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Transcript of Weekly Media Briefing by Official Spokesperson (November 09, 2017)

November 10, 2017

Official Spokesperson, Shri Raveesh Kumar:Welcome friends to this weekly press briefing. We will go straight to the question and answer session.

Question:Mere do sawaal hain. ZakirNaikko Malaysian Sarkar ne Sansad mei kahaa hai, kya koi official baatcheethui hai ki wo saunpane ko taiyyar hain?

(Regarding ZakirNaik, the Malaysian government has stated in their parliament, is there any official discussion that they are ready for extradition?)

Official Spokesperson, Shri Raveesh Kumar:Jab bhi koi formal request kisidoosari Sarkar ke paas hum bhejate hain to sabsejaroori ye hai ki aapaantarikkaamsaaraa complete kar lein. Aur jaisa mainepahlebatayatha ki inter-departmental consultations chal rahe hain. Jab wo exercise complete ho jayegauske baad hum Malaysian government ko approach karenge. Iskamatlab ye hai ki jo bayaanmaine pehle diya thaa, pichhale week, aur abhi takmein wo consultation process jaari hai aur jald hi hum uskisamaapti karenge.

(Whenever we send a formal request to some other government it is of utmost importance that first we complete our internal procedures. And as I said earlier inter-departmental consultations are still going on. When that exercise will be finished we will approach Malaysian Government. This means that the statement that I gave earlier last week and till now that consultation process is still underway and very soon we will announce its completion.)

We read reports today that America has given money to the NGOs to counter religious intolerance in India. How is Indian Government reacting to this?

Official Spokesperson, Shri Raveesh Kumar:Frankly, we did not get time to go through the report to react. We have seen reports on this issue, we have sought more details. In any case any such activity in India in this area by anybody has to follow the rules of the land. Question:Yesterday Prince Charles met with the Prime Minister, was CHOGM discussed during the meet, any invite given to the Prime Minister to attend the CHOGM meet in London next year?

Official Spokesperson, Shri Raveesh Kumar:You see invitation to the Heads of State of the member countries which are part of the Commonwealth that is normally extended by the Secretary General of the Commonwealth. In yesterday’s meeting of Prince Charles with the Prime Minister this issue did come up. PM’s participation at CHOGM did come up for discussion.

Question:Prime Minister Modi is expected to meet Chinese Premier in Manila, whether he meets or not, my question is about One Belt One Road. The latest statement from China’s Foreign Office says that India is wavering on One Belt One Road and China is pitching very hard for it. What is our stand, does our stand remains unaltered?

Official Spokesperson, Shri Raveesh Kumar:Without really going into whether the meeting between the two leaders will take place which we will announce separately. We have seen the relevant remark; India’s position on connectivity is very clear, is principled and is consistent. I have articulated the same in my previous briefing as well. As regards the so called CPEC it is also well known that this violates India’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. India will always be open to any efforts which will address our legitimate concerns in this regard.

Question:Follow to up a previous question, this reported move by the US to fund the NGOs on this issue, are you viewing it with some concern, do you consider that it is an interference in the internal affairs of the country, a foreign power giving so much of money to NGOs on this matter specially when US itself has had several problems?

Official Spokesperson, Shri Raveesh Kumar:Again I will go back to my previous answer. We have to get more details on this matter, we have requested for details and once we go through what this is all about then I’ll be in a better position to comment about.

Question:Is there precedent for this?

Question:Can this funding of $ 5 million to an NGO related to holding seminars, sensitization, some kind of atmospherics and environment for fighting the so called religious intolerance or so called bigotry, is it somewhere related to, can it be viewed being related to an earlier Department of State report on this?

Official Spokesperson, Shri Raveesh Kumar:You have gone further down the road as to how the money is going to be spent. I have made it clear and let me reiterate it once again that we have not got time to get a report on this. We don’t have relevant details in this regard, we have to see in what context this has been done. Once we do that we will be in a better position to answer all the queries related to this. So with this we come to the end of any query on this US grant.

Question:Has the Indian ship carrying 21000 Kiloliters of petrol arrived in Sri Lanka, how much more petrol they are asking for, what is the latest situation?

Official Spokesperson, Shri Raveesh Kumar:You would have seen the tweet by the Prime Minister in this regard. The latest information I have is that the ship has dispatched with the amount of petrol which you have mentioned from Kochhi and I am not mapping it on the GPS but I think the distance between Kochhi to the nearest port where it will be offloaded may not be much. I presume that maybe by the end of the day or maybe by tomorrow it should be there, but at this point of time I do not have that confirmation.

Question:You counterpart in Islamabad appears to have spoken about the possibility of talks between the two countries. What is your position?

