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Transcript of Weekly Media Briefing by the Official Spokesperson (October 14, 2021)

October 14, 2021

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: A very good evening to all of you. Festive season going on, but nevertheless, we are here working on and good to see all of you over this weekly media interaction. We don't have any major announcements for the moment, I'm forgetting something. So I'm happy to start with questions this time. Okay, I'll start here. Sidhant first, and then we'll see the topics and we will see how to go ahead.

Speaker 1: Sir the World Health Organisation has announced a new study when it comes to origin of the virus whose first case was from Wuhan. The Chinese, of course, aren't very happy with it. What is India's position? How do you see this announcement by the World Health Organisation?

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: Look I think , we saw some media report on this, there is announcement on this, to be honest, I don't have the full details of what exactly it entails, I understand that was given in a briefing rather than a formal details of it. Let me just reiterate that what we have stated till now that is we have our interest in further studies and data on this issue of origin and the need for understanding and cooperation by all concerned. I think I'll leave it for that, because we'll also try to get more details of what exactly has been announced. Sorry, I saw a couple of more hands. Next round Srinjoy. And then I will come to you.

Speaker 2: Sir, there have been some disturbing reports from Bangladesh, about Durga Puja pandals being attacked, not just one or two, but large number and destroyed some of them. Naturally, there's some unhappiness there. Has that unhappiness reflected in the Indian government? Is there anything we have conveyed to Dhaka, and if you could just let us know a little about it.

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: We have also seen some as you said disturbing reports of untoward incidents involving attacks on religious gatherings in Bangladesh. We note that the government of Bangladesh has reacted promptly to ensure control of the situation including the deployment of law and law enforcement machinery. We also understand that the ongoing festive celebrations of Durga Puja, which you alluded to continue in Bangladesh with the support of the government of Bangladesh agencies, and of course, the large majority of the public. High commission in Dhaka, as well as our consulates in Bangladesh, are obviously in very close contact with the authorities in Dhaka and at local levels. So that’s for the moment I think I leave it at that.

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: "JI dekhiye abhee mainne jaisa kaha Bangladesh mein jo kuchh incidents aaye hain hamaare najar mein ye jo attacks huye hai. Religious centers pe, Durga Pooja manch pe. Hamein gyaat hai. Iss ka hum Bangladesh Government ke saath hamaaree contact banaye hue hain. Humne dekha hai ki Bangladesh ki sarkar ne is pe turant kaaryavaahee ki hai. Police aur baaki ke jo security measures hain unhonne liye hain aur Durga Pooja celebration chal rahe hain Bangladesh mein. Sarkaar ka support raha hai usmein aur Bangladesh public ka bhi bahut support raha hai usmein. Hamare High Commission, hamare Consul awas Bangladesh mein poori Bangladeshi Sarkar aur baaki authorities ke saath close contact mein hein. Sampark banaye rakhiye aur sirph Dhaka mein hee nahin local level pe bhi. Baaki iske baare mai details, to ye to, ye to phir investigation ya unki authorities par mein abhee chhod doonga, itna main keh sakta hoon. (Answered in Hindi; Approximate Translation) Look, just as I said, whatever incidents have come to light in Bangladesh, these are attacks in our eyes. At religious centres, at Durga Puja stage. We know this.We are maintaining our contact with Bangladesh government. We have seen that the Government of Bangladesh has taken immediate action on this. The police and other security measures have been taken by them and Durga Puja Celebration is going on, there has been support of the government in Bangladesh. There has also been a lot of support from Bangladeshi public also. Our High Commission and our resident consul in Bangladesh are in close contact with the entire Bangladeshi government and other authorities. Keeping in touch not only in Dhaka but also at the local level. I will leave it to the investigation or their authorities for the rest of the details, so that’s all I can say.”

Speaker 3: "Sir mera savaal Bharat aur cheen ke beech jaaree jo tanaav hai LAC par usko lekar hai.(Questioned in Hindi; approximate Translation) Sir, my question is about the ongoing tension between India and China on the LAC.”

