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Transcript of Weekly Media Briefing by Official Spokesperson (January 31, 2019)

February 01, 2019

Official Spokesperson, Shri Raveesh Kumar: Namaskar, good afternoon and welcome to this weekly press briefing. I do not have any announcements so I open the floor to questions.

Question: My question is on summoning, we have seen the Pakistan High Commissioner being summoned and today morning our High Commissioner was summoned. This comes in the backdrop of developments which are happening which includes killing of our fishermen, stopping of our cargo flights. What is your official reaction to what is happening or what is emanating from Islamabad?

Question: In your statement last night you warned that there would be implications if such behavior continues on the part of Pakistan. What are these implications that you are referring to?

Question: Just wanted to ask quite genuinely what exactly is the government’s objection to the Foreign Minister of Pakistan’s calling the Hurriyat Chief, has this happened in the past, has the government objected to this in the past and also in your statement yesterday you spoke about the Foreign Minister of Pakistan dealing with people who are associated with terrorism, is the MEA then saying that the former Hurriyat Chief is a terrorist?

Question: Mera sawal ye hai ki Pakistan ke Videsh Mantri ne haal hi mein jis tarah se telephone par baat ki hai algaavwaadi netaon se jo ki Bharat ke aantrik maamlon mein ek tarah se hastkshep hai jo aap logo ne bhi mana hai. Bharat ne pahle bhi uthaya tha Pakistan mein Balochistaniyon par jo atyachar ho rahe hain uska mamla, kya Bharat Sarkar us policy ko lekar aagey badhegi?

(The way the Foreign Minister of Pakistan has recently spoken on telephone with the separatists leaders which is interference in the internal matters of India, which you have also agreed. India has also raised the issue of persecution of Baluchistan people, going forward would India be still moving ahead with this policy?)

Question: Pakistan ki taraf se fir statement aaya hai aapke statement ke baad jismein unhone kaha hai ki Kashmiriyon ke liye wo apni baat kahte rahenge.

(After your statement there was a statement from Pakistan in which they said they will keep on reiterating their view with regards to Kashmiri people.)

Question: Shah Mahmood Qureshi is also going to be in London and he is going to speak at the House of Commons I believe with regards to Kashmir. Has that issue been raised by India with the UK authorities and if yes what has been the response from them?

Official Spokesperson, Shri Raveesh Kumar: Broadly I see there are two sets of questions. One which was asked just now and the other was related to the Pakistani High Commissioner being summoned yesterday by the Foreign Secretary.

You, of course, must have seen the press release which we issued last night. There are two or three important things which I think should be noted and highlighted. The first which we highlighted and it is also mentioned in the press release is Pakistan’s brazen attempt to subvert India’s unity and to violate our sovereignty and territorial integrity and that too by the Foreign Minister of Pakistan, this is something which was pointed out.

We also told him and this is something which I again would like to highlight is that it amounts to Pakistan’s direct interference in India’s internal affairs and third, I think partly answering a question that has been asked just now that this action by Pakistan has confirmed yet again that it officially abets and encourage individuals associated with terrorism and anti-India activities and fourth which I have said in the past as well that there are these two faces of the government which are at play at the same time. One face talks about peace, good relations with India and the other faces takes action which are completely anti-India. It sides people who are openly talking about professing anti-India sentiments and finally we very categorically mentioned that if such action by Pakistan which undermines the unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity of India is repeated it will have consequences. I am not at the liberty to spell out the contours of those consequences from this forum, I don’t think this is for me to spell out.

On Suhasini’s question, we have said that Foreign Minister’s action and I think if you have seen his action in the past as well, not only the present instance but also in the past, is not only a direct interference into the internal affairs of India but encourages and abets individuals associated with terrorism and anti-India activities.

On the question regarding the event which is being organized in London, you see UK is aware about our sensitivities in the matter as a friendly country and as a strategic partner we hope that the government of UK will address our concerns which we have explained to them on the proposed conference which very clearly is intended to undermine the unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity of India.

