Media Center Media Center

Transcript of Virtual Weekly Media Briefing by the Official Spokesperson (March 05, 2021)

March 06, 2021

Shri Anurag Srivastava, Official Spokesperson: Good evening. Welcome back to the regular weekly briefing. I'll start with moving directly to your questions since I don't have any announcements to make. Yatin, could you please take over.

Shri Yatin Patel, OSD (PR): Sir, the first set of question is on container terminal. Siddhanth from WION is asking, "Sri Lanka cabinet note said, Western terminal has been given to India. In fact, it said it has been informed to Indian High Commission, any details and also your reaction to that please”. Rene from Kyodo news is asking, "Sri Lankan government said that Indian High Commission has approved the plan for West container terminal. Any comment from Ministry of External Affairs. Padma Rao has asked, "Some days ago, the Sri Lankan cabinet cleared the offer of 85% stake to India and Japan to develop Colombo's West container terminal in lieu of an early agreement for the East container terminal, which it had scrapped, citing trade union protest. So has the Government of India received a formal offer yet? Has New Delhi accepted this new offer? If so, does it contain an inbuilt guarantee that this project will not be scrapped again, if the trade unions start protesting again?

Shri Anurag Srivastava, Official Spokesperson:
My response to this would be that our High Commission in Colombo has already conveyed to the government of Sri Lanka that their media release in so far as the reference to the approval of the High Commission was concerned is factually incorrect. We understand that the Government of Sri Lanka has engaged directly with investors on this project.

Shri Yatin Patel, OSD (PR): Siddhanth from WION is asking, "Has Bangladesh taken back 80 Rohingya refugees which India had saved in the Bay of Bengal?”, Ashok Sharma from AP is asking, "Whether India and Bangladesh have reached an understanding on the future of 81 Rohingyas rescued by Indian Coast Guard last month in the Andaman Sea?.”

Shri Anurag Srivastava, Official Spokesperson: Yes, I have an update. I had told you last week about the situation of the occupants of the boat. Since then, our Coast Guard has continued to provide humanitarian relief to the occupants of the boat including medical assistance, food and drinking water. We have been in touch with the Bangladeshi authorities to facilitate their safe repatriation back to Bangladesh from where they originated. The matter was also discussed at the last Home Secretary level talks between the two sides which were held on the 27th of February.

Shri Yatin Patel, OSD (PR): Devdeep from Sankei Shimbun is asking, "Multiple reports suggests that personnel from Myanmar police have crossed over to India in Mizoram and are seeking refuge can you please provide some details if these reports are true? Siddhanth from WION is asking, "20 people from Myanmar have crossed over to India seeking refuge. Any details on that? Will we provide refuge to them?” Similar questions were asked by Ashok Sharma from AP, Taukeer Hussain from Yomiuri Shimbun, Padma Rao and Archana from Bloomberg.

Shri Anurag Srivastava, Official Spokesperson: Look what I can tell you is as of now we are ascertaining the facts. We will revert to you once we have more details on this.

Shri Yatin Patel, OSD (PR): Pranay from ABP News is asking, "Myanmar main sainik sarkar ke khilaaf ho rahe virodh pradarshanon mein police kaarravaee mein beete kuchh dinon mein kaee logon kee jaanen gaee hain. Myanmar mein badhatee hinsa ko lekar Bhaarat mein kya chinta hai aur tanaav ghataaneke lie sambandhit pakshon ke saath kis tarah Bhaarateey koshishen jaaree hein?” (Questioned in Hindi; Approximate translation) "In the protests against the military government in Myanmar, many people lost their lives in police action in a few days. What are the concerns in India regarding the increasing violence in Myanmar and how Indian efforts are continuing with the concerned parties to reduce the tension?”

Shri Anurag Srivastava, Official Spokesperson: Pranay, hamaree Embassy ne jo haal mein bayaan diya hai voh apane dekha hoga. Myanmar ke ghatanaakram pe ham baareekee se najar banae hue hain. Aur jaisa ki main ne pahale bataaya tha ki ham apane sahayogiyon se, partner countries se, iss bare mein charcha karate rahe hain. Inn baatacheet mein hamane kaha hai ki is mudde ko shaanti poorn tareeke se matabhedon ko suljhaana chaahie aur yah hamaara paksh raha hai ki vahaan jo bhee sthiti hai, uss ko shaanti poorn tareeke se, vahaan jo matbhed hain unako sulajhaana chaahie. (Answered in Hindi; Approximate translation) Pranay, you must have seen the recent statement issued by our Embassy. We are closely watching the developments in Myanmar and as I mentioned earlier, we have been discussing this with our partner countries. In these conversations we have said that the issue must be resolved in a peaceful manner. It has been our stand that whatever the situation is there, the differences should be resolved there in a peaceful manner.