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: Moving ahead. Please.

Speaker 4: "Ji, terahve round ki jo Core Commander level ki baatcheet thi wo baatcheet bilkul hi pichle tamam round se itar hum dekhen ki bepatri ho gayi aur jis tarah ke statement dono hi desdhon ki taraf se jaari kiye gaye, wo batlate hein ki tanaav aur badh rahe hein aur khas taur pe disengagement ko lekar jo mutual understanding hei uss se China piche haat raha hai. Aakhir kya wazah isski rahi kyonki ye wazah pata nahin chal pa raha hai aagar statement ko dekhen to. Aur doosra kaal jo statement jaari kiya gaya hai Aarunachal mein uprashtrapati ke daure ke dauran, jiis tarah se Cheen ne usspar objection create kiya. Kya is eek routine objection maana jai ya iss ke piche bhi kuch karan samjha ja sakta hai. (Questioned in Hindi; Approximate translation) The talks of the 13th round which was held at he Core Commander level, we see that the talk was completely different from the previous rounds and the kind of statements issued by both the countries show that the tension is increasing further. And especially, China is withdrawing from the mutual understanding regarding disengagement, what was the reason for this because this reason is not clear if you look at the statement. And the second statement issued yesterday during the visit of the Vice President to Arunachal, the way China objected to it. Should this be considered a routine objection or can there be some reason behind it as well?

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: Anybody else on China? Bhutan, China I will come. That’s not India China. Anybody India China? Okay. "Humne iss par kafi detail sa press release to nahin, hamare comment media mein bhi de rakha hai” (Anwered in Hindi; Approximate translation) We have not given a detailed press release on this but we have released our comments in the media.

Jaisa ki aap jante hein ki Bharat-Cheen core commander star ki 13vin daur ki baithak 10 october ko chushul-moldo seema baithak sthal paar aayojit ki gait hi. Hamne baithak ke bare mein ek vistrit press vigyapti jaari ki hai. Jaisa ki hamne baar-baar kaha hai, LAC paar halat dwipakhshiye samjhauton ka ullanghan karate hue cheeni paksh dwara yathasthithi ko badalne ke ektarpha prayason ke kaaran hue the. Humne shesh kshetron ke samadhan ke liye rachnatmak sujhav prastut kiye lekin cheen paksh sehmat nahin tha aur aapni or se koi prastav prastut nahin kar saka.

Doono paksh samvad jaari rakhne aur zamini star par sthirtha banaye rakhne paar sehmat hue hein. Hum ummid kartein hein ki cheeni paksh, dwipakshiye sanjhauton aur protocol ka poori tarah se paalan karte hue, poorvi ladakh mein LAC ke ssath shesh muddon ke shigra samadhan ki disha mein kaam karega. Yeh dono videsh mantriyon dwara duhanbe mein aapni haliya baithak mein sujhaye gaye margdarshan ke anurup bhi hoga, jahan we iss baat par sehmat hue the ki donon pakshon ko shesh muddon ko jald se jald hal karna chaiye. Hum ye bhi kehte rahe hein ki shesh kshetron ka samadhan aur aaman aur shanti ki bahali se hamare samgra dwipakshiye sambandhon mein pragati ko sugam banaya ja sakega.

Arunachal Pradesh par Cheeni tippaniyan

Humne iss tarah ki tippanniyon ko kharij karate hue kal iss par ek media bayan jaari kiya tha. Arunachal Pradesh Bharat ka ek abinn aur avibhajya hissa hai. Yeh kai maukon paar cheeni paksh ko spast rrop se avgat karaya gaya hai. Bhartiye neta niyamit roop se arunachal Pradesh rajya ki yatra karate hein jaise we bharat ke kisi aanya rajya mein karate hein. Bhartiye netaon ke bharat ke kisi bhi Rajya ke daure paar aapatti jatana bhartiye logon ke liye tark aur samajh se hat kar hai.

