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Transcript of Media Briefing by the Official Spokesperson (October 31, 2019)

November 02, 2019

Official Spokesperson, Shri Raveesh Kumar: Namaskar, good afternoon and welcome to this weekly briefing. My briefing will be followed by a special briefing on Prime Minister’s visit to Thailand for the East Asia Summit. I do not have any announcements to make so we can straight away move to Q&A.

Question: Kartarpur Corridor inauguration ko lekar jo situation haiuskodekhate hue Bharat Sarkar ki kya taiyyariyan hain, aur doosara sawal hai ki European Union ke jo MP abhi Kashmir daure par gaye they.

(What are the preparations of Indian government regarding the inauguration of Kartarpur Corridor and second question is, the European Union MPs which recently visited Kashmir.)

Official Spokesperson, Shri Raveesh Kumar: Mujhe lagta hai ki isko alag-alag kar dete hain kyonki is par aur logon ke bhi sawal honge. Main abhi Kartarpur wala le letahoon.

Dekhiye aisa hai ki aap logon ko pata hai ki Bharat aur Pakistan ke beech mein Kartarpur Corridor se jo pilgrimage karna hai uske liye MoU sign huii thii aur uske turant baad Home Ministry ne apna website bhi launch kiyaa thaa jis mein ye yatra kaise hogi, iski jaankaari thii, aur kaise register karna hai, kya-kya rules regulations hain, kya le jaanaa hai kya nahi le jaanaa hai, ye sab details us mein they.

Uske baad humne ye kiyaa hai ki pahle din jo hamaari taraf se jo jattha jaayega, jo 9th November ko hoga, uski soochi humne Pakistan ko de dii hai. Abhi hamare paas uska koi response nahii aayaa hai par mujhe lagta hai ki ek normal procedure hoga aagey ki jisko jaanaa hai, hum pahle share karenge aur uski approval hamaare pass Pakistan se aajaayegi.

Jahan tak inauguration ke details ka sawaal hai ye abhi maamla discussion mein hai, hamaari taraf bhi, unki taraf bhi inauguration alag-alag hoga aur jaise hi hamaare pass pukhta information aataa hai ki kis dhang se hoga, kaun karega, kab hoga to hum uske bare meina apko jaankaari denge.

Is bare meine ek judaa sawaal thaa jo aap logon ne poochha thaa pichhali baar ki Indian media ka kya hoga, wo agar jaana chaahte hain to wo kaise jaayenge. Dekhiye, jahaan tak abhi filhal jo situation hai to procedure wahi hogaa jo baaki logon ke liye hai, koi bhi Indian national ya OCI cardholder unko wahi procedure follow karna padega. Agar as a media personnel jaanaa chaahte hain to fir aapko normal route hai Pakisan embassy mein visa ke liye apply karna padega aur us process se jaanaa padega agar aap usko cover karna chaahte hain.

(I think we should bifurcate both the question because I think others will also have questions on visit of MPs. I will first take up the question on Kartarpur Corridor.

See, you all are aware that India and Pakistan have signed an MoU on how to do pilgrimage through Kartarpur Corridor and immediately after that Home Ministry had launched a website, a portal which had all the details like how one can register for the pilgrimage, what needs to be done, how it needs to be done, what all can be carried and so on, all the details are available on that portal.

After that we shared the list of people who will be visiting from our side on the very first day i.e. on the 9thof November, with Pakistan. We have not yet received any response from the Pakistan as of yet and I think this would be a normal procedure, we will be sharing the list of people who will be visiting with Pakistan and then we will get the approval.

As far as details of inauguration is concerned, the matter is under consideration on both the sides as it would be done separately from both the sides and as soon as we receive some concrete information on how it will be done, when it will be done and by whom it will be done we will share the details with you.

There was another related question which was asked last time relating to what would happen to Indian media people who would like to visit, how can they visit? See, as far as now the procedure would be same as for other normal people i.e. any Indian national or OCI cardholder, they will have to follow that procedure. So if you want to visit as a media person then as per the normal procedure one needs to apply to Pakistan embassy for a visa and you need to take that route if you wish to cover that.)

I would like to take all the questions on MEPs together.

Question: Kal report saamne aaii thii ki Pakistan kii taraf se Navjot Singh Sidhu ko invite kiyaa gayaa hai Kartarpur jaane ke liye. To kya aapke pass koi request aayaa hai kyonki wo sitting MLA hain abhi Punjab Government mein, to unke clearance keliye koi request aaya hai aapke pass?

