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Media Briefing by Official Spokesperson in New York on EAM’s visit for UNGA (18 September, 2017)

September 22, 2017

Official Spokesperson, Shri Raveesh Kumar:Thank you very much for coming to this briefing. As you are aware today is the first day for the EAM to be in New York and it is the first day of her engagements and it really was a very active day of diplomacy. She had a series of meetings both with the Foreign Ministers and two meetings with the Heads of Government. She also attended the high level meeting on UN Reforms hosted by the United States, so overall a very hectic and active day for her.

What I would like to do is to just give you a sense of what transpired during the whole day. The day started with a trilateral meeting between India, Japan and the US. We thought that its an important meeting so we decided to issue a press release immediately after the meeting and I am sure you all must have seen that press release.

You may be aware that the first trilateral ministerial meeting was held in 2015. This is the second trilateral meeting which took place. DG level meeting has been taking place since 2011 and as we have already mentioned in the press release three broad issues were discussed i.e. maritime security, connectivity and proliferation. We have spelt out what these heads mean.

On maritime security the ministers emphasized the need to ensure freedom of navigation, respect international law and peaceful resolution of disputes. On connectivity there was discussion on how to base them on universally recognized international norms, prudent financing and respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity. EAM deplored the recent actions of DPRK and stated that its proliferation linkages must be explored and those involved must be held accountable.

This was followed by a high level on UN reforms which was hosted by the United States. EAM had not speaking engagement, there was a speech my President Trump where he urged the United Nations to reform. We have consistently maintained the same line. We have said that the world body should be reformed to keep pace with the changed times including expansion of its permanent and non-permanent membership.

After these two engagements there were a series of bilateral meetings. I have the list here with me. EAM met Foreign Ministers of 5 countries, Tunisia, Latvia, UAE, Denmark and Bahrain. She also called on two Head of Government of Bhutan and Bangladesh. Bangladesh was more of a courtesy call and towards the end of the day EAM also had a meeting with Ivanka Trump where discussions basically were around Ivanka Trump’s visit to India for the Global Entrepreneurship Summit. There were also discussions on women empowerment. So this basically rounded up the day for the External Affairs Minister.

I would just like to go through each meeting just to give you flavor of what transpired at each of these bilateral meetings. Broadly the focus was on bilateral cooperation. For example with Tunisia, the EAM said that she was looking forward to the next Joint Commission meeting. This is scheduled to be held in New Delhi on 30 and 31 October.

There were a lot of discussions on how to reinvigorate economic relations. Sectors like pharma, biotechnology, renewable energy and IT were identified for future cooperation. EAM felt that there was a huge potential for exporting our pharma products especially vaccines to Tunisia as the price of Indian drugs are very competitive.

EAM called on the Prime Minister of Bhutan Mr. TsheringTobgay and again the focus on bilateral cooperation especially our developmental cooperation. We have lot of projects going on in Bhutan and some discussion took place on that aspect as well.

In our meeting with Denmark Foreign Minister Mr. Anders Samuelsen the same trend continued, again the focus was on bilateral cooperation. Discussion took place as to when to hold the next meeting of the Joint Commission which is at the Foreign Ministers level. Denmark is also the partner country for the World Food India which is going to take place in first week of November. EAM also flagged some of the major initiatives of the Government of India like Skill India and Make in India and invited Danish participation for investment in India in some of the sectors.

There was a meeting with the Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics. The Latvian Foreign Minister referred to the recent ministerial visits from the Indian side including by our Minister of State, Mr. M J Akbar, IT Minister and the Ayush Minister. The focus was on expanding trade relations. Latvian Foreign Minister announced that their Prime Minister will visit India for the World Food Summit later this year. Cooperation was discussed and how to enhance cooperation in sectors like IT, education and culture.

This was followed by a meeting with the Foreign Minister of UAE. As you are aware UAE is now is our strategic partner. Bilateral trade between India and UAE is worth 52.8 billion USD and two sides discussed measures to attract more foreign direct investment from UAE to India. It was felt that at this point of time it was below potential. Cooperation in energy sector, in civil aviation especially in capacity building and best practices was discussed.

