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Transcript of Special Briefing by Foreign Secretary on Prime Minister’s visit to Japan, Papua New Guinea and Australia

May 18, 2023

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: A very good afternoon to all of you. Thank you for joining us for this special media briefing on the eve of the departure of Honourable Prime Minister to Japan, Papua New Guinea, and Australia for a series of bilateral and multilateral engagements. To give us a sense of what lies ahead, we have the privilege of having with us Foreign Secretary sir, Shri Vinay Mohan Kwatra. Also joining us on the dais Shri Saurabh Kumar, Secretary (East), Dammu Ravi, Secretary (ER).

Shri Vinay Kwatra, Foreign Secretary: Thank you very much. And good afternoon to all of you for presence here this afternoon for this special briefing on Honourable Prime Minister's upcoming visit to Japan, Papua New Guinea and Australia. At the invitation of the Japanese Prime Minister, Prime Minister Kishida, Honourable Prime Minister will be traveling to Hiroshima, Japan, tomorrow morning 19th of May to participate in the G7 summit, where India has been invited as a guest country. This would be the first leg of Prime Minister's three country visit. The G7 summit itself, this time around has chosen several key priorities for the current presidency. The broad terms of the G7 summit preferences, in particular, regarding their outreach with the invited guest countries, is one - nuclear disarmament; two - on economic resilience and economic security; three - regional issues; four - climate and energy; five - food and health and development. There are other priorities also such as digitization and science and technology, which would get highlighted in the various sessions during the G7 summit. India's participation at the G7 summit in Hiroshima would be structured around three formal sessions. Two of them would be held on 20th of May, and the third one on the 21st. The two structural sessions on the 20th are, first one that relates to food health, development, and gender equality, the second session is on climate, energy and environment and the third session on 21st of May is titled, ‘Towards peaceful, stable and prosperous world’.

India's regular participation at the G7 summits clearly points to increasing recognition that India should be a part of any serious effort to resolve global challenges, including those of peace, security, development, and environment preservation. This is even more salient in the context of our ongoing presidency of the G20 and our particular efforts to prioritize the interest and concerns of our fellow country members of the global South. Ahead of Prime Minister's participation in the G7 summit, India has also participated in several ministerial level meetings of the G7 including in particular, of one - relating to climate, energy and environment; two - relating to digital and technology; and third - relating to health and finance.

On the sidelines of the G7 summit, besides his interaction with the G7 countries and other guests countries in the three structural sessions that I mentioned, the Prime Minister will also hold bilateral discussions with several leaders of the G7 as also with the guest countries and the international organizations. Just to mention that, besides India, Japan as the G7 presidency, has also invited Australia, Brazil, Comoros, Cook Islands, Indonesia, Republic of Korea, and Vietnam and some of the international organizations including the United Nations.

Honourable Prime Minister will also hold bilateral meeting with the Prime Minister of Japan. This is still being scheduled. So we will give you more details of this as we go along. He is also scheduled to unveil a bust of Mahatma Gandhi in Hiroshima. As you are all aware, the two Prime Ministers last met during the Japan-India Summit held in New Delhi earlier in March this year. We are also planning a Quad leaders meeting in Hiroshima, with Prime Minister Kishida, President of the US, Prime Minister of Australia, and of course our Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi.

After Japan for the second leg of his three country visit, Honourable Prime Minister will visit Papua New Guinea, which will include, one - the organization and the co-chairing of the third Forum for India-Pacific Islands Cooperation, FIPIC Summit on 22 May, and also some of the bilateral meetings. Prime Minister would be reaching Port Moresby from Hiroshima in the evening of 21st of May, and will begin his bilateral engagements the next day, with a call on the Governor General of Papua New Guinea, which will be followed by a meeting with the Prime Minister of PNG, Honourable James Marape. This will be Honourable Prime minister's first visit to that country. During his stay in Port Moresby, Prime Minister will also be holding bilateral engagement with the Prime Minister of Fiji, Honourable Sitiveni Rabuka. This would be their first introduction after Mr. Rabuka came to power in December 2022. As you're all aware, a major highlight of Prime Minister's visit to Papua New Guinea is the third summit of the Forum for Indo-Pacific Islands Cooperation, FIPIC as I just mentioned earlier, which will be jointly hosted with the PNG's Prime Minister James Marape. Honourable Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, just to recall, launched this forum during his historic visit to Fiji in November 2014 when he hosted the first FIPIC Summit. The second FIPIC Summit was held in Jaipur in August 2015. And both the summits have thus far seen participation of all 14 FIPIC countries.

