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Transcript of Weekly Media Briefing by the Official Spokesperson (October 12, 2023)

October 12, 2023

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: A very good afternoon to all of you. Thank you for joining us for this weekly press briefing. I see a large turnout. Always nice to see that. I have an announcement and then I'll open the floor for questions.

You would be aware of the developments in Israel. As announced by External Affairs Minister yesterday, Operation Ajay has been launched to facilitate the return from Israel of our citizens who wish to come back. The first charter flight will be reaching Tel Aviv later tonight to pick up Indian citizens and is likely to return to India tomorrow morning. We will share with you information about further flights as they are finalized. This is still an evolving situation. As you are aware, External Affairs Minister took a preparatory meeting earlier in the day. We were also in touch with, of course, with our Embassy in Tel Aviv, our Representative Office in Ramallah, as well as with the Missions in the neighbouring countries there, particularly Jordan, Syria, Egypt, etc. And we are keeping a close watch on developments as well as what steps we need to take to assist Indian citizens who are in Israel. With that announcement, I am happy to try to take questions on that.

Sidhant: Hi, this is Sidhant from WION. How worrisome do you see the situation on ground for Indian citizens in Israel, if you can talk about that? And also, are we reaching out to Israel in terms of any support, especially when it comes to weapons? Are we considering that?

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: Let me do one thing. I think there might be interest in this topic, so let's take that together. There are other issues. So, yeah, go ahead. This is on the situation in Israel.

Meghna Dev: Sir, Meghna from DD News. Any figure on how many Indian nationals have registered to be evacuated and how many flights are we planning initially?

Siddhant: Hi, Sir. I'm Siddhant from CNN News 18. The Foreign Ministry of Israel has confirmed that they have reached understanding with some countries, where those countries are sending reservists in a flight to Israel, and Israel will send their citizens back. Is this the same understanding they have with India?

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: Could you repeat? Understanding with India, between the Foreign Ministry of Israel?

Siddhant: No. Israel and India, Sir, because other European countries are sending their people back in the same flight, and then that flight is taking their citizens. It's like a barter.

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: Yes. I'm sorry. Okay. Can you repeat your question? What exactly is barter…?

Siddhant: Yeah. Reservists, Israelis reservists.

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: Israelis going back. Yeah. Got it.

Siddhant: So are we also sending some reservists back in this flight?

Sandeep: Sir, Sandeep from New 18 India. Sir, mera sawal hai ki Air Force ko bhi aap logon ne standby pe rakha hai agar jarurat padi toh, kya air force ka bhi istemaal kiya jayega is evacuation ke liye?

[Question in Hindi: Approximate translation] Sir, Sandeep from New 18 India. Sir, my question is whether the Air Force has also been put on standby by you, and if needed, will the Air Force be utilized for this evacuation?

Manas: This is Manas from PTI. I just want to know, in fact, how India sees the overall situation that has arisen out of the conflict between Israel and Hamas and our position on Palestinian cause. So what do you have to say on that in the context of the current situation?

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: Your question is on the Palestinian position, right?

Manas: Yeah. As well as overall situation, Sir.

Ayushi Agarwal: Sir Ayushi Agarwal from ANI. Sir, there were reports where an Indian caregiver from Kerala who was injured during the attack by Hamas. Are we in touch with her family and any Indian casualty that we know of?

Rishikesh: Sir, Rishikesh from PTI. Is India supporting Israel in war against Hamas? Especially there are reports of massive of civilian casualties in Gaza.

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: Sorry I didn't get your question. Could you repeat it?

Rishikesh: Is India supporting Israel on war against Hamas?

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: By doing what?

Rishikesh: Moral or like that.

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: Generally, you mean what is our stand?

Rishikesh: Yes. And did PM Modi convey to Israeli PM that this is not an era of war?

Yeshi Seli: Yeshi Seli from the New Indian Express. Is there any evacuation program for Indians stuck in Palestine as well, or this is only for Israel?

Milan: Milan from India today. Just want to understand India's stance now, considering the recent events. Will India also go ahead and look at changing its stance, or maybe trying to suggest, as other nations are suggesting, that Hamas is a terrorist organization?

Meghna Dev: Sir, Meghna from DD News. We know that security has been increased outside the Embassy of Israel in New Delhi and also other Jewish establishments. Are there any security concerns that the Israel Embassy has conveyed to us?

Pia: Hi, Pia with the Print. Just a simple question. How many Indians in the first batch?