EAM also met the Foreign Minister of Bahrain and there is an existing mechanism of joint commission which is at the Foreign Ministry level and the two sides discussed how to hold this meeting at the earliest. Some discussion also took place on the regional issue especially situation in the Gulf.

So this is what I have with me and if there are any questions on the first day of EAM’s program at UNGA in New York, I’ll be happy to take them.

Aaj Videsh Mantri ke liye bahut hi busy engagement wala din thaaaurkaafi meetings huijismein do meetings hui Heads of Government kesaath. Unhone Bangladesh aur Bhutan kePradhanmantriyonkesaathmulaakaatki. Iskealaawaaunkimulaakaat 5 deshonkeVideshMantriyon se bhihuijimein Tunisia, Latvia, UAE, Denmark aur Bahrain shaamilhain.

Iskealaawaaunki meeting huiIvanka Trump se jismeinunhoneIvanka Trump ke India hone waale future visit kebaaremein discussion kiya, Global Entrepreneurship Summit keliyeaurdonoke beech mein women empowerment aurbaaki social issues kebaaremeinbhi discussion hua.

Iskealawa trilateral India-Japan-US ki trilateral ministerial meeting thi, jiskebaaremeinhumneek press vigyaptijaarikihai, us sandarbhmeinmujheaurkuchatiriktnahikahnahai. VideshMantri ne ismeinbhibhaagidaarikihai i.e. high level meeting on UN reforms jiskiagwaaiUnited States ne kithi, usmeinbhiunhoneshirkatki. Ye aajkaunkapoore din kakaarykramrahahaijokikaafi busy tha.

Question:Jo trilateral meeting thijismein maritime security kolekarcharchahuihai, kya China kakuchaayaahaikyonki China aksar us ilaakemeinsamudriraastemeindikkatkartahai?

Official Spokesperson, Shri Raveesh Kumar:Mujhelagtahaiki agar aap press vigyaptikopadhenge to uskebaadmujhe is vishay par aurbhikuch add karnekijaroorathai. Jaisamainekahaaki teen broad issues ko discuss kiyaagaya, maritime security, connectivity aur proliferation. Ismeinkisiekdeshko include karnayaauskaanaamlenaauski koi jarooratnahihai. Mere khyaal se ye teeno issues self-explanatory hain.

Question:Can you share tomorrow’s schedule?

Official Spokesperson, Shri Raveesh Kumar:
We will announce and send a WhatsApp message to all of you in the next 30 minutes or so. Question:Did the issue of Doklam came up?

Official Spokesperson, Shri Raveesh Kumar:The Doklam issue is already settled so there is no question of Doklamcoming up in the discussion. As I mentioned that the focus of the discussions was purely bilateral and the two sides discussed how to take this cooperation forward.

Question:On the trilateral meeting there was a mention of proliferation linkages. Was this reference to a single country or multiple countries?

Official Spokesperson, Shri Raveesh Kumar:I will leave it to you to draw the inference. I have given you a press release. We have very clearly mentioned that we not only deplore DPRKs recent actions but also stated that its proliferation linkages must be explored and those involved be held accountable. I think I am giving you enough material to figure what we are talking out.

Question:
Was the proliferation issue raised by India or by other parties?

Official Spokesperson, Shri Raveesh Kumar:I think the agenda was discussed in advance. All the three items discussed were part of the agenda and all the Foreign Ministers shared their views on each of these aspects.

Question:On the issue of Rohingya Muslims, was there a specific conversation with the Prime Minister of Bangladesh?

Official Spokesperson, Shri Raveesh Kumar:
As I mentioned that the meeting with the Prime Minister of Bangladesh was more in the nature of a courtesy meeting. It was a very short meeting and the issue of Rohingya did not come up for discussion during that meeting.

Thank you very much.
(Concludes)

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