(Yesterday there were some reports that Navjot Singh Sindhu has been invited from Pakistan side to visit Kartarpur. So have you received any request as he is a sitting MLA from Punjab Government, so have you received any request for the clearance?)

Official Spokesperson, Shri Raveesh Kumar: Dekhiye do cheezein hain is mein. Agar hum Kartarpur bhi jaa rahe hain to ye maan ke chalna padega ki hum doosare desh mein jaa rahe hain, to jo political clearance ki normal procedure hogi aur jinko lena hai unko pataa hai ki kin-kin ko lena hai, wo mujhe lagta hai is par applicable hoga. Responsibility kisko lena hai aur kaise lena hai wo unko khud pataa hai.

Jahaan tak hamaari taraf se jo official jattha hai, jo humne unko share kiya, us mein political personalities hain from different sides of the political spectrum. Kuch hamaare kendriya mantri hain, kuch state ke mantra hain to wo to hamaaraa official jattha hai. Jinko Pakistan bulana chaahta hai aur jinko aagey bhi agar jaanaa hai to ek jo normal political clearance leni padti hai, kyonki ye jo bhi ho, ek doosare desh ko visit hai, to jo process applicable hoga wo yahaan bhi hoga.

(See there are two things in this. If we are going to Kartarpur then we need to understand that we are visiting a foreign country, so the normal procedure of clearance will be applied and those who need to obtain it very well know about it, I think that would be applicable to it.

As far as our official group is concerned from our side, which we have shared with them, it also includes political personalities from different sides of political spectrum and it has some central ministers and some ministers from the state. Whom Pakistan wants to invite and in future who also wish to visit, so the normal political clearance which is required has to sought because after all it is related to a visit to a foreign country and those procedures would be applicable.)

Question: This is just a clarification. Pakistan has put out an itinerary of its own, I think towards 15 or 16 October where they had put 4 and 5 November, if I am not mistaken, where they said there will be too jatthas whereas we are saying that the official jattha will be going on 9th. Is there any …

Official Spokesperson, Shri Raveesh Kumar: I think perhaps you may be confusing different groups. I think there is an understanding now that inauguration will take place on 9th

Question Contd.: So there is only one that is on the 9th?

Official Spokesperson, Shri Raveesh Kumar: Perhaps you may be referring to a visit to Nankana Saahib.

Question Contd.: Yes,

Official Spokesperson, Shri Raveesh Kumar: So, Nankana Sahib is different. That is not through this corridor but there, I think we have sent a list of around 450 plus 31 member delegation, so around 480 people. We had shared this list with the Pakistani High Commission. We had requested that visas may be granted to them and perhaps this is for the first time that Pakistan which tries to project as if they are trying to facilitate the Sikh pilgrimage, we have not heard from them. In fact we hear that the visas will not be granted. We feel that this disrespect to the sentiments of the pilgrims especially on this very pious occasion of 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanakdev Ji.

So this is a different thing. What they have done in return when we put together a list, they said we can allow only a different list, which is not our list. So I think they are kind of trying to process a different list but as per the agreement, for example, under this Nankana Sahib agreement, we have also requested that on the occasion of Guru Parab they should enhance the daily limit of pilgrims who can visit from the present 3000 to 10000. We are still awaiting Pakistan’s response.

Question: Aapne kahaa ki list saupii gaii hai jis mein political log bhi hain, kya Navjot Singh Sidhu ka naam us list mein hai?

(You said that a list has been shared which also has political names in it, does that list has the name of Navjot Singh Sidhu on it?)

Official Spokesperson, Shri Raveesh Kumar: Dekhiye ye mujhe pataa nahi hai. Jaisa maine kahaa ki jin political personalities ko, mujhe lagta hai ki un logon ko jinko pataa hai ki mujhe political clearance lena hai aur jin logon ka list mein naam shaamil nahi hai unko pataa hogaa ki unka naam list mein nahi hai, ye koi surprise nahi hoga ki achaanak us list mein unka naam aa jaaye yaa nahi aa jaaye. To uske alawa agar kisiko jaana hoga, meri understanding ye hai ki jo normal rules of seeking political clearance for such visits will apply.