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: Which batch?

Pia: The first batch of Indians being evacuated in the flight.

Devirupa: This is Devirupa from the Wire. I'm just appending to the earlier questions from Manas and others. Other countries, for example, UAE, Jordan, Egypt, and Japan, they've all called for maximum restraint on.... they've not named which party, but they called all sides to exercise maximum restraint. Is that also something that we would like to add to it? Add our voice to it.

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: Add to what, sorry?

Devirupa: Add our voice to the call of restraint in the region.

Rishabh: Sir, Palestinian envoy to India yesterday in an interview said that he would ask India to intervene and de-escalate the whole issue. What's India's position on that? This is Rishabh from Times Now, Sir.

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: Okay, I'll try to answer many of these questions now. I think a lot of similar questions. Look, I think on this, you've seen the statements or the comments by Prime Minister. I think that's been very clear on them. But let me try to answer some of the specific queries that you had.

Let me first look at Operation Ajay. Look, as I said, the ferry flight is expected to reach today, later in the evening. And then hopefully, they'll pick up passengers and come back tomorrow morning. We expect, I think, it can carry about 230-odd passengers. That's what we're hoping can fill it up. But depending... look, this number is broad. How many people can get onto a flight is determined by various factors, including what is the flight parameters. So let's say in that range, we were trying to work that out. So that was one.

Aapne pucha tha Sandeep ji ki hamari vayu sena ki agar... ji hamare pas sare options hain. Jo jarurat padega hum woh use karenge. Abhi ke liye charter flight gayi hai, par jaisa ki humne kaha humne purane kuch aise sthitiyon mai hamare vayu sena ka bhi assistance liya hai. toh abhi ke liye hum abhi charter flight dekh rahe hain, par ye main ye rule out nahi karunga.

[Answer in Hindi: Approximate Translation] You had asked, Sandeep ji, whether our Air Force is..., yes, we have all options. We will use whatever is needed. Right now, charter flight has been sent, but as we mentioned, in previous similar situations, we have also taken assistance from our Air Force. So, for now, we are currently looking at charter flights, but I won't rule this out.

There was a query Siddhant, about people being taken on this side. Look, that I think you would ask the Israeli embassy. We have chartered a flight for bringing people back. So how it happens, talk to the charter organization and the Embassy, I think, is the best to answer your query on that one. There's no barter.

Then there was a query of how many Indians, I think Meghna, you asked that question, how many Indians. Look, this is a dynamic situation. It's evolving. There are a lot of people. In fact, I would request Indians in Israel, if you haven't registered with the Embassy, please do register with the Embassy. But we are taking it based on the number of flights. So today's flights, we have the numbers that are there. And we will have more flights depending on the demand for them. So at this point, we are trying to address it as per the demands.

As regards security concerns, look, this is a topic I will not be in a position to discuss. You have to ask the agencies. We will, of course, as part of our obligations on the Vienna Convention, provide all necessary security to countries that have their Embassies or diplomatic Missions here. But what measures and et cetera is best left to the judgment of experts in that field. I don't want to comment on it.

I think you had a query, Sidhant, right in the beginning about weapons of support. I'm not aware of any such request or anything that we are doing, at all. Our focus right now is to make sure that those Indians who are in Israel are able to come out of Israel, those who want to. I think there are about 18,000-odd Indian citizens. A small percentage of that are Indian students, (inaudible).

You said, how worrisome is the situation? Of course, look, a situation where there is conflict going on is of concern. But I would request the Indian citizens there to follow the advisories issued by our Mission in Tel Aviv. And they are the best judge. And be cautious, take the precautions. And if they feel that they need assistance, to reach out to our Embassy directly.

Ayushi, you asked about one person, one citizen, who was there, I think injured. Yes, we are aware of that case. Of course, we are in touch with them. I understand the person is in hospital, but I think improving or in a better situation. We are also, of course, thankfully have not heard of any Indian casualty so far.

I think there was also a question by Yeshi, are you looking at evacuation? There's not so much in evacuation as we are actually getting focuses on assisting people, getting out. I think my understanding, the number is about a dozen or 13 or something…a dozen odd people are in the West Bank and three or four in Gaza. So if they request assistance, we will. But that number, as you can imagine, is very small. And we will see what needs to be done. For the moment, we haven't received requests there. The requests what we have received are largely from Israel.