Just to list out the 14 PIC countries, these include, Cook Islands, Fiji, Republic of Kiribati, Republic of Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Niue, Republic of Nauru, Republic of Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu. Prime Minister will also be meeting the Prime Minister of New Zealand during his stay in Papua New Guinea. This would also be Prime Minister's first introduction with the Prime Minister of New Zealand, who was sworn in as Prime Minister earlier in January this year.

For the last leg of his three country visit, at the invitation of Prime Minister of Australia, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi will travel to Sydney on 22 to 24 of May. Prime Minister Modi is scheduled to have bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Albanese in Sydney. This will be their fifth meeting within this year. The first was held exactly a year back on the same date in Tokyo on the sidelines of Quad Leaders Summit. Prime Minister is also expected to call on the Governor General, Honourable David Hurley. Also planned during the visit is a business event where Prime Minister would be meeting the leading CEOs from Australia. Prime Minister will also be addressing the diaspora at a community event in Sydney on 23rd of May. We are expecting Honourable Prime Minister Albanese to also join Prime Minister Modi in this community event. The visit of Honourable Prime Minister of Australia comes, as you all know, within just two months of the state visit of Prime Minister Albanese to India in March this year. The first India-Australia Annual Summit was held during the visit in Delhi on 10th of March and Prime Minister Modi's last visit to Australia was in November 2014. We expect and it's also our objective that the visit to Australia will reinforce a strong priority attached by India and Australia to our bilateral relationship. I would like to end here and if there are any questions, I would be very happy to take them. Thank you very much.

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: Thank you, sir. For the ground rules, please introduce yourself, and the organization that you represent. I'll open the floor. Yes, please go ahead.

Kavita Joshi: Sir, mein Kavita Joshi hoon Haribhoomi Newspaper se. Sir, mera saval ye hai ke jo abhi aapne kaha ke Hiroshima me Quad Leader Summit hoga, to ye mana jaye ke ab Sydney me jo Quad ki meeting hone wali thi vo cancel ho gayi thi, uski jagah badal ke ab Hiroshima ho gai hai. Aur sir ispe jo bilateral meetings hai, PM ki G7 ki sidelines pe jo hone wali hai, usme se aapne Japanese Prime Minister ka to bataya hai, lekin uske alava kin countries ke nation heads ke sath Prime Minister ki bilateral meetings hongi, unke bar me bhi bataye.

(Questioned in Hindi: Approximate translation) Sir, I am Kavita Joshi from Hari Bhoomi Newspaper. Sir, my question is in regards to what you just mentioned that Hiroshima will now be hosting Quad Leaders Summit. So we should take it that the Quad Leader Summit which was supposed to be held in Sydney has now been cancelled, and will now take place in Hiroshima? And Sir, the bilateral meetings of PM, which are to be held on sidelines of G7, in that you mentioned one of them is to be with Japanese Prime Minister. Apart from that, if you can elaborate on which other countries' heads our Prime Minister is expected to have bilateral meetings with?

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: Japan ke alawa? (Questioned in Hindi: Approximate translation) Aside from Japan?

Kavita Joshi: Yes.

Sridhar: Sir, Sridhar here from The Asian Age. Somewhat related to the previous question, what are the… how different will this Hiroshima Quad Meeting be from a regular Quad Summit at Sydney? How will it be distinguished?

Raghvendra Verma: Sir, this is Raghvendra Verma from the German Television ZDF. Sir, the question is from the editor. Sir, in the western countries, they're concerned about India's being abstaining from the resolution of criticizing Russia and Ukraine War. So the question, what is India willing to do to end the war in Russia and Ukraine.