As far as the event itself is concerned there is no doubt that it again exposes Pakistan duplicity when they talk about peace on one hand but at the same time they are working together with forces which are pushing or fomenting anti-India sentiments. We do condemn such behavior by Pakistan.Question Contd.: Is the Hurriyat Chief a terrorist according to you ?

Official Spokesperson, Shri Raveesh Kumar:
Suhasini, your question has been answered by people who have asked questions.

There is a press release and you are free to draw your own conclusion but that is not what we are saying. The statement is very clear. The behavior of the Pakistani Foreign Minister is something which should be condemned, it is a direct interference with the internal affairs of India. That is what we have said and you can see that in the paragraph.

Question Contd.:
…………. Inaudible ……………

Official Spokesperson, Shri Raveesh Kumar:
That is what I am saying that is what the inference which you drawn but I have not drawn that inference.No, associated with terrorism and anti-India sentiments and forces, I am talking about forces. So this is what we have to say.

Question: Did we ask the UK government to stop then event?

Official Spokesperson, Shri Raveesh Kumar:
You see, we have actually taken it up very strongly with the UK side and we do hope that they do understand our objection to this proposed conference and take appropriate action.

Question: Isse pahle bhi UK ki zameen par jis tarah se Bharat ka tiranga jalaya gaya tha us par bhi aapne virodh jataya tha aur jaahir taur par is conference ko rokne kii baat bhi kahi jaa rahi hai, aapko lagta hai ki jo hamara communication channel hai usmein kisi tarah ka assurance UK ki taraf se hai ki unki zameen ka istemaal Bharat ke khilaaf hone wali gatividhiyon ke liye nahi hone diya jayega?

(Prior to this also there has been incident in which Indian tricolor was burned in the UK and you had registered your protest and obviously there are talks to stop this conference, do you think that in the communication channel that we have with the UK what kind of assurance do we have from their side regarding non-usage of their territory for anti-India activities.)

Official Spokesperson, Shri Raveesh Kumar: Dekhiye humne is maamle mein pahle bhi jo conference hua tha aur abhi bhi jo hamari position hai wo UK ko batayi hai aur kaafi strongly batayi hai ki aapka territory aur aapka country anti-India sentiments ke liye aur anti-India rallies ke liye, conferences ke liye use nahi hone chaahiye. Hum ummeed karte hain ki jis seriousness se is baat ko rakh rahe hain wo is baat ko utni hi seriously lein aur jo is type ki conferences hoti hain uske khilaf action lein.

(See, we have conveyed our position in this regard earlier also during the conference and we have conveyed our position to the UK very strongly that their territory and country should not be used for anti-India sentiments or anti-India rallies and conferences. We hope that they will take this thing with the same seriousness with which we have put it across them and they will take action against such conferences.)

Question: Pakistan has said to call the issue in Kashmir is terrorism is travesty and they said they will continue to pursue the stand they have taken.

Official Spokesperson, Shri Raveesh Kumar:
Frankly I have repeated our stand on their position so many times. I think what they fail to understand is this constant subversion of what they are doing. I think what they are saying is that they are trying to support a certain position in Kashmir but they are trying to divert the attention of the international community from the acts of terrorism which they are supporting, not only the individuals but also the terror infrastructure which still functions from their soil.

Question: Videsh Mantri Sushma Swaraj ne kuch samay pahle sabko bataya tha ki Sanyukt Rashtra mein unki Radio seva Hindi mein bhi shuru hogi. Abhi haall mein hi Hindi mein unhone apni website bhi shuru kii hai. Kya aap batayenge, kyonki jo hamein jaankaari mili hai usmein ye hai ki us radio seva ko shuru hone mein kuch dikkatein aa rahi hain, wo dikkatein financial to isliye jo wo team banaane wale they usey rok diya gaya hai, ye UN ne confirm kiya hai mujhe, is par aap kuch kahenge?

(External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj informed everybody sometime back that UN Radio service will now be available in Hindi also. Recently they have launched their Hindi website also. We have received information that there are some issues relating to the start of Hindi radio service by UN, there are some financial issues so the team that they were building has been put on hold, would you like to comment on it?)