(See, I don’t know about it. As I said those political personalities, and I think they are aware whether they have to seek political clearance and those who are not included in the list are also aware that they are not there on that list. This is not going to be surprise that suddenly few names are included or removed from the list. So other than that if anyone wishes to visit then normal rules of seeking political clearance will apply.)

Question: Two part question. One, on the members of European Parliament going in, it is very obvious from reports in various publications that this is something that government is hinting, could be tried in the future as well for various other groups of different political persuasions. Is this going to be the new reality, are we moving that way and also would the government then be okay with people who have been critical in the past of the abrogation of the Article 370, any such delegation coming in. And also as the Chinese Foreign Ministry just put out a statement on 31st suggesting, it is not a very flattering statement on the official bifurcation of the State of Jammu & Kashmir, they have put out a very tough statement there, if you could speak a bit on that?

Official Spokesperson, Shri Raveesh Kumar: Thanks, I will take all the questions on the visit of MEPs.

Question: Jo Saansad gaye they unki visit ko lekar tamaam sawaal hai jinke jawaab ka intezar hai, khastaur par visit kisne organize kiya, kis perspective mein organize kiyaa gayaa. Political sawaal bhi ubhar kar saamne aaye ki jab desh mein netaon ko nahi jaane diyaa jaara haa hai aise mein in saansadon ko kyon jaane diya gaya. Jo bhi Videsh Mantralay kii jaankaari mein hai is visit ke sambandh meinusey aap saajhaa karna chaahenge?

(The MPs who visited Kashmir, there are a lot of questions related to the visit for replies are awaited especially who organized the visit and in which perspective it was organized. Many political questions have also arisen that when local politicians from the country are not allowed then why these MPs were allowed to visit. Please share whatever information MEA has on this visit.)

Question: Which were the NGOs which were involved in organizing this visit because the European Union said that these MPs were there in their personal capacity, the EU office has nothing to do with this, we heard about an NGO called – the West. There was an Indian counterpart as well. There are also questions being raised from certain quarters as to who sponsored this visit and from where did the funding come from?

Question: Apart from the delegation form the European Union, is the Government of India going to allow or sponsor more delegations of diplomats from different countries?

Question: Could you tell us which wing of the government was directly involved in organizing this visit and the very fact that the Prime Minister’s Office had issued a statement saying that they would be going to Kashmir, so it is to be interpreted as a strictly private visit or there was a government move to actively send them to Kashmir?

Question: My question is almost similar to previous question. Was MEA in fact kept in the loop actually, was MEA onboard about the visit?

Question: Is it for the first time that Foreign MPs were allowed in the Kashmir or has there been any past precedence of similar exercise by MEA or Government of India?

Official Spokesperson, Shri Raveesh Kumar: I think I should be able to answer most of the questions. Some of them if they are too technical in nature, I would not touch them.

You guys have been covering foreign policy for a long time and I think you would agree with me it is part of this ministry’s mandate that we will engage with people belonging to a range of social spectrums in other countries and the objective is very clear that this is being done to promote our foreign policy objective and also in national interest.

We feel that such exchanges promotes deeper people to people contact and ultimately it feeds into the larger relationship which any two countries would like to develop. You are also aware that as part of this context we have actually engaged and continue to do so, members of parliament, civil society, NGOs, businesses, media and so on.

The mood is different. Sometimes these visits are organized by us, these engagements are facilitated by us. Sometimes many of these visits take place on their own, it is a private visit. And on many occasions you would have noticed and seen that dignitaries and political dignitaries do come here at the invitation of somebody else.

You are familiar with many such dignitaries participating at some of the Think Tank Forums, you are familiar with the recent visit by Henry Kissinger who when he visited India, he actually met the Prime Minister and there was a talk show with External Affairs Minister as well.

So I think let us be very clear that the visitors to India who come here, they do not necessarily have to come through only official channel and we have engaged and facilitated engagements for them even on occasions where the visit has not been done through official channels. I think the important point to consider in this regard is whether such engagements, whether sharing of our perspectives, does it serve our larger interest, does it serve our national interest irrespective of the nature of the visit?

In the case of the visit of MEPs to India, it was brought to our attention – attention of the government that delegation/group of MEPs are going to visit to India. You are aware that MEPs are directly elected by the people, they represent their constituencies directly. They are also elected by universal adult suffrage. The MEPs who visited India and who wanted to visit, they had expressed a very keen desire to know about India. It was more or less like a familiarization visit. They belong to a spectrum of views from different countries of Europe and also they belong to different political parties. I think some of them belonged to opposition parties, many of them also belonged to the ruling parties. Meetings were therefore accordingly facilitated as has been done on many previous occasions. And we do hope that this explanation will help in trying to rest the controversy which has gone around on this visit.