(Answered in Hindi; Approximate Translation) As you are aware the 13th round of India-China Corps Commander Level meeting was held at Chushul-Moldo border meeting point on October 10. We have issued a detailed press release about the meeting. As we have said repeatedly, the situation along the LAC had been caused by unilateral attempts of Chinese side to alter the status quo in violation of bilateral agreements. We put forward constructive suggestions for resolving the remaining areas but the Chinese side was not agreeable and also could not provide any forward-looking proposals.

The two sides have agreed to maintain communications and also to maintain stability on the ground. We expect the Chinese side to work towards early resolution of the remaining issues along the LAC in Eastern Ladakh, while fully abiding by bilateral agreements and protocols. This would also be in accord with the guidance provided by the two Foreign Ministers in their recent meeting in Dushanbe where they had agreed that the two sides should resolve the remaining issues at the earliest. We have also been saying that resolution of the remaining areas and restoration of peace and tranquility would facilitate progress in our overall bilateral relations.

Chinese comments on Arunachal Pradesh

We have issued a media statement on this yesterday, rejecting such comments. Arunachal Pradesh is an integral and inalienable part of India. This has been clearly conveyed to the Chinese side on several occasions. Indian leaders routinely travel to the state of Arunachal Pradesh as they do any other states of India. Objecting to the visit of Indian leaders to a state of India does not stand to reason and understanding of Indian people. Thank you. Okay. You please. You have been waiting.

Aab to routine hai, ki aapne objection kaha, dekhiye hum to kafi seriously lete hain. Hamare rajya mein Uprashtrapati jain, koi iss pe tipanni krein, aapatti jataain ye hamare liye thik nahin, issliye humne iss ko seriously lete hue issmein ye vigyapti nikalin thi kaal. (Answered in Hindi; approximate Translation) Now it is routine, that you said objection, see we are taking it very seriously. Let the Vice President go to our state, they comment on this, it is not right for them to raise objections, so we took this seriously and took out this release yesterday.

Speaker 5: Mein Brahm Prakash hun Zee News se, mera sawal hai Aryan drug case mein kal court ko bataya Agency ne ki unhone jo chat hai, uss mein videshi nagrikon se, to usske liye videsh mantralay ko approach kiya hai ki kaise un videshiyon tak pahunch sakte hein. To ussko lekar kya koi jaankari uplabdh kaara sakte hein? (Questioned in Hindi; Approximate Translation) I am Brahm Prakash from ZEE NEWS, my question is in Aryan Drug Case. Yesterday, the agency told the court that in the chat there are foreign nationals too, they have approached the Ministry of External Affairs for that as to how they can reach those foreigners. So can you provide any information regarding that?

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: Mere ko iss bare mein koi jaankari nahin hai. Maine court ke bare mein wo document bhi nahin dekha. Ho sakta hai media report kafi aa chuki . Mere paas aisi koi khabar nahin hai. Mein check kar ke dekhunga. Wo kar rahe hain court mein. Mujhe check kaarna padega. (Answered in Hindi; Approximate translation) I have no knowledge about this. I did not even see that document about the court. Maybe enough of the media reports have come. I have no such news. I will check and see. They are doing this, I have to check.
Yes sorry. Go ahead.

Speaker 6: You may have seen a press release by the Bhutanese foreign ministry that basically announces that an MOU has been signed at a virtual conference today between Bhutan and China on a three step roadmap for the resolution of their boundary issues. So my questions were two fold. One, has the Bhutanese government kept India informed of this development, how big a development does the MEA see the signing of an MOU which is one step towards an actual agreement on the boundary. The second part being of course, that Doklam is amongst the boundaries that are being discussed between the two. And is India particularly concerned that Doklam might be part of a resolution package that would be in some way given control off to China?

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: Look, I'll be very specific on this. You are referring to I think that the MOU that was you know; those are press releases. I thought I saw pretty much a little while ago as we came in. We have noted the signing of the memorandum of understanding between Bhutan and China today. You are aware that Bhutan and China have been holding a boundary negotiation since 1984. India has similarly been holding boundary negotiations with China. I think for the moment I will limit myself to just these comments on it. As I said, we have noticed the development we are aware of it. And we are also aware as you are that they've been holding boundary negotiations. Next, anybody else? Oh, that's a quick one. Sorry, I missed you.