Shri Yatin Patel, OSD (PR):
Next set of question is on QUAD. Rainey from Kyodo news is asking, "Will India be participating this year in the Quad Summit? There is a report which suggests that two dates of March 16 or 17 have been considered for the summit to be held. Can we get any clarity on this part?” Vishnu Som from NDTV has asked, "Will the Prime Minister meet the US president in a meeting of QUAD leaders as announced by the Australian Prime Minister. Will this be virtual or in person and when it is?” Shankar from India Vs Disinformation has asked, "The Australian Prime Minister has said that QUAD leaders will hold first ever summit in a virtual mode. Has the MEA any information on the issue?” Similar questions were asked by Siddhanth from WION, Nainima from the Print and Pranay from ABP News.

Shri Anurag Srivastava, Official Spokesperson: I have nothing for you on this subject at this point of time.

Shri Yatin Patel, OSD (PR): Siddhanth from WION has asked, "How has the ceasefire observance going on a deep LOC, any plan for confidence building measures between India and Pakistan?” Taukeer from Yomiuri Shimbun has asked, "Has there been any ceasefire violation on Indo-Pak border after the recent recommitment to ceasefire agreement?” Jai Prakash from Dainik Jagran has asked, "Pakistan ke videsh mantraalay ne kaha hai ki Pakistan Bharat ke saath har mudde par baatcheet karane ko taiyaar hai. Bhaarateey videsh mantraalay is bare mein kya kahana chaahega? (Questioned in Hindi; Approximate translation) Pakistan's Foreign Ministry has said that Pakistan is ready to negotiate on every issue with India. What would the Indian Ministry of External Affairs want to say about this? Ranjit Kumar from Rakshak News is asking, "How would you describe the current situation along the LOC between India and Pakistan after ceasefire agreement?” Brahma Prakash from Zee News has asked "Kya Bharat Pakistan ke beech jaldhee baatacheet shuroo ho saktee hai? Kya Pakistan ke prati Bharat ki jo neeti rahee hai usamen koi badlaav aaya hai, jis mein Bharat kehta tha ki aatankavaad aur vaarta saath-saath nahin chal sakatee?” (Questioned in Hindi; Approximate translation) "Will talks between India and Pakistan begin soon? Has there been any change in India's policy towards Pakistan, in which India used to say that terrorism and dialogue cannot go hand in hand?” Similar questions were asked by Srinjoy from Times Now and Deepak Ranjan from PTI –Bhasha.

Shri Anurag Srivastava, Official Spokesperson: Look on the questions related to the LOC, the ceasefire agreement and all that I will direct you to the Ministry of Defence, you can contact them. On the other questions what I'll say is what was said earlier that India desires normal relations with all its neighbours including Pakistan. We have consistently maintained that issues, if any, between India and Pakistan should be resolved bilaterally and peacefully. Our position on key issues remains unchanged.

Shri Yatin Patel, OSD (PR): Next set of question is on vaccine supply. Uma from Financial Express has asked, "Has Syria requested for vaccines, if yes, then when is India to send and what about vaccine supply to Iraq?” Ashok Sharma from AP has asked, "Can the MEA confirm if EUs regulator is auditing manufacturing process at Serum Institute of India, how will the Indian government ensure that vaccine equity is maintained now that richer nations eyeing India's manufacturing capacity and looking to strike its own deals. Brahma Prakash from Zee News has asked, "Duniya ke kitane deshon ne Bharat se vaccine kee demand kar rakhee hai? Kya Pakistan kee taraf se bhi vaccine ke liye koee anurodha aya hai?” (Questioned in Hindi; Approximate translation) "How many countries in the world have demanded vaccine from India? Has any request for vaccine come from Pakistan? Siddhanth from WION is asking, "Has Iran requested for vaccines from India? If yes, how much quantity?”