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: So the question was the last part. The first is just a comment.

Yeshi Seli: This is Yeshi Seli from The New Indian Express. Sir, during Prime Minister Modi's visit to Australia, what are the chances of upgrading the existing trade agreement to a comprehensive economic partnership agreement?

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: With?

Yeshi Seli: With Australia, during his visit to Sydney.

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: Upgrading the trade to CECA?

Yeshi Seli: Yes.

Srinjoy: Sir, Srinjoy, Times Now. Sir, you began your statement with a reference to nuclear disarmament. The PM is visiting importantly enough considering what happened in 1945, Hiroshima. Now there have been recent reports and important meetings even within the government about… since you've mentioned disarmament, nuclear disarmament, about the increasing number of nuclear warheads that are being built by the People's Republic of China from their current figure of 380 to a larger figure. They're also modernizing. There are some reports, unconfirmed, that they may even change their nuclear use policy. That’s not confirmed, but the modernization and the increase in the number is well known and it's issue of concern clearly here. Is this something that will be shared with other countries in a place like Hiroshima of all places?

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: I am sorry. I don’t think I am going to allow that question. I see very limited link with that. I understand it’s a security related issue, but this is not a nuclear security disarmament conference. Rest of it sir, I'll pass it onto you.

Shri Vinay Kwatra, Foreign Secretary: Thank you. Kavita Ji, jaise appka jo pehla prashna tha Quad ki Shikhar Varta jo Sydney me nirdharit thi aur jo, jin karano se, aur vo karan aap sab logo ko gyat hai ke vo nahi ho rahi hai, aur ab ye parayas Quad ke charo desh kar rahe hai ke Hiroshima me charo netaon ki, shirsh netaon ki upasthiti ka fayda uthate hue, Quad ki jo Shikhar Varta hai vo Hiroshima me ki jaye. Dekhiye Quad ke jo sahyog or sahkarya, aur jo unke sahyog, sahkarya ki prakriyaen hai unki sanrachna is parka se hai, unka swaroop is prakar se hai ke, Quad ki Shikhar Varta jab Hiroshima me hogi to jo agenda pichli Quad ki Shikhar Vartao me netaon ke bich me jiske prati sehmati bani hai us sehmati ke aadhar pe Quad kis prakar se aage sahyog kare, aage sahkarya kare vibhinn kshetron me, aarthik kshetra hai, maritime domain awareness ke kshetra hai, development cooperation ke kshetra hai, Indo-Pacific me kis prakar se Quad desh apna sahyog aur aage badhaye, usse sambandhit jo mudde hai, vo sare ke sare mudde ab jo hai Hiroshima me, yadi is Quad Shikhar Varta ka samaye se aayojan ho pata hai, to usme vo puri tarah se discuss kiye jayenge.

Sydney me Shikhar Varta ka na ho pana aur uska ab Hiroshima me hona vo ek prakar se venue me to change hai, lekin jo sahyog ki jo mukhya bhumika hai, uski jo prashthabhumi hai, uske jo specific aspects hai, usme kisi bhi prakar ka koi bhi parivartan jo hai vo nahi aayega. Jaha tak bilateral dwipakshiya meetings ka prashna hai, Hiroshima me, Japan aur kai anya desho ke sath bilateral meetings abhi is samay planning ki phase me hai, apkeshit hai anya netaon ke sath bhi. Jaise, jaise ye meetings ki sanrachna aur inka time slots spasht roop se nirdharit hota jayega, ham aapko jo hai uski vistrit jankiri samay, samay par dete rahenge.

(Answered in Hindi: Approximate translation) Thank you Kavita ji. Regarding your first question that the Quad Summit, which was set to take place in Sydney, and now, for the reasons known to all of you, has been cancelled. And now all four Quad nations are putting efforts to take advantage of presence of Heads of all four Nations in Hiroshima and organize Quad Leaders’ Meeting there. Look, the structure and nature of Quad is such that when Quad Leaders’ Meeting will take place in Hiroshima, then the agenda of previous Quad Leaders’ Meeting on which all nations heads agreed upon will determine Quad’s cooperation in different sectors, such as economy, maritime domain awareness, development cooperation, taking forward Quad cooperation in Indo-Pacific and matters relating to that. All these matters will be discussed in Hiroshima if the Quad Leaders’ Meeting could be timely organized there.