Speaker 7: The 13th round of talks between India and China, this seems to be a deadlock. So will there be any initiation of a diplomatic level talks after this?

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: Look I heard the similar question on this characterising it. I'm not characterising it beyond what we have said. As I mentioned in Hindi a little while ago, we had put forward constructive suggestions during this round but the Chinese side was not agreeable. As you know that we've had some progress in terms of disengagement from various areas in the past. We've had a meeting between the two foreign ministers earlier in Dushanbe, where they agreed that the remaining areas should be resolved. I would not like to characterise it any particular way except to say that two sides have agreed to maintain communications and to maintain stability on the ground. We expect the Chinese side to work towards early resolution of all the remaining issues on the LAC in eastern Ladakh. And obviously, as was discussed during the minister's thing, while fully abiding by bilateral agreements and protocols and let me reiterate again, resolution of the remaining areas and restoration of peace and tranquillity would facilitate progress in our overall bilateral relations and we look forward to continuing to engage with China on this. Thank you very much, if there are no other .I thought there are no other Before I go to the second questions Sorry you had a question. You also asked your first question. Second question I think we will close unless there is a new topic Okay, tell me. Let him first.

Speaker 8: Mera sawal Sri Lanka ko lekar hai. Sri Lanka mein ham lagaataar dekh rahe hain ki cheen jo hain vo apne strategic alliance ko badha raha hai. Yahan par economic partnership ko badha raha hai. Haal ke dinon mein videsh sachiv kee yaatra huee. Abhi Army Chief bhee vahaan kee yaatra par hain. Bharat kis tarah se apne engagement ko badha ke apane padosee ko apane kareeb laane kee koshish kar raha hai? usake baare mein। (Questioned in Hindi; approximate translation) My question is regarding Sri Lanka. In Sri Lanka, we are constantly seeing that China is expanding its strategic alliance. Their economic partnership is increasing. Foreign Secretary's visit took place in recent days. Right now the Army Chief is also on a visit there. How is India trying to bring its neighbour closer to it by increasing its engagement? About that.

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: Ye to question nahin hua, ye to aap kaaphee open discussion aap shuroo karna chaahate hain. Dekhiye Foreign Secretary ki yaatra rahee, bahut successful rahi. Humne pichhle baar pichhale haphte ya uske pehle bhee hamne detail mein vistaar se aapako bataaya ki kya-kya hua. Wo Sri lanka mein gaye the. Colombo mein to gae hi the.Wo Kandy mein gaye, wahaan pe tooth temple hai, vahaan pe unhone logon se mulakaat ki. Wo Trincomalee gaye. Jahaan pe vahaan vo Oil tank farm hai, jahaan pe unhonne daura kiya. To usmein kafi hum log invest kar rahe hain, usko aur badhaane ke liye. Phir Jaffna mein gaye. Wahaan pe kaafi mulaakaatein hui. Unki mulaakaaten sarkar ki leadership se, Sri Lankan leadership se hui ,civil leadership se hui aur Tamil logon ki leadership se bhee hui. Aur iske alaava baatcheet rahee economic engagement aur bade bade projects jo hamare donon deshon ke phaayade ka rahega. I think humne iss pe kafi detail meion bol chuke hain to aur kuch kehne ke liye nahin hai mere pas.

(Answered in Hindi; Approximate translation) This is not a question, you want to start a very open discussion. Look the visit of the Foreign Secretary had been very successful. We told you in detail last week or even before that what happened when he went to Sri Lanka. He went to Colombo. He went to Candy, there is a Tooth temple there, where he met people. He went to Trincomalee. There is that oil tank farm where he visited. So we are investing a lot in it, to increase it further. Then went to Jaffna. There were many meetings there. He had meetings with the leadership of the government, civil leadership and also with the leadership of the Tamil people. Apart from this, there was talk of economic engagement and big projects which would be of benefit to both our countries. I think we have spoken in detail on this and I don’t have any thing more to say on this issue.