Official Spokesperson, Shri Raveesh Kumar:The position remains the same. It has not changed from our side. We always have maintained that for the talks to go ahead there should be a conducive environment that has to be created and that environment has to be created which is free of terror which is free of terrorism and which is free of terrorists getting support from Pakistan.

Question:Pichhaledinohumnedekha ki kis tarah se Chinese government ne hamariRaksha Mantri ke Arunachal Pradesh jaane par bhi aapattidarz ki hai. Is baare meinaapkaakuchhbayaan hai?

(Few days back we witnessed how China raised an objection on the visit of our Defence Minister to Arunachal Pradesh, what is your comment on this?)

Official Spokesperson, Shri Raveesh Kumar:
On this matter we have articulated our position earlier as well.

Jaisa ki aapsabko pata hai Arunachal Pradesh Bharat ka ek abhinnang hai aur Bharatiya netaonko Arunachal Pradesh jaanekiutni hi azadi hai jaisa unko Bharat ke kisi aur Pradesh meinjaane ki hai.

(As you know that Arunachal Pradesh is an integral part of India and Indian leaders have the same freedom to visit Arunachal Pradesh as the freedom that they have to visit any other Indian state.)

Question:Would you please apprise us of the inaugural run of the Kolkata-Khulna Bandhan Express and the frequency that is proposed?

Official Spokesperson, Shri Raveesh Kumar:
I think I have something on that. We have put out a press release on what has happened today, we also have put out the speech that was made by Hon’ble Prime Minister. Basically there was a joint inauguration of a series of connectivity projects between India and Bangladesh. It was inaugurated jointly by our Prime Minister and the Prime Minister of Bangladesh and also by the Chief Minister of West Bengal.

First was the flagging off of the inaugural run of the BandhanExpress, which is a train line between Kolkata and Khulna. Second was the inauguration of International Rail Passenger Terminus at Kolkata railway station and the third was the inauguration of the second Bhairab and Titas rail bridges. We feel that with the inauguration of these connectivity projects the two countries will come further closer and it will also help the people who are using these services. The inconvenience, which they earlier had in terms of traveling between the two countries, I think that will be reduced to a great extent.

Question:Relief assistance to Bangladesh for the Myanmar refugees, is it still going on?

Official Spokesperson, Shri Raveesh Kumar:We had announced when the relief was sent. If I can recollect clearly it was sent twice using an aircraft and once using a ship. We, of course, are ready and willing to help Bangladesh in any further humanitarian assistance is they so desire.

Question:Just a follow up to the talks with Pakistan question, you said there wouldn’t be any talks unless there is a terror free atmosphere, so what kind of a time line we are looking for here, that could just range up to years?

Official Spokesperson, Shri Raveesh Kumar:The timeline depends on as I mentioned that there has to be an atmosphere. I can’t set an artificial timeline that the atmosphere, which is conducive for the talks, will be created in a month or two months, six months. So that is up to how that atmosphere is created by Pakistan.

Question:Indian media reports that India is preparing for the 20th round of Border Special Representatives talks with the Chinese delegation. Do you have any information to share with us and agendas, especially this is after the Doklam incident?

Official Spokesperson, Shri Raveesh Kumar:We don’t have any confirmed dates for the talks as yet. The two sides are in touch, once we have some dates for this we will let you know in this briefing session.

Question:Could you just repeat your response to the ZakirNaik question, if you could share that it in English as well?

Official Spokesperson, Shri Raveesh Kumar:Let me now read it out for you. The formal request for assistance of a foreign government in such cases requires a legal process. We are nearing the completion of this exercise. Soon an official request would be made to the Malaysian Government on this matter and as I mentioned that the internal process which we have to complete that is still underway and once that happens, I’ll share the update with all of you.

Question:Smog is an issue and just few minutes back the environment minister in Pakistan has said that in Punjab, the largest province in Pakistan that India and Pakistan should use SAARC to collaborate on smog, this is an issue which is impacting both Lahore and Delhi. What is your reaction to it?

Official Spokesperson, Shri Raveesh Kumar:You are linking everything to Pakistan, you have managed to link the smog as well.

Question Contd.:
It’s happening there also, it is impacting both the sides.

Official Spokesperson, Shri Raveesh Kumar:I think your question is linked to SAARC so I will not touch upon the pollution which we are all facing, I will confine myself to SAARC. On SAARC our position is very clear, it is up to one country to create conditions where such talks would have a meaning, would be successful and if that doesn’t happen there is no meaning in having this exercise.

Question:…….. Inaudible …………

Official Spokesperson, Shri Raveesh Kumar:
I have just mentioned, even if there exists a mechanism since the meeting is not taking place it doesn’t have any meaning at this point of time.

Thank you very much for joining in. Have a good day and good weekend.



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