While the Quad Leaders’ Meeting not taking placing in Sydney and now taking place in Hiroshima is a change in venue, there has not been any change in the specific aspects of cooperation in Quad. Insofar as PM’s bilateral meetings are concerned, in Hiroshima, bilateral meetings with Japan and many other countries are in planning stage. As the structure and time slots of these meetings are confirmed, we will provide detailed information to you.

Shri Vinay Kwatra, Foreign Secretary: Sridhar, just to continue to what I said, I think the elements of our engagement among the Quad countries across various domains, there would be absolutely no change in our collective objective to, one - strengthen them; two - build further layers of partnership and cooperation on them. When the four leaders meet in Hiroshima, they would naturally take a stock, good assessment of what has been the current status of engagement among the Quad countries and then also build further on that. A lot of preparation has gone on for this Quad meeting. There are several deliverables which we are expecting to come out of it. And I think all that would be showcased when the four leaders meet in Hiroshima.

Sridhar: (inaudible)

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: Sorry, you're not you're not audible without the mic. If you've ever supplementary we'll come back to it.

Shri Vinay Kwatra, Foreign Secretary: On the question from you with regard to… look our position on Russia-Ukraine conflict has been, you know, spoken, reiterated n number of times, both in our press briefings here, and also outside this forum. Prime Minister has also spoken about what he himself believes should be the path forward for the resolution of this conflict. You would have all heard when, during his meeting with the Russian president in Samarkand, he clearly said that this is not an era of war. And as this is not an era of war, the resolution of this conflict has to be through dialogue and diplomacy. That is the fundamental anchor on which our political positioning and the pursuit of our economic interests and other interest is based insofar as this conflict is concerned. This, as I said, has been enunciated and repeated several times.

With regard to the question on upgradation of the current framework agreement that we have with Australia into the next one, look the discussions on broad basing, trade investment and other elements of economic partnership between India and Australia is an ongoing discussion. Naturally, end objective is that we try to upscale and upgrade our current framework of partnership into Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement, but those conversations are still going on. At this stage, I don't think it would be correct for me to conclusively say whether we would be able to achieve that objective prior to this visit, but it is something which is very substantive and a lot of work needs to go into it before you conclude that.

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: One second. You have a clarification question.

Sridhar: Sir just small clarification. So this is a regular Quad summit in Hiroshima. Am I right in understanding that? This is not just a meeting or informal. This is a regular Quad summit in Hiroshima the venue has changed from Sydney. Am I right in saying that?

Shri Vinay Kwatra, Foreign Secretary: When the four Quad leaders meet, it is a Quad summit.

Madhurendra: Sir Madhurendra from News Nation se. Mera sawal ye hain ki Pradhan Mantri Modi aur PM Kishida ke bich baat chit hogi usme kya bullet train ke project ko discuss kiya jayega kyunki deadline ko le kar aur finance ko le kar kai tarha se sawal hain jo dono taraf se report kiye gaye hain time to time. Aur dusara sawal Australia ke dauran kya PM Modi kisi Gurudware ko jayenge aur kya waha PM Anthony Albanese ke saath baat chit hogi uske dauran jo Khalistan ka mudda hain aur khas tar jo radical elements hai unpar bhi baatchit hogi?

(Questions in Hindi: Approximate translation) Hello, Madhurendra from News Nation. My question is, during the conversation between Prime Minister Modi and PM Kishida, will the bullet train project be discussed, considering the various concerns raised by both sides regarding the deadline and financing, as reported from time to time? And my second question is, during the visit to Australia, will PM Modi visit any Gurudwara and will there be a discussion with PM Anthony Albanese regarding the Khalistan issue and specifically about radical elements?

Smita: Smita Sharma here. Has there been any discussion on formal expansion of the G7 perhaps including a membership for India too and there is supposed to be an event where leaders including the Prime Minister will meet with the families of the atomic bombings victims. Do you think in that context, India's status as a non-NPT signatory could also come up for discussions.