Two related questions, will you allow other such delegations to visit J&K, we will definitely look at such requests, it should however be kept in mind that what will be the deciding factor will depened on the intent, content and also the ground situation. All these factors will be weighed in before we take a decision on the visit.

I think if you would like to know about the purpose, the objective, as I mentioned that many of them had also expressed their desire that they would like to understand how terrorism is affecting India and how this has been a challenge for India and I think you must have seen their statements after the visit. They very clearly reflected that they got some understanding about the ground situation. They got a sense of the threat of terrorism and how terrorism poses a threat to India especially in the Union Territory of Jammu & Kashmir.

So these are the things which I had to answer, if there are any supplementary questions, maybe I will take them otherwise we can move on.

Question: You mentioned the government will be open to more such visits depending upon their intent and overall composition but is this something that we should be looking forward to, some people have argued that Indian diplomacy is haloed ground and are we really ceding ground to private entities to do Indian diplomacy on Government’s behalf?

Official Spokesperson, Shri Raveesh Kumar: You see, this topic has come around that are we really helping to internationalize the situation. I think there is a very clear distinction between imparting international understanding and getting international understanding and internationalizing the situation. Putting across our point of view or sharing our perspective, I don’t think it is internationalizing the issue.

This is what MEA is expected to do, this is what we have been doing. This is part of our engagement with other countries and Think Tank media and if I heard what you heard from the Members of European Parliament after their visit, I think it is the issue of cross border terrorism, the role of Pakistan in cross-border terrorism which got international opinion and I think, you know, if you look at what we have done, on many occasions engagement with diplomatic community is not internationalizing the issue.

External Affairs Minister spoke at different forums in the USA, across several platforms. That is not internationalizing. We are, and we are supposed to share our perspectives on a certain issue and we are supposed to share that with different groups of people who would like to get that perspective. So that definitely is not the intent. It is not a question of ceding ground at all. We feel that this is feeding into the larger objective, larger interest which we have and we hope and what I could sense from the some of the comments coming out from these MEPs after the visit that they have got that sense.

Question: Jaisa ki aapne kahaa ki ye MEA ka mandate hai ki aap different group ko yahaan laakar visit karate hain yaa karaa sakte hain. Sawaal yahaan par khas kar ke opposition parties ke leaders ya political party ye uthaa rahe hain ki aap ek taraf foreigners ko to visit karaa rahe hain lekin local politicians ko aap wahaan jaane se rok rahe hain, ye kis tarah ki isthiti hai, iska kya clarification hai?

(As you said it is the mandate of MEA that it facilitates visits of different groups here or it can do so in future. The question which is especially raised by opposition leadership and political parties is that on one side you are facilitating visit of foreigners but on the other side you are stopping local politicians to visit there, what kind of situation is this, what is the clarification for this?)

Question: Two things, which was the ministry which was coordinating this visit and secondly the letter which is now all over the place from Ms. Madi Sharma, clearly says, its not as if they had evinced an interest, the Prime Minister wanted to kind of meet people and talk about it, so we just want clarity on that.

Official Spokesperson, Shri Raveesh Kumar: Look, I mentioned in the beginning that frankly I would not like to get into the details. There are two things which are important. The first is that the visit was taking place and this was brought to our attention. I mean in what format this was done that I will not like to get into, number one. Number two, as I mentioned that the intent of the visit, the context and the ground situation where the groups are going to visit that is important before we take a decision as to who will be allowed. As far as within is concerned, this is beyond MEA’s mandate so I hope you will excuse me if I don’t answer that question.

Question: But was at any level MEA was involved in this?

Official Spokesperson, Shri Raveesh Kumar: This is what I have read out. I have spoken about MEA’s mandate.

Question Contd.: I am not asking about the mandate, but for this particular visit was the MEA involved at any level?

Official Spokesperson, Shri Raveesh Kumar: If I am saying that when we realized that a certain group is in town and it could serve our foreign policy objective and we have done it in the past, it is our job to facilitate engagements, appointments etc. So it is something which is part of our mandate.