Shri Anurag Srivastava, Official Spokesperson: Siddhanth and Huma, I won't be able to give you specific details on which countries have requested for vaccines. What I can broadly tell you is that our vaccine supply under the "Vaccine Maitri” initiative has been continuing, the total supplies have reached 461.66 lakh doses. Of this, 71.5 lakh doses have been delivered through grant, 288.4 lakh doses on commercial terms and 101.76 lakhs through Covax. In total we have already delivered vaccines to 47 countries and to UN healthcare workers also. What I can also tell you and I'm sure you would be aware by now is that this information all of it is available on our website, it is being continuously updated. To the question from Brahma Prakash, I have answered for the first part of your question. Pakistan kee taraph se koi anurodh kee jaanakaaree nahin hai mere paas. (Answered in Hindi; Approximate translation) I do not know of any request from Pakistan. To Mr. Ashok Sharma’s question. Our "Vaccine Maitri” initiative has been guided by PM’s vision and announcement that India's delivery and production capacity would be used for the benefit of all mankind, and in this spirit, we've continued our initiative. We will continue to supply more countries in the days to come. I've already given you the numbers in terms of our supplies so far. And ofcourse, the decisions on all these supplies will be calibrated as per our domestic production as well as the requirements of our National Vaccine programme which as you know is the largest vaccination programme in the world.

Shri Yatin Patel, OSD (PR): Huma from Financial Express has asked, "Is the Vande Bharat Mission is over? How many Indian still date have been repatriated? If there is any update, please share.”

Shri Anurag Srivastava, Official Spokesperson: Huma, I'm happy to update you on the Vande Bharat Mission. Phase 10 of this mission is presently operational and this phase has been operational since the 1st of March 2021. As of 4th of March, more than 61.5 lakh people have been facilitated through different modes of this mission. And since you've asked I'll give you some detailed numbers. Under this phase, which is phase 10, and is currently operational, more than 1,350 international flights are scheduled to be operated from 28 countries, which will facilitate an estimated two lakh sixty thousand people. Of these, nearly 920 flights are from GCC countries, around 150 from US and Canada, around 120 from UK and Europe, around 100 from Southeast Asia, and around 50 from our neighbourhood. At present, we also have Bilateral Air Bubble arrangements with 27 countries in place.

Shri Yatin Patel, OSD (PR): Pranay from ABP News has asked, "videsh mantree Dr. S. Jaishankar ke beete dinon apane british samakaksh Dominic Raab ke saath phone par baat huee thee. Iss baatacheet mein kya Nirav Modi ke pratyarpan par aage ki prakriya par bhee koee baat huee hai? Nirav Modi ko kab aur kaise Bharat laaya jaega is par Britain sarkar se kya koi aashvaasan mila hai?” (Questioned in Hindi; Approximate translation) Foreign Minister Dr. S. Jaishankar spoke on the phone with his British counterpart Dominic Raab in the past. In this conversation, has there been any talk on the further process of Nirav Modi's extradition? Has any assurance been received from the British government on when and how Nirav Modi will be brought to India?

Shri Anurag Srivastava, Official Spokesperson: Pranay, aapane videsh mantreejee ka tweet dekha hoga, UK foreign secretary ke saath baatacheet ke baad jisamein unhonne bataaya tha ki, baatacheet mein dvipaksheey sahayog, kshetreey mudde aur UN se jude muddon par baatacheet huee, aur jahaan tak kee nirav modi ka maamala hai, jaisa ki mainne pichhalee baar bataaya tha 25 February ko Westminister Magistrates court ne jab apna judgement pronounce kiya unke extradition mein, vah recommendation UK Secretary of state for home ko bheja gaya hai aur ham is samay UK government se unke pratyarpan ke liye baatacheet kar rahe hain. (Answered in Hindi; Approximate translation) Pranay, you must have seen the tweet of the External Affairs Minister after conversation with the UK Foreign Secretary, in which he mentioned talks on bilateral cooperation, regional issues and issues related to the UN. As far as the Nirav Modi case is concerned, as I said last time that the Westminster Magistrate Court pronounced their judgement on 25 February in this extradition case, their recommendation has been sent to the UK secretary of state for home and we are currently in talks with the UK Government for his extradition.

Shri Yatin Patel, OSD (PR): Elizabeth from Live Mint has asked, "Is India considering making it mandatory for people coming into the country to have a proof of vaccination certificate? And what about for people going out because there are countries thinking of a vaccination passport?”

Shri Anurag Srivastava, Official Spokesperson: Elizabeth, I'm not aware of what you mentioned, but what I can tell you is that you would have seen these advisories and guidelines which come out from time to time from the Ministry of Home Affairs regarding travel restrictions, etc. which I think cover these areas.