Tawqeer: Tawqeer from the Yomiuri Shimbun. there is one of the programs in the G7…

Shri Vinay Kwatra, Foreign Secretary: Sorry which?

Tawqeer: Tawqeer from the Yomiuri Shimbun, Japan. So there is one of the program in G7, where the invited leaders are going to visit the Peace Museum. So I just want to understand that what is the significance of it in India, for India? And since Smita mentioned about our nuclear policy.

Akshay Dongare: Hi sir it's an unrelated question. Akshay Dongare from India Today. Sir a bit unrelated question, but this question is on a baby Ariha. It's been 20 months since…

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: It is unrelated. Can we move on to something else?

Manas: This is Manas from PTI, Press Trust of India. I just wanted to ask you, India is holding the presidency of G20 and Prime Minister Modi is going for G7 summit. And there have been so many areas of convergence so is he going to seek convergence between the two groupings in dealing with pressing challenges like food, energy security, etc. Thank you.

Sidant Mishra: Hello sir, I am Sidant from CNN News 18. Sir my question in that regards to U.S. Annual Religious Freedom Report. And why I'm asking this question is because there is a possibility that Prime Minister will hold bilateral with the President Biden on the sidelines of G7 in Japan. So will this issue be raised? Because with each passing year, this report comes up? And India condemns it, India calls it false. So is there going to be any end of…?

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: I didn't get your question, who will raise it?

Sidhant Mishra: The Prime Minister, India side.

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: We should raise their report.

Sidhant Mishra: The report because each year we condemn it.

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson:
We have said what we have to say. But I will leave it to Foreign Secretary to add anything.

Shashank Mattoo: Sir the G7, of course, is also expected to talk about debt relief. It's also expected to talk about food security. These are of course priorities that India has also pushed through its presidency, the G20. Are you optimistic about certain specific deliverables in terms of policies? For example, (inaudible) debt relief for developing countries, that's a major economic priority right now.

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: This is from, I'm not clear. Is this from the G7 or the G7 Partners meeting?

Shashank Mattoo: Yes. But during the meeting, is India likely to push that at table, debt relief and…

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: Debt relief and all, okay. Yes.

Shri Vinay Kwatra, Foreign Secretary: I think I'll just pick up the last one first. You see, the way the G7 summit is organized, there are two parts to it. The first part is discussions among the G7 countries. The agenda for those discussions does not include the guest country participation. The second part of it is where G7 countries interface with the invited guest countries on a set of global priorities, which are naturally of interest to the world in general, but also in particular to the developing countries. Along with Prime Minister I mentioned to you the other countries, which have been invited. In this outreach of G7 summit members with the invited countries, the discussion will revolve around three sessions which I mentioned to you. And if you look at the areas of focus, which I mentioned, they include food security, health security, development cooperation, gender equality, climate, energy and environment and the stability and prosperity of world in general. All these are essentially areas which are very crucial not just for global growth, but also particularly for the developing world. What specific deliverables come out of these discussions between the G7 Summit members and the invited countries I think once those sessions are over, we will be sharing them with you. Many of them are still under discussions and over the next 48 to 72 hours, they will take a concrete shape and in that sense, we will be able to then share them with you.

Dekhiye Japan ke Pradhan Mantri ji ke saath kin kin muddon pe batchit hogi wo to is samay mera kehna uchit nahi hoga, lekin ye apekshit hain ke jab dono neta milenge toh arthik sahyog ke sabhi vishayon pe aur jo hamare samrik sahyog aur sehkarya ke keshtra hain un sabhi vishayon pe bhi dono netagan avashya charcha karenge. Magar jaise ki maine kaha ki dwipakshiy vartayain abhi Japan aur baki deshon ke saath abhi unki scheduling chal rahi hai, jab ek bar unka spastikaran ho jata hain to uske baad wo jaankari hum aapke saath share kar sakenge.