Question: The Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson has slammed India on bifurcation of Jammu & Kashmir and said that the move is unlawful and void and is not effective in any way and they have also said that India unilaterally changes its domestic laws and administrative divisions challenging China’s sovereignty, what is your response to that?

Official Spokesperson, Shri Raveesh Kumar: I will have to read out a statement. We have seen the statement made by the spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China on the establishment of Union Territories of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh.

China is well aware of India’s consistent and clear position on this issue. The matter of reorganization of the erstwhile state of Jammu & Kashmir into the Union Territories of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh is entirely an internal affair of India. We do not expect other countries including China to comment on matters which are internal to India just as India refrains from commenting on internal issues of other countries.

The Union Territories of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh are integral part of India we expect other countries to respect India’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. China continues to be in occupation of a large tract of area in the Union Territories of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh. It has also illegally acquired Indian territories from Pakistan Occupied Kashmir under the so the called China-Pakistan Boundary Agreement of 1963. India has consistently conveyed its concerns to both China and Pakistan on the projects in so called China Pakistan Economic Corridor which is in the territory that has been illegally occupied by Pakistan since 1947.

In so far as the boundary question is concerned, India and China have agreed to seek a fair, reasonable and mutually accepted solution to the issue through peaceful consultations on the basis of political parameters and guiding principles that were agreed in 2005. This was reiterated also in the second India-China Informal Summit between Prime Minister and President Xi in Chennai earlier this month. In the interim the two sides have also agreed to maintain peace and tranquility in the border areas.

We will share the statement after this briefing.

Question: I had two questions on UK. Pahla to ye ki UK mein jis tareeke se protest hue they uske baad Bharat ne jo maamla uthaayaa, kya UK ne Bharat ki position ko samjha hai aur aagey is tareeke ki ghatnaayein nahi hongi. Doosara sawaal, London mein jis tareeke se do Manipur ke separatists ne asylum lekar wahaan par ek government in exile kii ghoshanaa kii hai, kya Bharat ne is maamle ko UK government ke saath uthaayaa aur in dono individuals ka status kya hai, kya inke extradition kii koi request process ho rahi hai ya inka passport cancel hua hai, kya inke asylum ke status ke bare mein Bharat ko jaankaari hai?

(I had two questions on UK. First, the way protests were held in UK and after that the way India took up the matter, did UK took note of India’s position and there will be no such instances in future? Second is, the way two separatists from Manipur have taken asylum in London and declared a government in exile, has India taken up this matter with UK government and what is the status of both these individuals, is there any extradition request for these two in process, has their passport been canceled, what is the information that India has on their status of asylum?)

Official Spokesperson, Shri Raveesh Kumar: Aapko pataa hogaa ki pichhale do occasion par, jab High Commission of India ke baahar pradarshan huaa thaa, to wo hinsak roop le liyaa thaa, us mein vandalism huii thii aur uske baad humne UK government ke saath, London mein aur yahaan Delhi mein, kaafi strongly take up kiyaa thaa ki jo aap allow karte hain usase jo normal functioning hai High Commission ka, wo affect hota hai. Is baar jab hamein pataa chalaa ki aisaa demonstration ho rahaa hai, humne is maamle ko bahut hi strongly UK government ke saath uthaayaa ki pichhale do baar aisi ghatnaayein ho chukii hain aur is baar aisa nahi hona chaahiye. Unhone hamein aashwasan diyaa thaa ki is baar hum poori koshish karenge kii aisi ghatna nahi ho.

Jahaan tak meri jaankaari hai is baar unko, wahaan saamne pradarshan karne ke liye permission nahi milii. Hamein lagta hai ki ye koi khatam hone wala silsila hai nahi, ye wahan par jo Pakistan ke proxy elements hain, wo aisi hi harkatein karte rahenge, wo baar-baar koshish karenge High Commission ke saamne pradarshan karne kii aur ye hamaari guzaarish bhi hai aur hum hope bhi karte hain ki jo appropriate steps hain UK government, jitna strictly isko handle kar sakein unko ye karna chaahiye, kyon ki unke liye sochane waali baat hai ki kisi doosare desh ke bahkaave meina akar, unke khud ke naagrik Bharat jaise desh ke khilaaf paradarshan karte hain aur hinsa par utaaru hote hain to aise logon ke khilaaf UK ko jitni kadi kaaryawaahi ho sake karni chaahiye.