Moving on to the discussions that have happened largely on this. Look, let me try to answer some of those. On the issue of how we see Hamas, for example…As you are aware, the designation of a terrorist organization under Indian laws is a legal matter. And I would refer you, I think, Milan, you asked…I would refer you to the relevant authorities in this. I think we've been very clear that we see this as a terrorist attack. But on the designation part, the relevant authorities are best place to respond to it.

How do we see the situation on Palestine or our position on that? Our policy in this regard has been long-standing and consistent. India has always advocated the resumption of direct negotiations towards establishing a sovereign, independent, and viable state of Palestine, living within secure and recognized borders side by side at peace with Israel. And I think that position remains the same.

There were some queries about how do we see the developments that are happening, including the violence that's taken place, as well as did Prime Minister raise some issues. I think Prime Minister's conversation or his comments stand on their own. And I think they do not require any clarification. On Palestine, as I mentioned, we have said our position…on what is our long-standing position. The only element that I would like to add is that there is...regarding particularly the humanitarian situation or the developments, you said, I think, restraint, Devirupa, you had asked. And Rishabh, I think you had asked about whether the intervention, I don't know what you meant by intervention. As I said, our focus is to assist our citizens. But there is an universal obligation, I think, to observe international humanitarian law. There is also a global responsibility to fight the menace of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. And I think that accurately sums up how we look at this position.

I think I have covered most of the queries. If there are a couple of more hands…if there is something on an extra or additional clarification or….and then we will move on to some other topics.

Madhurima: Sir, I'm Madhurima from Republic TV. I want to ask that how is India connecting with other nations in the Middle-East on the Israel situation? Like we heard that EAM speaking to UAE counterpart, any other conversations that are happening in this connection. Thank you, Sir.

Madhurendra: Sir, Madhurendra main News Nation se. Strategic partner ke taur par hum Israel ki kya madad kar sakte hain? Aur kya taiyari hai? kyuki pichle agar 65 se lekar 71 ke war mai dekhain toh Israel ne unconditional bharat ki madat ki thi. Is waqt Israel war mai hai aur ye ek declared war hai toh hum unki kya strategically madat kar rahe hain ya kar sakte hain?

[Question in Hindi: Approximate Translation] Sir, I'm Madhurendra from News Nation. As a strategic partner, what assistance can we provide to Israel? What preparations are in place? Because if we look from the 65 war to the 71 war, Israel had provided unconditional support to India. Currently, Israel is in a state of war, and it is a declared war. What strategic assistance are we giving or can offer to them?

Sandhya: Sandhya from ET. Sir, I just want to get a sense, given this background with what's happening in Israel, what is the status of IMEC? And do you think that will be impacted in any way now?

Yeshi Seli: Just to follow up only, considering what would India's position be as U.S. has reiterated to Israel that they must follow laws of the war? And what is India's position on that? Because as we all know, Gaza Strip is now being...

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: I just answered the question, but I'll repeat that.

Shalinder: Sir, Shalinder, News 18 se. Ek clarification, kya hum isko evacuation bol rahe hain ya nahi? kyuki tweet mai bhi humne dekha ki evacuation is not mentioned, it's been said ki unko facilitate kiya ja raha hai waha se return, jo waha se return hona chah rahe hain unke liye, kyunki airspace abhi band nahi hua hai.

[Question in Hindi: Approximate Translation] Sir, this is Shalinder from News 18. One clarification, are we calling this an evacuation or not? Because in the tweet also, we've seen that evacuation is not mentioned; it's been said that they are being facilitated for return from there, for those who want to return from there, because airspace has not been closed yet.

Dusra sawal jo Gaza mai ek kashmiri lady hain, jo fasi hui hain, unke husband Palestinian hain, ye case aapki knowledge me hoga. Unke return ke liye, kyuki aapne kaha ki 12 ke aas paas West Bank me hain aur 4 ke aas paas Gaza me hain, unke return ke liye koi plan abhi hai? Ya unko wahan se nikalne ka aisa koi Operation Ajay bhi chalaya jayega?

[Question in Hindi: Approximate Translation] Another question, there is a Kashmiri lady stranded in Gaza whose husband is Palestinian. This case might be in your knowledge. For their return... because you mentioned that there are around 12 individuals in West Bank and around 4 in Gaza. Is there a plan for their return? or will any such Operation Ajay be carried out for their return also?

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: Okay. Let me just take…Milan, on your question, let me repeat what I just said. I think that sums up as I said. We do believe there is a universal obligation to observe international humanitarian law. And there is also a global responsibility to fight the menace of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. I think that addresses your query. I don't want to repeat it again.