Australia ki yatra ke dauran bhi ye hum apeksha kar sakte hain ki jab dono neta aapas mai varta karenge toh dwipakshiy sahyog ke sabhi muddon pe vistar se batchit ki jayegi, ye swabhawik hain ke sahyog ke kshetron mai wo kshetra bhi shamil hain jo ki dono samajon ki suraksha ke hiton se jude hue hain aur un muddon par avashya hi jo hain batchit hogi. Khalistan ka jahan tak mudda hain us mudde ki sehenshilta, uski samvedanshilta ko lete hue hamne ye mudda kai baar Australia ke samksh rakha hain aur is vishay pe hamari aur Australia ke bich mai lagatar varta jo hain jari rehti hain.

(Answered in Hindi: Approximate translation) See it would not be appropriate for me to speculate on the specific issues that will be discussed with Japan's Prime Minister at this time. However, it is expected that when the two leaders meet, they will definitely discuss all matters related to economic cooperation and strategic partnership. As I mentioned earlier, bilateral talks with Japan and other countries are currently being scheduled, and once their details are finalized, we will be able to share that information to you.

During the visit to Australia, we can also expect that when the two leaders will engage in dialogue, there will be extensive discussions on issues related to bilateral cooperation. It is natural that areas of bilateral cooperation, linked to the security interests of both societies, will be included in these discussions. Regarding the issue of Khalistan, taking into account its sensitivity, we have raised this issue on several occasions with Australia, and discussions between our two countries continue on this matter.

I think there was a question with regard to the meeting between the leaders participating there and a meeting with the family members or the visit to different memorials or monuments in Hiroshima. There are several parts of our own Prime Minister's program in Hiroshima as also with the G7 leaders which are still developing, which still have to take shape. And as I said, once those program elements are finalized, and those activities do take place, we would be very happy to share with you, not just the significance of that particular thing that finalizes, but also the context in which those elements of the visit and events and activities in Hiroshima have been finalized. So that is, I think, in the post...

Speaker: Could that be a, you know, a subject of discussion given the focus on nuclear disarmament, India is not a signatory to the nuclear non proliferation? So would that be a subject of discussion and any... the formal expansion of the G7 membership, is that something…?

Shri Vinay Kwatra, Foreign Secretary: Look, India is not a G7 member. So, it would be very incorrect for a non G7 member to even talk about G7 member expansion, I think, that's a question which probably needs to be addressed to the G7 itself. As I have already highlighted to you in my remarks, the sessions structural subjects, which are going to be the focus of discussions between the G7 summit leaders and the invited countries, and I just answered a little while earlier with regard to this would be focused on food security, health security, development, cooperation, climate, energy, environment and peaceful, stable and prosperous world. Now, naturally, the visit is set in Hiroshima, which has a certain context, and I think the world is fully aware of what our positions have been on the nuclear disarmament and I think those positions have been articulated several times. And there is absolutely nobody in any doubt in terms of where India stands, when it comes to the peace and stability and the nuclear disarmament in the rest of the world. But specific elements of the program which you mentioned, the Peace Museum, meeting with the families, I think those are something which as and when they get finalized, we'd be very happy to share them with you.

Rishikesh: Sir Rishikesh from PTI. So as to what extent the topic of counter terrorism, expected to be discussed during the bilateral of PM Modi with Biden and will India request President Biden's assistance in expediting the extradition of Tahawwur Rana, Pakistan terrorist.

Abhishek Kapoor: Sir I am Abhishek Kapoor from Republic TV. There have been some specific and open threats by some Khalistani elements to disrupt Prime Minister's Sydney events. Has it been taken up insofar as providing additional layer of security is concerned (Inaudible) And second..

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: Taking two questions? Quick fast.

Abhishek Kapoor: Just about half an hour back, we reported about, about half an hour back we reported of Indian naval assets assisting Chinese People's Liberation Army Navy in search and rescue operations…

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: Sorry not relevant. I'm happy to discuss separately, no, sorry, not relevant, please. Huma.

Huma Siddiqui: I am Huma Siddiqui from Financial Express. Just wanted to know what would be the focus of the third forum meeting in Papua New Guinea. And there's also news that there are several agreements which are going to be in during that visit. So can you just talk about that, please?