Shri Yatin Patel, OSD (PR): Narendra Nath from Navbharat Times, is asking, "Krishi kaanoon par England mein kaee netaon ne savaal uthae hain. Iss par 8 march ko bahas hone kee sambhaavana hai. Kya India ne England se is masle mein koee baat kee hai?. (Questioned in Hindi; Approximate translation) "Farm laws has been questioned by many politicians in England. It is likely to be debated on 8 March. Has India talked to England on this issue?”

Shri Anurag Srivastava, Official Spokesperson: Narendrnaath jee, jaisa ki aapako pata hee hoga videshon mein sthit sabhee Bhaarateey Mission Bharat mein hone vale ghatanaakramon kee sahee jaanakaaree vahaan kee sarkar aur vahaanke logon ko upalabdh karaane ke liye kaam karate hain. Issee sandarbh mein London mein hamaara jo uchchaayog hai aur hamaare jo consulate hai Birminghum mein aur Edinburg mein, unhonne UK ki sarkar, UK ke sansad, civil society sabhee se, teenon Farm bill ko lekar tathya upalabdh karae hain, aur saath-saath, jo Bharat sarkar ke vyaapak prayaas hain iss Farm bill ko lekar kisaan unionon ke saath baatacheet se iss mudde ka hal nikaala jae, isake bare mein bhee jaanakaaree dee ja rahee hai. (Answered in Hindi; Approximate translation) Narendra Nathji, as you would know, all Indian Missions abroad work to provide accurate information about the developments in India to the government and people there. In this context, our High Commission in London and our Consulates in Birmingham and in Edinburgh, have provided facts about the three Farm bills to the UK Government, UK MPs, Civil Society. And information is also being shared on the comprehensive efforts of the Government of India to sort out the issue together with the Farmer Unions, though talks.

Shri Yatin Patel, OSD (PR): Sandeep from Tribune is asking, "With QUAD expanding its agenda to include climate change, etc. is India looking to do likewise in its other trilateral with NATO members and US allies?

Shri Anurag Srivastava, Official Spokesperson: Sandeep, without getting into the specifics of discussions in other meetings and various other mechanisms, what I will tell you is that there is a growing recognition that India is a leader in climate action. We are the only country on track among the G20 nations to meet our climate change mitigation commitments. We are not only meeting our Paris Agreement targets, but we are also likely to exceed them. We consider climate change as a serious threat and of course, therefore, this is an area of cooperation with our key partners.

Shri Yatin Patel, OSD (PR): Pranay from ABP News is asking, "Kya Bharat mein prastaavit BRICS videsh mantriyon kee aagaamee baithak kee taareekhen aur format tay ho chukka hai? Kya isake liye cheen ke videshmantree ko nyota bheja ja chuka hai?” (Questioned in Hindi; Approximate translation) "Have the dates and format of the upcoming BRICS Foreign Ministers meeting in India been decided? Has the Chinese Foreign Minister been invited for this?”

Shri Anurag Srivastava, Official Spokesperson:
Pranay, aapako gyaat hoga kee haal mein hee videsh mantreene BRICS kee website ka udghaatan kiya aur is website par jo plan of action ko lekar calendar of activities hai usako haal hee mein release kiya gaya hai aur BRICS ke hone vaalee meeting, events, in sab ka update aapako iss website mein milta rahega. Toh aap kripaya is website ko dekhen, yah jaanakaaree is par upalabdh kara dee jaege. (Answered in Hindi; Approximate translation) Pranay, you will be aware that recently the External Affairs Minister inaugurated the website of BRICS and the plan of action on this website, the calendar of activities have been released recently and you will continue to get the updates on meetings, events of BRICS on this website. Please visit this website; this information will be made available on it.

Shri Yatin Patel, OSD (PR):
Sandeep from Tribune is asking, "Have the Indian missions and Canada and Australia taken steps to quell infighting among Indian groups over farm bills?” Srinjoy from Times Now is asking, "Has India spoken with Canada about attacks on people of Indian origin? What assurance has Canada given to India?”