Madhurendra aapne pucha tha, dekhiye hamari jo ismai policy se rahi hain woh hamesha se long standing rahi hain, consistent bhi rahi hain. Bharat ne hamesha kaha hai ki direct negotiations kiya jaye, unki shuruwat phir se karain, uska samarthan kiya hain, taki israel ke sath shanti se, surakshit, aur recognised seemaon ke bhitar rahne wale ek samprabhu, swatantra, aur viable Palestinian state ki sthapna karega. Aap chahte the hindi mai.

[Answer in Hindi: Approximate Translation] Madhurendra, you asked, look, our policy in this regard has been long standing and consistent. India has always advocated the resumption of direct negotiations towards establishing a sovereign, independent and viable State of Palestine living within secure and recognized borders, side by side at peace with Israel. You wanted it in Hindi.

Madhurima you had asked about how is India connecting…look, in the world of diplomacy, we are always engaged in conversations and contacts. At the External Affairs Minister level, as you correctly mentioned, he had a talk. Whenever there is some specific engagement that takes place, we will certainly share with you, but of course we maintain close contacts and we have been at various levels with all relevant stakeholders and I think that's part of our diplomatic outreach.

Sandhya, your query was on IMEC, was it? I think you are comparing apples and oranges in terms of the current one. Look, the issues of let's say the IMEC, the initiative like that, these are initiatives with long-term significance and what you are talking about in terms of what we are addressing in terms of let's say Operation Ajay is a response to a terrorist attack and what we have to do. So I think those are not comparable. We value the IMEC as an initiative with long-term significance.

Shalinder, aapka prashna tha, evacuation keh... Pata nahi is nomenclature se kya fark padta hai, hamare liye focus hai ki kis tarah se Bharat ke nagrik jo wahan pe hain unko wapis la paye jo aana chahte hain.

[Answer in Hindi: Approximate Translation] Shalinder, your question was whether to call evacuation... I don't know what difference the nomenclature makes. For us, the focus is on how we can bring back the Indian citizens who wish to return from there.

Gaza mai aapne jikar kiya, hain hamare 3 ya 4 citizens hain, hum unke sath sampark mai hain. Par abhi jo constraints hain usmai, dikkat hai unko directly nikalne ke liye, par hum koshish kar rahe hain jo bhi solution ho sake, usmai hum jitna madad kar sake hum karenge.

[Answer in Hindi: Approximate Translation] You mentioned about Gaza, yes our 3 or 4 citizens are there. We are in contact with them. However, there are currently some constraints in directly bringing them out, but we are making efforts to provide solution and will provide whatever assistance we can.

Madhurendraji, sorry aapka prashna…strategic partner ke taur pe…dekhiye aap galat prashna puch rahe hain. unhone humse manga hai kuch aisa? Mujhe toh malum nahi hai. Jitna humne keh diya. Pradhan Mantri ji ne jo kehna tha unhone apne tweet mai keh diya hai, unka press release bhi nikla hai. Uske aage main kuch keh nahi paunga. Aur mujhe aisa kuch malum nahi unhone kuch specific request ki hai hume.

[Answer in Hindi: Approximate Translation] Madhurendraji, sorry your question…as a strategic partner... look, you are asking the wrong question. Have they requested something specific from us? I don't know any such thing. As we have said, what the Prime Minister had to say, he has stated in his tweet, and a press release has also been issued. I won't be able to comment further. I am not aware of any such specific request from them.

Moving on to other topics. Go ahead Sudhi.

Sudhi Ranjan: Sir, Shudhi Ranjan from Bloomberg. Sir, moving away from Israel and Gaza. On Canada, Sir, there have been reports that the External Affairs Minister had met his Canadian counterpart. Now, can you give us a confirmation or a denial on that? Denial or confirmation or any details of the meeting, whatever is possible, Sir. And also, adding to that, the Speaker, Canadian Speaker, was absent at the G20 Parliamentary... G20 Lawmakers' Meet. Now, is India seeing this as a continuation of spat between India and Canada, or is it seeing it separately, as a separate incident?

Vineeta Pandey: This is Vineeta Pandey from the Asian Age Deccan Chronicle. My question is, what is the update on the Canadian diplomat staff here, given that India had asked for parity in ranks and numbers. Is there any update on that?