Akhilesh Suman: Sir I am Akhilesh Suman from Sansad TV. We had organized a meeting of global South. And when Prime Minister Narendra Modi is going to participate in the outreach of G7 what is the message that we want to communicate to the members of G7 at this moment?

Suman Sharma: Sir I am Suman Sharma. Sir you mentioned the last FIPIC Summit was held in Jaipur in 2015. So and it's happening now. So why did it take so long? Why didn't it happen in these years?

Shri Vinay Kwatra, Foreign Secretary: I think we'll just if you all allow, I think, Huma Siddiqui's question on the third FIPIC Summit and what the priorities are, I would request my colleague, Secretary East Mr. Saurabh Kumar, to first answer that, please. Yeah.

Saurabh Kumar: So let me take your question first. The thrust of our cooperation with the Pacific Island countries has been to a very large extent around the areas which are of importance to these countries. And these include things like sustainable development, sustainability, quick impact projects, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, etc and we have undertaken certain projects out there also, including in the area of IT sector. We have an MOU in the area of sustainability, you know, which was an announcement, which was made last time and subsequently it was signed. What the exact outcomes of this particular summit would be, we would have to wait and see what outcomes are there. I think as far as your question, madam, is concerned about why there was a delay. We had, the forum summit had been scheduled some time ago for 2020. But because of, you know, COVID and other scheduling difficulties, it could not be held at that point of time, and we are having it now. Thank you.

Shri Vinay Kwatra, Foreign Secretary: I think the first question, was whether the question of counter-terrorism and speedy extradition of Tahawwur Rana whether that could be taken up with President Biden's discussion so I think that was your first question. Look, as I've already mentioned to you, the bilateral meetings on the sidelines of the G7 summit at Hiroshima are still being firmed up. So I am not going to make any assumptions about which meetings would happen, which meetings would not happen but whatever bilateral meetings that Prime Minister holds on the sidelines of the G7 summit, with whichever leader, the entire gamut of the bilateral relationship with that particular country would fall under the scope of discussions between the Prime Minister and that leader, but very specifically, not connected to the question of which bilateral meeting will take place or not. Insofar as the question of Tahawwur Rana is concerned we are in a very regular touch with the U.S. authorities to ensure that there is speedy and early extradition of Tahawwur Rana. We've all seen the judgment which was given by the local U.S. court there. That conversation of ours with the US side is continuing.

Abhishek, this question on security etc, for the visit of the Prime Minister. Look, whenever Honourable Prime Minister travels to any destination, all elements relating to logistical and security arrangements of his visit are duly taken care of. But those are the questions that we don't comment on but the relevant people are, who are charged with that responsibility, do take full care of that.

On the question relating to what will be our message from the global South to the G7 leader. Along with of course, what are also the focus areas of India's G20 presidency. Look when we did the briefing on the voice of Global South Summit here in this room, we had mentioned that one very clear sense that came across during the voice of Global South Summit was that the countries of the global south clearly felt that their priorities of development; a debt free development or development which doesn't burden them with debt; the problems which they faced particularly during the pandemic and thereafter of food security, health security; the way the societies of the Global South suffer because of the challenges of climate change; the way they think the Global South needs to be looked at when you look at liberalized global trade regime. It was clear since that came out of the meeting of the voice of the Global South, that these priorities are not adequately or deeply or properly addressed by the countries of the West. When even in the past meetings, whenever Honourable Prime Minister has spoken at such multilateral forum, he has always been in the forefront, championing the cause and the priorities of the Global South countries. And naturally, that would also be one of his priorities when he engages and interfaces with the leaders of the G7 summit during his visit to Hiroshima.

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: Thank you very much, sir. My thanks also to other Secretaries, particularly Secretary (East), Saurabh Kumar and Secretary (ER) Shri Dammu Ravi for joining us on this briefing. Thank you all for joining. Please stay tuned to our updates on our social media and otherwise, on the forthcoming visit of Prime Minister to these three nations. Thank you.

Shri Vinay Kwatra, Foreign Secretary: Thank you very much.

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