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: I think we will close ,we are having too many of the second round questions. You just asked. What tell me?

Speaker 9: (Inaudible)

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: Yes, I think this question came up. I think we should have answered this question earlier. I think last week somebody asked me this question. Look, we have received an invitation for the Moscow format meeting on Afghanistan on October 20th. We will be participating in it. I don't have a final confirmation who will be attending but it's likely that we will have it at the Joint Secretary level. Yeah, please.

Speaker 10: ….(Inaudible) according to MEA press release, that every Indian feels the pain of Afghan people facing hunger and malnutrition. My question is India at this point, planning any kind of food or monetary assistance to Afghanistan since August 15 has India sent any

Shri  Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: Okay, let me do one thing. I'll take a round of questions. That'll be the last. Pranay please .

Speaker 11: "Afghanistan ke taraf se Covid vaccines ke liye kya pehle koi orders diye gaye the aur un orders ka status kya hai aur vaccine maitri jab India ne wapas resume kiya hai to Afghanistan ko kya Covid vaccines diye jayenge? (Questioned in Hindi; approximate translation) Were there any earlier orders for Covid Vaccines from Afghanistan and what is the status of those orders? And when India has resumed Vaccine Maitri, whether Covid Vaccines will be given to Afghanistan?”

Speaker 12: "Abhi doobara jab bharat ne vaccine deni shuru ki hai to kitne deshon ne request kiya hai Bharat se vaccine lene ke liye, kya iss ka detail hai aur kitne deshon ko abhi bheja ja chukka hai? Thank you. (Questioned in Hindi; Approximate Translation) Now again when India has started giving vaccine, then how many countries have requested to take vaccine from India? Do we have details and to how many countries the vaccines have been already sent?”

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: Aur koi baki raha, ek last question batayein(Answered in Hindi; Approximate translation any one else left, one last question, please tell)

Speaker 13: "Sir, Pichle dinon ek Pakistani terrorist pakda gaya jinda, usne iss baat ka bhi sabut diya ki wo kahan se aaya tha, bakayda press conference bhi hui this uss par. Uss ke baad lagataar targeted killing badh rahi hai Jammu-kashmir main , to aab jab evidence bhi hai, saab chizen evidence mangta hain. To kya videsh mantralay ke star par koi iss tarike ki chizen aage badh rahi hai ki continue jo hai wo terrorism ko badha raha hai? (Questioned in Hindi; Approximate Translation) Sir, a Pakistani terrorist was caught alive in the past, he also gave proof of where he had come from, there was also a press conference on him. After that, the targeted killing is increasing continuously in Jammu and Kashmir, so now when there is evidence, Pakistan asks for evidence of everything. So has anyone at the level of the Ministry of External Affairs moved forward in such a way that what is continuing is increasing terrorism?”

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: Okay Coming to the question on humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan. Look, let me begin by saying you are all aware that India's policy towards Afghanistan is guided by our friendship with the Afghan people. I think we have said this on occasion and it's worth reiterating it. We have in the past provided an assistance, both for infrastructure as well as for humanitarian, etc. Coming specifically to the issue of humanitarian assistance you would recall the UN Secretary General had convened a meeting on the subject, I think, on September 13th, in which External Affairs Minister participated, represented India. I think if you look at and we made that public his intervention, our approach to the issue of humanitarian assistance was laid out very clearly by EAM in his intervention. This includes India's willingness to continue to stand by the Afghan people, the need for international community to create the best possible enabling environment, the unimpeded, unrestricted and direct access to humanitarian assistance providers, and non-discriminatory distribution and a couple of other elements I think it's there. I think if there are any further developments on that we will certainly update you for the moment I think I leave it at that, regarding export of vaccines, " Kuch logon ne poocha uss mein. Dekhiye aapne poocha tha, Aapne bhi poocha tha. Donon ko combined kar ke batata hun usmein.