Jahaan tak Manipur wala sawaal hai, dekhiye ye jo hai, koi ek mil gaya – do log mil gaye aur announce kar diya ki hum independent ho gaye, iski koi sanctity nahi hai, iski koi validity nahi hai. To mujhe nahi lagta hai kiaisi cheezon par mujhe comment karna chaahiye.

(You would be aware that during the last two occasions when there were protests outside the Indian High Commission in UK, which took a violent turn and there was vandalism, after that we took up the issue very strongly with the UK government, both in London as well as here in Delhi that when you allow it, it affects the normal functioning of our High Commission. This time when we got the information that a demonstration is being planned then we took the issue very strongly with the UK government and told them that last two times such things had happened and it should not happen this time. They assured us that they will try their level best that such incident will not happen this time.

As far as my information goes, this time they have not received permission to demonstrate in front of the High Commission. We feel that this is not something which is going to stop. The proxy elements of Pakistan which are present there will continue to make such efforts and they will try time and again to demonstrate in front of the Indian High Commission and this is our request and we hope also UK government should take appropriate steps to handle the situation strictly because it is a matter for them to understand that on instigation of some country their own nationals are make demonstrations against a country like India and indulge into violence. So UK should take all the necessary and strong actions against such people.

As far as the issue of Manipur is concerned, see if one or two people came together and announced that we are now independent, it does not hold any sanctity or validity. So I don’t think I should comment on such things.)

Question: As far as ICJ is concerned, you would have seen a statement today from the ICJ. Now what are India’s options considering what situation is as of now that consular access has not been properly granted and the ICJ feels the way it does, what can India do now?

Official Spokesperson, Shri Raveesh Kumar: Let me tell you that the statement has just come out, so we can’t just immediately react to what is there and how India is going to formulate its strategy. You are aware that behind the scenes, not essentially through this forum, India and Pakistan have been in touch following the ICJ judgement. The communication is happening through diplomatic channels and if there is any update which we think we can share with you, we will do so.

Question: The German Chancellor is arriving in India tonight, two days of visit, the business part of it is rather strong and we had a very strong resolution form the German Parliament sometime back where they said that they would like to elevate ties with India. The foreign minister of Germany even said that it is dangerous to concentrate their Asia policy just to China and they see India as a natural partner. So will this visit see an elevation of ties, if you can give us the broad agenda that will be on the table, some of the key agreements that could be signed?

Official Spokesperson, Shri Raveesh Kumar: There is no doubt that with every visit, you know that Chancellor Merkel and Prime Minister share a very strong personal rapport. The format of the discussion at the top level with ministers supporting, this has helped in expanding and consolidating the relationship. We are moving into new areas and we do hope that with this visit of Chancellor Merkel, we will further expand our relationship and take it to new heights.

On the agenda, you see given the rapport which they share I am sure many issues will come up but I would perhaps broadly summarize it into few categories. One of course is the foreign policy and security issues that has been standard part of any IGC consultations in the past. We also expect some discussions to happen on economic, trade and investment issues. There could be some discussion on cooperation in agriculture. Education, science and skill development could be another area and also under science the new frontier areas of cooperation and of course the people to people contact, cultural cooperation.

These are the broad areas which are there but given the nature of talks and also the fact that Prime Minister will be interacting with Chancellor Merkel separately as well, so we may be able to share some perspectives only after the visit is over and I think you will have to wait for the press statement by the two leaders tomorrow and there is a joint statement which is being worked upon which will give you a sense and gist of what was discussed between the two leaders but yes, overall we are looking forward to the visit. It will definitely lead to further expansion of ties between India and Germany.

Question Contd.:…………. Inaudible………..

Official Spokesperson, Shri Raveesh Kumar: I don’t have the details. I am aware that there are at least, if I can see the list, I know there are ten which I see here in the list, between the minister and the minister of state, so I would sense that there could be at least 10 to 12 ministerial level participation from their side.

Question: Bhutanese Foreign Minister has said that Bhutan and China are going to have boundary talks soon, so do we have any response to that?

Official Spokesperson, Shri Raveesh Kumar: No, I think we have no response. I mean Bhutan and China boundary talks have been taking place for a long time. Frankly I don’t even remember the number which boundary talks is it but this is an ongoing thing and this is something which they have been having and directly there is nothing which we have to comment at this stage.

Thank you very much. Thank you all for joining.

(Concludes)

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