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: Okay. Let me, maybe take all the Canadian ones together. Anything else?

Ayushi Agarwal: Sir, Ayushi Agarwal from ANI. Sir, Canadian Prime Minister, while discussing this Israel-Hamas situation with some of his leaders, he brought up the issue of India, he said the diplomatic spat, and also... your comment on that, his discussion with Jordan and UAE ministers.

Madhurima: Sir, I wanted to ask that if Canadian diplomats who were supposed to leave, have they left or not? Because Canadian reports are suggesting that there has been an understanding between the two countries and that they're not… And an extension to that, that Trudeau has been tweeting that while speaking to the world leaders, he's also talking about India to them. How does MEA respond?

Yeshi Seli: Is any Canadian parliamentarian coming for the P20?

Pia: Pia with the Print, just wanted to clarify some claims that came in a Financial Times report recently that said EAM met Canadian…

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: First question by Sudhi already. Anybody else?

Manas: Manas from PTI. The reports from Canada actually indicated that Canadian Foreign Ministry suggesting, actually questioning India's argument on parity of diplomatic presence, saying that no such provision exists under the Vienna Convention. So what do you have to say on that?

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: Okay. Let me just try to answer. I think there are two or three types of questions.

Let me start with the basic one, the parity one. We've spoken about parity here earlier, a couple of times I think. Let me stress that we remain committed to what we said, that is ensuring parity in our diplomatic presence. We remain engaged with Canadian authorities on the modalities of achieving that. And when we have something specific to share, we will certainly do so. For the moment, let me just emphasize that we are engaged with the Canadian authorities to ensure the parity, that we have mentioned.

There was a related question on Prime Minister Trudeau having raised this with other leaders. Look, I don't know really how this helps address the core issue. And what is the core issue? The space given by Canada to terrorists and criminal elements. And as regards upholding international conventions that came up in that conversation, some of them, as well as I think, Manas's query…we would urge Canada to take more seriously their international obligations to provide security to our diplomats and their premises. From our part, I can assure you that everything India is doing is in compliance with the Vienna Convention on diplomatic relations. So I think Manas, that was a specific query you had.

As for the query about reports of meeting between External Affairs Minister and his Canadian counterpart, let me say that we have been in touch with the Canadians at various levels. Regarding any specific interaction, I don't have any particular information to share.

Yeshi, your question about Canadian Parliament or if anybody else is coming. We invite all members for G20 events, in this case the P20. Participation is their decision and is subject to a number of factors. I think you should ask them. I'll have to check whether anybody is actually attending from Canada, because I think the Parliament Speaker could not attend.

Huma Siddiqui: Sir, I'm Huma Siddiqui from the Financial Express. There are reports coming that there are discussions going on between India and Russia for the Annual Summit. Any update on that?

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: About the summit?

Huma Siddiqui: Yes.

Vedika: Vedika from CNN. Just a question on whether visas are being processed for Pakistani nationals to attend the match on Saturday, India versus Pakistan.

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: You mean as players? They're here?

Vedika: No, no. I'm talking about visitors.

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: Fans?

Vedika: Yeah, fans from Pakistan. Thank you.

Urvashi: Sir, Urvashi Khona from The New Indian. You spoke about the Canadian Speaker not coming, but what was the reason that has been specified?

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: I answered it.

Urvashi: Because it is a U-turn that has been taken. They at first confirmed it and then later on they have just not…

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: You just walked in. You missed part of it. I'll repeat the answer for you.

Sandeep: Sandeep from News 18 India. Sir India aur China ke beech jo corps commander level talks hue the, 20va talk tha, Sir woh bhi bina kisi consensus ke reh gaya. Kya wajah hain kyu nahi consensus ban pa rahi hain 20 baar varta ho chuki hain phir bhi?

[Question in Hindi: Approximate Translation] Sandeep from News 18 India, Sir, the Corps Commander-level talks held between India and China, it was 20th round. Sir, and it has also concluded without any consensus. What is the reason for not being able to reach a consensus even after 20 rounds of talks?

Madhurendra: Sir, Madhurendra News Nation se, China aur Bhutan khas taur se apne boundary ki issues ko settle kar rahe hain aur jo reports thi uske mutabik doklam jisko lekar kafi vivad hua tha, uska bhi settlement kiya ja raha hain. Kya is boundary settlement par Bharat ki najar hain, aur agar hain toh hum kaise isko dekhte hain?