Official Spokesperson, Shri Raveesh Kumar:
Dekhiye jo pichhale do-teen saalon mein humne jo koshish kii hai UN mein Hindi ko badhaava dene ke liye, ek to aap sab ne dekha hoga ki Hindi mein ek bulletin aati hai, usko hamne press conference mein dikhaya bhi tha wo abhi bhi chal raha hai.

Doosara hai Hindi mein UN ka website, abhi mere pass information aaya hai ki wo chaloo ho gaya hai aur ek Hindi ka blog bhi, uski bhi shuruaat hui hai. Hum ye koshish kar rahe hain ki Hindi ki jo news bulletin hai uska hum prachaar-prasaar kaise karein.

Ek option ye hai ki us Hindi ke bulletin ko, jo takreeban 10 minute ka hota hai, uska agar hum ke slot nirdharit karte hain, jaise All India Radio par to iska jo prachar-prasar hai aur UN Hindi Radio ke maadhyam se jo UN related khabarein hain wo Bharat mein aur jo Hindi bhashi hain un tak pahunch paaye.

Ye ek karya hai jo chal raha hai, ismein aur bhi bahut kuch baaki hai par pichhale 2-3 saalon mein humne ispar bahut progress kiya hai. (See, we have made quite a few efforts to promote Hindi in the UN, one is that you must have seen the Hindi bulletin from UN, which we also showed in our press conference, that is still on going.

Second is the Hindi website of UN, I have just received the information that it is functional now and there is a blog in Hindi also. Now we are trying that how we should promote the Hindi news bulletin of UN.

One option is that we can book a slot in All India Radio for that UN bulletin which is for about 10 minutes so that UN related news can reach India and to the Hindi speaking people.

This is a task that is going on and in the last 2-3 years we have achieved good progress in this area.)

Question Contd.:
Project hold ho gaya hai kya?

(Has the project been put on hold?)

Official Spokesperson, Shri Raveesh Kumar: Nahi, aisa kuch nahi hai project hold nahi hua hai, jaisa Videsh Mantri ne bataya bhi tha ki kyunki hamein usmein, financial nahi, itne logon se support lene wali koi problem nahi thi, par ye tha ki jo support karenge unhi ko financially contribute karna padega. To humne ye socha ki jab tak wo nahi ho raha hai tab tak baaki jo cheezein hain jo hum asaani se kar sakte hain, uspar hum aagey badh sakein.

(No, there is nothing like this, the project has not been put on hold. As EAM also said, there is no problem of getting support from so many people but the issue is that those who support will have to contribute financially. So we thought that till the time that is not happening other things which we can easily implement we must proceed to do them.)

Question: You have seen two people have been extradited in this last 24 hrs. if you could give us details of what happened from your side and also are we any closer to getting Choksi and Nirav Modi back?

Question: There are allegations by the lawyers of these two individuals that there is no extradition process. Could you please confirm if they were deported or there was an extradition process in UAE against these individuals?

Question: Ministry of Corporate Affairs ko NCLT ne aaj ye kaha hai ki jo 19 aur log hain, unko Nirav Modi maamle mein karein, jsimein Usha Anand Subramaniam ka bhi naam hai, Sanjeev Saran bhi hain. To kya unko lekar koi information aap tak aai hai kyonki ye bataya jaa raha hai ki wo bhi Nirav Modi aur Mehul Choksi samaan desh chhod sakte hain?

(NCLT has asked Ministry of Corporate Affairs that all the 19 people involved in the Nirav Modi case, which also includes the names of Usha Anand Subramaniam and Sanjeev Saran, that they can flee country just like Nirav Modi or Mehul Choksi, do you have any information about that?)

Official Spokesperson, Shri Raveesh Kumar:
Aakhiri prashn ka uttar to kaafi saral hai, abhi tak hamare pass iski koi jaankaari nahi aai hai. Hum intezar karte hain ki agency se hamein iska information aane ke liye.

(Answer to the last question is quite easy, till now we have not received any information. We wait for the agencies to intimate us about any such thing.)

