at the G-20 meeting yesterday, there was a picture that came for which people have been waiting for a long time, while handshake with President Xi Jinping, whether Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his brief meeting during that handshake, invited President Xi informally for the G-20 conference to be held in India next year or what was discussed in the meeting?

Manish Chand: Foreign Secretary, Manish Chand from India Rights Network. What was the precise contribution of India to the shaping of the Bali Declaration because there was so much speculation that there won't be any outcome document, it's like a huge breakthrough of sorts. And also going forward what was the support expressed by world leaders for India's Presidency of G-20.

Abhishek: I’m Abhishek from CNN-News18. Sir there was a talk about Prime Ministers phrase that this is not an era of war finding a place in joint communique. So now, since you have said that it has been adopted, has that phrase also find the mention there? And were there any opposition to have those things in the joint declaration from any other members of the meeting?

Maha Siddiqui: Sir, in the first working session, the Prime Minister spoke about no restrictions on energy movement. Was that in reference to the possibility of G7 coming out with a price gap on Russian oil, and has any leader raised that issue with the Prime Minister and how India will respond to the price gap?

Ravinder Singh Robin: Sir, I’m Ravinder Singh Robin, I contribute to BBC. Do you expect President Putin to be a part of the next coming G-20 Summit in India? Will it be a challenge for India to bring all the leaders?

Pranay Upadhyay: Sir, Pranay Upadhyay ABP News se, Bharat ki Presidency assume karne se pahle jo meeting thi iske andar Pradhanmantri ji ne Bharat ki G-20 Presidency ko lekar kya bhoomika taiyar ki aur kya vishay jo hai jinke upar vishv netaon ke sath samarthan maanga ho ya kis tarike se usaka adhar taiyar kiya gaya iske baithak ke andar? (Questioned in Hindi; Approximate Translation) Sir Pranay Upadhyay from ABP News, what was the role of the Prime Minister about India's G-20 presidency in the meeting that was held before assuming India's presidency and what is the subject on which support has been sought with world leaders or how the basis was prepared for the meeting?

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: Let me take one of the topics. I've got a few questions on the outcome document, there was some question on President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister’s brief interaction. Anybody else on that one? You have one okay Geeta I'll give you that. Let me tick off I don’t want to come back the same questions.

Geeta Mohan: Just a specific question, Geeta Mohan from India Today, on whether if Prime Minister's speech from SCO when he said this is not the era of war has that been incorporated and included in the outcome document. And on Xi Jinping, did any conversation on border tensions come up?

Ashish: Sir, this is Ashish from TV9, sir India ne bahut important role play kiya hai, sherpas interaction ke beech mein bhi hamane dekha tha ki lagatar jo Russia-Ukraine war ki tension ko lekar lagatar aaj subah se lagbhag saare leaders ke schedule up mark ho gaye, G7 ki bhi meeting bulayi gayi thi, indie ek important role play karta raha hai donon sides ko samjhane ke liye kya us poland mein jo attack hua uske baad mein India ke taraf se koi batchit hui hai, koi phone call hue hai? (Questioned in Hindi; Approximate Translation) Sir this is Ashish from TV9, Sir India has played a very important role, even in the midst of the Sherpas interaction, we had seen that the schedule of almost all the leaders was up marked continuously from this morning because of the tension of Russia-Ukraine War, the meeting of G7 was also called, India has been playing an important role to explain both sides. Has there been any conversation, any phone calls from India after the attack that took place in Poland?

Speaker 1: Sir, Sherpa level pe hamne suna tha ki joint communiqué ko lekar ke kuch problems the wahan par ki do hisson meh log bate hue dikhe. Kya ye jo joint document aaraha hai usme bhi is tarah ki cheezein thi Rus aur Ukraine ko lekar ke aur agar aisa tha to Bharat ne apni taraf se kya kuch suggestion usmein diya (Questioned in Hindi; Approximate Translation) Sir, at Sherpa level, we had heard that there were some problems about the joint communique, there were two groups in which people were divided. Did this joint document also contain such things about Russia and Ukraine and if it was so, then what suggestion did India give in this?

Elea: Elea from Bloomberg News. What is your message to Russian President Putin given that Russia is a strategic partner for India and as well as you will be heading the next G-20 Summit giving the unprecedented escalation of the missile attacks on Ukraine, as G-20 Suumit was happening in Bali, including this missiles hitting Polish territory. So how do you see, how do you comment why Russia decided to escalate their attacks on Ukraine exactly when all the leaders were here? How do you read this message and what is your message to Russia? India?

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: Sir, basically, we've gone through a lot of the questions, primarily they are about our role in the outcome document, about Xi Jinping and a couple of other elements. Sir, would you like to take them. Thank you.

Shri Vinay Kwatra, Foreign Secretary: Thank you. Let me, If you permit club together all the questions, comments that pertain to India's role in the current G-20 ongoing Summit, both in terms of Honourable Prime Minister’s interventions during the Summit, as also during the negotiations of the outcome document, which were conducted by our Sherpa and Sous Sherpa under the leadership and guidance of the Prime Minister. India played a key role in the successful negotiations of the outcome document. There were three key elements of this, which define this role. One was approach, which was very constructive, cooperative, and aimed at consensus building across the whole range of issues, which were negotiated in the outcome document. Naturally, the outcome document was being negotiated in a particular global context and that global context did find a mention in the outcome document and also in particular during its negotiations. And there I would say that Prime Minister's message that this is not the era of war, and that the best way is to return to the path of dialogue and diplomacy to resolve the conflict resonated very deeply across all the delegations and help to bridge the gap across different parties and contributed to the successful outcome of the document. I will not go into the specifics, but this captures a sense of both the approaches, which were taken across the whole range of areas, and also the derivative of the Prime Minister's message, which found its reflection in the success of the outcome document.