[Question in Hindi: Approximate Translation] Sir, Madhurendra from News Nation, China and Bhutan are settling their boundary issues, and according to reports, there is also a settlement being worked out for the Doklam issue, which had caused a significant dispute. Is India keeping an eye on this boundary settlement, and if so, how are we viewing it?

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: Matlab general comments chahiye mujhse?

Madhurendra: Yes.

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: Okay. Look, Vedika on your question on visas…visas, general visas are not handled... we are not the right Ministry and I would refer you to the relevant authorities for that. I don’t have any update.

Urvashi, your query was on…the last part about Canada Speaker. Let me just address that because I just said…look, we invite all leaders, all countries to participate and the same was done for the Parliament-20, that is going on. Participation is their decision and there are usually a number of factors that go into that, so I would request you to ask the Canadian side on it.

Huma, your query was on the issue of…something about, you said, whether is it happening or not happening? That kind of thing? Okay. Look, as you know, for these kind of high-level interactions, we announce these things at the appropriate time. I have no update, to be honest. I saw some reports based on what our Ambassador in Moscow said. I think he wasn't quoted accurately. I don't think there is an immediate date or plans for that, but when we have anything to share with you, we'll certainly do that.

Sandeep ji aapka prashna tha ki hamara China ke sath jo warta chal rahi hain usmai kyu nahi ho raha hai success. Hum bhi chahte hain isliye toh baat kar rahe hain, taki koi successful solution ho. Main nahi kahunga consensus nahi hain, hamari taraf se aata hain…jo hamne kaha hai us press release mai, hamara kya perspective hain aur hum kis tarah se aage badha rahe hain isko. Aapne agar dekha hoga mere paas abhi yaha pe hai ye, jo 20th round abhi varta hui thi corps commander level pe. Aur humne jaise kaha hain ki, ispar batchit hui aur baki issues pe jaise hamare leaders ki taraf se jo guidance tha, uske basis pe hum log aage baatchit karte rahenge aur ismai momentum jo hain dialogue aur negotiations ka, isse bhi hum aage badhate rehenge. aur is beeach peace and tranquillity jo hain beherhal usko rakhna chahiye. Agar bahot aasan hota toh solve ho jata, mudde kafi hain isliye vartalaap chal rahi hain aur hamari koshish yahi rahegi ki hum ispe koi solution nikal paye.

[Answer in Hindi: Approximate Translation] Sandeep, your question was about why our ongoing talks with China are not achieving success. We also want success, which is why we are in discussions to reach a successful solution. I won't say there is no consensus, but our perspective and how we are proceeding are reflected in the press release we issued. If you have seen, I have here the details of the recent 20th round of talks at the Corps Commander level. As we have mentioned, discussions took place, and based on the guidance from our leaders, we will continue to engage and the momentum in dialogue and negotiations, we will keep further increase it, while there should be peace and tranquillity in the region. If it were easy, it would have been resolved by now, but there are several issues, which is why discussions are ongoing. Our effort is to find a solution to these issues.

Madhurendra ji aapka prashn tha, aap koi media report ki baat kar rahe hain ya generally? Main Sirf itna kahunga ismai ki dekhiye sarkar sabhi muddon par lagatar najar rakhti hai aur Bharat ki suraksha ko prabhavit karne wale koi bhi issue ho iski liye jo bhi safeguard, koi measure lena ho, ye puri tarah leti hain. Aur main ye bhi kehna chahunga ki Bhutan ke sandarbh me, Bharat aur Bhutan ke beech bahot karibi aur vishist sambandh hain. Aur jo inke beech vishwas, aapsi samjh, aur aapsi chinta ke muddon par close consulation rehta hain, ye iski visheshta hain. Toh main itna hi kehna chahunga, aage aur kuch nahi hain mere pas kehne ke liye iss topic pe.

[Answer in Hindi: Approximate Translation] Madhurendra, your question was…are you referring to a specific media report or speaking generally? I would like to say that the Government keeps a constant watch on all developments that have bearing on India's security and takes all necessary safeguards and measures. I would also like to mention in context of Bhutan, that India and Bhutan share a very close and unique relationship. And it is characterised by the mutual trust, understanding, and close consultation on issues of mutual concerns. So, I would like to say this and I don't have anything more to add on this topic.

Yeshi Seli: It says UK's Prime Minister Rishi Sunak likely to come to India?

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: When we have something to share with you on a high level visit, we'll certainly do so.

Thank you. Good afternoon.

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