The question which relates to the two people who have been brought back to India, I think your source of information is the same as mine. I think you will have to contact agencies to get more details in the matter. This is something which I don’t have so you will have to contact the concerned agencies.

On Mehul Choksi, I can only share that we continue to reiterate our request for his extradition. You are aware that the request is presently under the consideration of the Antigua & Barbuda government.

Reiterate in the sense that our High Commission is there and from time to time we do seek status report as to where the present situation is.

How do you view the recent regional initiatives to bring Taliban back to power in Kabul especially India’s role is getting marginalized?Official Spokesperson, Shri Raveesh Kumar: We are very closely following the developments related to peace and reconciliation efforts in Afghanistan which have been undertaken by different stakeholders.

India supports efforts which can achieve an inclusive political settlement. In this context it is important that the presidential election in Afghanistan takes place as per the schedule. We continue to support an Afghan owned, Afghan led and Afghan controlled process. We also feel that for enduring peace and stability in Afghanistan the terrorist safe havens and sanctuaries need to be eliminated. We will participate in all formats of talks which could bring about peace and security in that region.

Question: Do you think there is deterioration from Pakistan’s side as far as understanding of India’s sensitivities are concerned under the new government. Do you see any deterioration under this government?

Official Spokesperson, Shri Raveesh Kumar:
What we have noticed in recent months the level at which the anti-India sentiments are being pushed across the world, I think this is something which is unprecedented, I don’t think we have noticed this level of action on their part. And why this is a bit confusing that while one part of the government is talking about building bridges and peace, the other part which is exactly acting the opposite of what the first part is talking about. There is absolutely no clarity and it lacks seriousness.

Question: Around 8 Indians were arrested in US over a visa fraud. There were reports coming out in the morning today, has the MEA taken any notice of it, have you taken any action, what is expected?

Official Spokesperson, Shri Raveesh Kumar: We are aware about this incident, we are ascertaining more details. Our embassy in Washington as well as the consulates in the US, we are getting in touch with the concerned US authorities to provide, extend consular assistance to the people who have been affected. We have also mobilized the Indian community organizations in the US to extend all possible support to the students who are affected by this incident.

Question: Could you tell us whether Netanyahu’s visit has been confirmed and if there is an agenda already set and if the visit of Crown Prince Salman also expected in February?

Official Spokesperson, Shri Raveesh Kumar: On the visit of the Israeli Prime Minister we have agreed to receive the Prime Minister of Israel for a short working visit to India. The dates and other details of the visit are still being worked out and once it is finalized then we will share it with you.

On the second visit, we are actually still trying to work out the details. I think you understand that there is a proper mechanism and as and when the dates of the visit are finalized we will share with you.

Question: As you said we will be part of all the talks relating to peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan, so are you also saying that we are going to send official representative to talks where Taliban maybe part of it, so are you saying that?

Official Spokesperson, Shri Raveesh Kumar: No, this again is speculative. It depends from meeting to meeting. Let us see for which meeting we are invited and then we will take a decision as to at what level and in what capacity we participate.

Question: Pichhale parliament session ke andar Videsh Mantralay ki taraf se ek jawab diya gaya tha jismein kaha gaya ki Tahavvur Husain Rana aur David Coleman Headley ki extradition process chal rahi hai, kya aap bata sakte hain ki usmein kya pragati hui hai abhi tak?

(During the last parliament session a statement was made in the parliament by MEA in which it was stated that the extradition process for Tahavvur Husain Rana and David Coleman Headley is underway, so can you tell us what is the progress in that regard?)

Official Spokesperson, Shri Raveesh Kumar: Mujhe ye information check karna padega aur hamari CPV division se check karke main aapko bata doonga. (I don’t have the information with me about this, I will check with our CPV division and let you know.)

Question: Can you confirm for us whether the passports of Deepak Talwar and Rajeev Saxena were suspended and that is how they were deported?Official Spokesperson, Shri Raveesh Kumar: I don’t have information on this and I think you will have to contact the agencies on this.

I don’t see any other hand, so this press briefing comes to a close. Thank you very much for joining.



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