With regard to the question relating to the handshake between the Prime Minister and President Xi Jinping, I will only say that Prime Minister Modi and President Xi Jinping who were both attending the G-20 dinner yesterday, hosted by the Indonesian President exchanged courtesies at the conclusion of the dinner. With regard to the specific question of our colleague from the Bloomberg channel on message to President Putin, I will only repeat what we have said multiple times on several occasions with regard to the Russia-Ukraine conflict, that a quick resolution of this conflict through dialogue and diplomacy is the best way forward for all the parties involved and in particular, in terms of the way the conflict has impacted and its economic dimensions on the developing countries, that's the best way forward to resolve the conflict and mitigate the challenges that we face which are emerging out of the conflict.

Dekhiye jo aapne hindi mein kaha rupantar karne keliye toh main prayas karta hoon, G-20 ka jo bhi outcome document hai usamen bharat ki jo bhoomika rahi hai woh atyant hi sakaratmak rahi hai, sahyog aur sahakarya ki bhavana se prerit rahi hai aur in do siddhanto ke maddhenazar jo G-20 ke vibhinn delegations mein jo bhinn mat the unmen ek consensus build karne mein usaka ek bahut hee mahatvapoorn yogadan raha hai. Jaisa ki maine kaha mananiya pradhanmantri ji Shri Narendra Modi ji ka jo ek message tha ki this is no time for war or is conflict ko resolve karne ke liye dialogue and diplomacy hi sabse uchit madhyam hai, us message ka G-20 summit ke outcome document ke negotiation mein consensus build kar lena ek bahut hi mahatvapoorn bhoomika rahi, uska ek yogdan raha aur ek sakaratmak roop se, iska uchit roop se outcome document mein jikr bhi kahin na kahin aaya hai.

Ek bramhprakash ji ka prashn tha atankwad se sambandhit, dekhiye G-20 summit mein mukhyatah jo agenda hai woh antarrashtriya arthik sahyog ka rehta hai toh batchit aur jo session jo tino the food, energy security, health jo tritiya satra jo digital pe tha, to vartaen aur mukhya sandarbh inhi tino kshetro mein thaa. Dvipakshiy vartaen abhi pradhanmantri ji ki honi hain toh hone se pahale usamen kya kaha jayega usmein shayad kahna jyada uchit nahi hoga lekin ek bhag G-20 document ka is prakar se jarur prastavit hai jiske andar jo aatankwad se jude jo financing ke mudde hote hai countering terror financing, FATF ke mudde aate hai usmein jo antarrashtriy arthik sansthaon ki jo bhoomika hoti hai uska jikra jo hai wo avashya aata hai. Aur woh kahin na kahin jo ek digital architecture mein jo ek financial products hote hai jiska aatankwad se judi financing mein prayog hone ki sambhavana ho sakti hai usse kis prakar se challenge hai, us se kis prakar se lada jaye usaki bhoomika document meh hai, lekin baki mudde jo hai woh aage dvipakshiy vartaon men sambhavit hai ki uthaye jayenge. (Answered in Hindi; Approximate Translation) One of the questions of Brahmaprakash ji was related to terrorism, see, the agenda that is mainly in the G-20 summit is of international economic cooperation, then the dialogue and the session which covered all three food and energy security, health, the third session was on digital, the talks and the main context were in these three areas. The bilateral talks are yet to be held, it may not be very appropriate to say what will be said in it before it takes place, but a part of the G-20 document is definitely proposed in such a way that the financing issues related to terrorism, counter terror financing, issues related to FATF will appear, the role of international economic institutions in which it is definitely mentioned. And somewhere that is a financial product in a digital architecture which can be used in financing related to terrorism, how to fight this challenge is included in the document but for rest of the issues there is a possibility that they may be raised in further bilateral negotiations.

I think Prime Minister is perhaps going live in few minutes so I think we'll probably have to stop there at this point.

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: We'll have the closing session very shortly. Prime Minister will be going live in that so we'll close here very quickly.

Shri Vinay Kwatra, Foreign Secretary: When you hear Prime Minister live shortly, I'm making an assumption here, but I'm sure during his intervention, Prime Minister would be touching upon some of the key priorities that India is going to focus on. But if you heard the Honourable Prime Minister, when he launched the logo and the theme of the G-20, in his speech he outlined in quite detail some of the key outlines of our priorities. These priorities will take concrete shape as we assume the Presidency from the first of December onwards. But it would presumably fall into several key categories which Prime Minister has been speaking about, during his multiple interventions over the last few years in international fora. This would be the entire segment of sustainable lifestyles, particularly lifestyle for environment, the entire digital bucket, the digital transformation, digital economy, the challenges of energy and food security, how India can contribute to that as also building cooperation in the infrastructure space which doesn't burden the other economies with increasing debt. These were the priorities and I think as we take over the presidency on first of December, it would be our effort and we found a very strong expression, already we have seen strong expression of that effort during this presidency, we expect to get strong support from the other G-20 Members for these and many other priorities that we come out with as we go along. Thank you.

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: Thank you very much sir. Just to close by saying that we also have a bilateral now scheduled with Singapore, which will happen today afternoon, which is just added to it. As you know, we already had inaugural session with India-Singapore ministerial roundtable in September this year, and we expect the leaders to take forward expanding trade and investment linkages, particularly financial, health and pharma sectors. Thank you very much Foreign Secretary Sir, also Ambassador as well as Abhay Sous Sherpa. Thank you all for coming despite the inclement weather, and now we will see the closing session. Thank you.

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