Shri Anurag Srivastava, Official Spokesperson: I had briefed last time about the situation in Canada in this respect, and we have come across reports of threats and intimidation to some members of the Indian community in Canada from certain fringe elements there. We took this up with the Canadian authorities both in Ottawa and in New Delhi and requested them to take steps to ensure the safety and security of Indian citizens in Canada. We have advised our nationals to report any such incidents to the local police as well as to bring it to the immediate attention of our High Commission as well as of our Consulates. And this applies to such situations if they arise in other countries also.

Shri Yatin Patel, OSD (PR): Gautam Lahiri is asking, "UN CPD recommended Bangladesh graduation from LDC status along with Nepal and Laos. How India looks at this? Whether India will continue to extend duty exemption facilities under SAFTA regime or whether India has started negotiations with this country's for FTA?”

Shri Anurag Srivastava, Official Spokesperson:
Gautamji, we are happy to note Bangladesh's graduation from the LDC status and you would have also seen the remarks by EAM at the press conference with the Foreign Minister of Bangladesh yesterday during his visit. EAM in his remarks expressed admiration and pride at Bangladesh's graduation from the LDC status and we will continue to support and partner with Bangladesh in their growth trajectory. Regarding SAFTA, during the recent India Bangladesh virtual summit, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina had appreciated the quota free duty free access that we provided to Bangladesh goods coming from Bangladesh since 2011 under SAFTA. On trade agreements, both Prime Ministers have directed officials to expeditiously conclude the ongoing joint study on the prospects of a Comprehensive Economic Partnership arrangement.

Shri Yatin Patel, OSD (PR): Anita Joshua from Telegraph is asking, "Will there be a response from the Ministry on the Freedom House report that has dropped India from free to partly free country? Has India raised the issue of Freedom House not including Kashmir in its report on India with the organisation or US government since it is also funded by the US government?”

Shri Anurag Srivastava, Official Spokesperson:
Anita, what I will say is that the political judgement of Freedom House are as inaccurate and distorted as their maps. For example, on the COVID-19 situation, there is a widespread appreciation in the world of our response, of our high recovery rate, and of our low fertility rate. India has robust institutions and well established democratic practices. We do not need sermons especially from those who cannot get the basics right.

Shri Yatin Patel, OSD (PR): Next set of question is on line of actual control. Deepak Ranjan from PTI Bhasha is asking, "Cheen ke saath vaastavik niyantran rekha par sangharsh vale shesh ilaakon mein sthiti saamaany banaane ko lekar kya pragati huee hai?” (Questioned in Hindi; Approximate translation), "What progress has been made in normalizing the situation in the remaining areas of conflict along the Line of Actual Control with China? Elizabeth from the Mint has asked, "When is the next round of WMCC talks? Will there be WMCC talks or Will dialogue between India and China be confined to the level of military commanders?” Srinjoy from Times Now has asked, "When is the next phase of this engagement likely? At this point, the Depsang and hot springs need to be sorted out.”

Shri Anurag Srivastava, Official Spokesperson: Let me give you a detailed response on this. Last week, EAM had a telephone conversation with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi. A detailed press release was also issued outlining the main points of conversation between EAM and his Chinese counterpart. EAM had emphasised that with the completion of disengagement in the Pangong Lake area, the two sides should now move quickly to resolve the remaining issues along the LAC in Eastern Ladakh. The senior commanders in the last meeting held on 20th of February had also noted that the disengagement in the Pangong Lake area was a significant step forward and it provided a good basis for the resolution of other remaining issues along the LAC in the western sector. The two sides had a detailed exchange of views at the last meeting of senior commanders on the remaining issues. As EAM had pointed out to the Chinese Foreign Minister, both sides have always agreed that maintenance of peace and tranquillity in the border area was an essential basis for the development of bilateral relations. A prolongation of the existing situation was not in the interest of either side. The two ministers have agreed to remain in touch. They've also agreed to establish a hotline, details of which will be worked out subsequently through diplomatic channels. It is therefore our expectation that the Chinese side will work with us, both through the WMCC and the senior commander’s meetings to ensure that disengagement in the remaining areas is completed at the earliest. This would allow both sides to consider de-escalation of forces in Eastern Ladakh, as that alone will lead to the restoration of peace and tranquillity and provide conditions for progress in our bilateral relationship. Are there any further questions?

Shri Yatin Patel, OSD (PR): No, Sir.

Shri Anurag Srivastava, Official Spokesperson: Thank you. So this concludes the weekly briefing. See you again next week.


Post A Comment

  • Name *
    E-mail *
  • Write Your Comment *
  • Verification Code * Verification Code