UN General Assembly mein bhi haal hee mein Pradhan Mantri jee gaye the. Wahan pe unhonne hamare ye decision ki hum vaccine supply phir se shuroo karenge, iss ka unhonne bataaya tha us din. Uss ke phalswaroop hamne phir abhee tak neighbourhood se shuroo karne ka decision liya. To pehle neighbourhood mein jaengee. Aur mujhe jitna door maaloom hai ki Nepal, Bangladesh, Myanmar aur Iran mein hamne vaccine India se ja chooka hai. Aur ye situation ham lagaataar isska you know monitor kar rahe hain, review kar rahe hain. aur hamaaree jo domestic production hai aur hamaaree jo jarooraten hai, hamaaree apanee vaccination prograsmme ko, inko madde najar rakhate hue, ham baakee jo further supply ki baat hogee, vo ham uspe decide karenge.

Aur terrorism aapane kuchh poochha , dekhiye ye jaanch agencies aur ye jo karate hai isake baare mein kuchh kehna nahin chaahoonga. Jaab upayukt samay par jo karana hoga hamen, ham pahale bhee kah chuken hain ki terrorism, cross-border terrorism jiskee dikkat hamein aatee hain, suffer kar rahen hain usake baare mein har jagah hamne iss ko tarah tarah se logon ko bataaya hai. Pakistan sarkar ko bataaya hai par is particular issue pe maaloom nahin kya hua abhee , haal hee kee baat hai. Jab jarurat padega ham karenge jo bhee kaaryavaee hogee. Thank you what was your question .That’s all I have the information. Abhee mere paas yahee khabar hai ki abhee ham neighbourhood se shuroo kar rahe hai. Kafi deshon ne kafi kuchh, tarah se rakha hua tha, pahale bhee aapako yaad hoga. kafi ne request kar rakha tha. kuchh ne order place kar rakha tha. Par hamaara jo decision taab liya gaya tha , vaccine maitri, ke tahat , kafi ja chooka tha, kafi deshon mein, par hamne kaha tha nahin, hamaare domestic production kee jarurat jyaada hai, domestic requirement, to wo bhi chal raha hai, usmein focus hai. Par jaise Pradhan Mantri jee ne kaha tha New York mein, Hamne abhee shuroo kiya hai. Ye chaar deshon ke naam mainne liye the in deshon mein. mujhe jitna door maaloom hai vaccines abhee hal hee mein gae hain.

Thank you very much all you, Thank you for joining us on this week’s media briefing

(Answered in hindi; Approximate translation) You both asked questions. I will combine both and answer. The Prime Minister had also recently visited the UN General Assembly. There he made the decision that we would resume the vaccine supply, he had told that day. As a result of that we again decided to start with our neigbourhood. So the neighborhood first. And as far as we know that we have already sent the vaccines from India to Nepal, Bangladesh, Myanmar and Iran. And this situation we are constantly monitoring, reviewing it, you know. And our domestic production and our needs, our own vaccination program, keeping an eye on them, we will decide on what will be the course of further supply.

And about terrorism you asked something, see these investigation agencies, and I would not like to say anything about what they do. When we have to do, what we have to do at the appropriate time, we have already said that we are suffering from terrorism, cross-border terrorism, the problem of which we are facing, we have told it to the people everywhere in this way. Have told the Government of Pakistan but do not know what happened on this particular issue, it is a recent thing. We will do whatever action is required whenever required.

Thank you what was your question That's all information I have.

The only news I have right now is that we are starting from neighbourhood. Many countries had kept a lot, in a way, you will remember earlier also. Quite a lot of requests had been made. Some had placed the order. But our decision was taken then, under the vaccine maitri, a lot had gone, in many countries, but we had said that our domestic production is needed, domestic requirement, so that is also going on, the focus is there. But as the Prime Minister said in New York, we have just started. I took the names of these four countries, in these countries, as far as I know, vaccines have already been dispatched.

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: That's all I have the information. Thank you very much, all of you. Thanks for joining us on this week's media briefing. Good evening.

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