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Transcript of Weekly Media Briefing by the Official Spokesperson (December 22, 2022)

December 22, 2022

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: Let me begin by reading out a joint press release on the 17th round of the India China corps commander level meeting. The 17th round of the India China corps commander level meeting was held at the Chushul-Moldo border meeting point on the Chinese side on 20th December. Building on the progress made after the last meeting on 17th July, the two sides exchange views on the resolution of the relevant issues along the LAC in the western sector, in an open and constructive manner. They had frank and in-depth discussion, keeping in line with the guidance provided by the state leaders, to work for the resolution of the remaining issues at the earliest, which would help in restoration of peace and tranquillity along the LAC in the western sector and enable progress in bilateral relations. In the interim, the two sides agreed to maintain the security and stability on the ground in the western sector. The two sides agreed to stay in close contact and maintain dialogue through military and diplomatic channels and work out a mutually acceptable resolution of the remaining issues, at the earliest. That was our joint press release that has just been issued from both sides. Yes, that would be an unofficial translation we have, this has just been issued.

Bharat-chin corps commander star ki baithak ka 17van daur 20 december 2022 ko chushul-moldo seema baithak bindu par chini bhag mein ayojit kiya gaya tha. 17 july 2022 ko pichli baithak ke baad hui pragati ke aadhar par, donon pakshon ne khule aur rachnatmak tarike se pashchimi sector mein LAC ke saath relevant muddon ke samadhan par vicharon ka aadan-pradan kiya. unhone shesh muddon ke jald se jald samadhan ke liye kaam karne ke liye donon desho ke netaon dvara pradan kiye gaye margdarshan ke anuroop ek spasht aur gahan charcha ki, jo pashchimi kshetra mein LAC par shanti aur sthirata ki bahali mein madad karega aur dvipakshiy sambandhon mein pragati ko saksham karega. Is beech, donon paksh pashchimi sector mein jameen par suraksha aur sthirata banaye rakhne par sahamat hue, donon pakshon ne nikat sampark mein rehne aur sainya aur rajanayik channelon ke madhyam se batchit banae rakhne aur shesh muddon ke jald se jald mutually acceptable resolution par kaam karne par sahamati vyakt ki. (Answered in Hindi; Approximate Translation) The 17th round of India-China Corps Commander Level Meeting was held at Chushul-Moldo border meeting point on the Chinese side on 20th December 2022. Building on the progress made after the last meeting on 17th July 2022, the two sides exchanged views on the resolution of the relevant issues along the LAC in the Western Sector in an open and constructive manner. They had a frank and in-depth discussion, keeping in line with the guidance provided by the State Leaders to work for the resolution of the remaining issues at the earliest which would help in restoration of peace and tranquillity along the LAC in the Western Sector and enable progress in bilateral relations. In the interim, the two sides agreed to maintain the security and stability on the ground in the Western Sector. The two sides agreed to stay in close contact and maintain dialogue through military and diplomatic channels and work out a mutually acceptable resolution of the remaining issues at the earliest.

I will now open for questions. Okay. As always, you're the fastest finger first. Okay, I will go with Sidhant, and then I will come to you.

Sidhant: Hi Sir. I’m Sidhant from WION. My question is on Afghanistan. Taliban has come out with a new rule that women and girls can't go to school. Their right of education has been denied. What's the official reaction of the Indian government? Also if the Indian government or EAM can react on the public execution by Taliban if there can be reaction on that as well.

Yeshi Saili: This is Yeshi Saili from The New Indian Express. What's the update on the eight former naval officers that have been under detention? Have any charges been framed yet?

Kavita Joshi: Sir main Kavita Joshi hoon Hari Bhoomi Newspaper se, Sir mera sawal yeh hai ki jo Chin, America aur Europe ke deshon mein Covid-19 ke cases lagatar badh rahe hain, usko lekar ke kya hamne especially China ko lekar koi advisory jaari ki hai, MEA ne jo hamare bharatiy chhatr wahan par hai ya jo bharatiy nagarik wahan reh rahe hain, unki suraksha ko lekar ke? Flights ke baare mein aapko koi jankari hai kya, Bharat aur Chin ke beech mein roki jaani hai? (Questioned in Hindi; Approximate Translation) Sir, I am Kavita Joshi from Hari Bhoomi Newspaper, Sir my question is regarding rising cases of Covid-19 in China, America and European countries. Has MEA issued any advisory especially regarding China with respect to the safety of our Indian students or the Indian citizens living there? Do you have any information about flights, which are to be discontinued between India and China?

Maha Siddiqui: Maha Siddiqui from CNN-News18. Sir while you've spoken about the core commander level talks for the western sector, there has been an incident in the Eastern sector also as far as Arunachal Pradesh, Tawang sector is concerned. Has there been any diplomatic outreach as well to speak about that issue?

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: You are referring to the incident that happened a few days ago?

Maha Siddiqui: Yes. Tawang.

Suhasini Haider: This is Suhasini Haider from The Hindu. Referring to a report in the newspapers today regarding an MOU between the Uttar Pradesh government and a purported university in the United States, that turns out to have lost its recognition. The question really is the consulate in Houston, apprised by the UP government, that this MOU was going to be signed for an alleged $42 billion? And whether there was any due diligence done by the consulate on this?

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: Okay. I'll come around for the next round of questions. Sidhant, let me start off with your query. This was on the recent reports there. Look, we have noted with concern the reports in this regard, India has consistently supported the cause of female education, women's education in Afghanistan. We have emphasized and we've been emphasizing the importance of the establishment of an inclusive and representative government that respects the rights of all Afghans, and ensures the equal rights of women and girls to participate in all aspects of Afghan society, including access to higher education. I would also like to recall the UN Security Council resolution 2593, which reaffirms the importance of upholding human rights, including those of women, and that resolution also calls for full, equal and meaningful participation of women. I think my answer would also cover your other queries related to, you mentioned of public execution in the context of human rights and what 2593 and other statements that we have been making as well as part of other groupings that have issued declarations.

Yeshi, on the issue of eight Indians who have been in Qatar, we have been responding on this off and on, depending on what the queries are. I don't have a particular update this week. We remain seized of the matter. I know our Embassy, as I spoke to them, is actively pursuing the case. As I mentioned, I think last time the detained Indians are able to speak to their families on a regular basis I understand. And some of the families who were staying in Doha are being allowed to have physical meetings too. We will continue to extend all possible consular assistance. We are in touch with the families. We are also pushing for further consular access to those individuals. So beyond that, I don't have anything to add except to say that yes, this is a case that we are following closely and pursuing.

Kavita ji aapne jikra kiya Flights, dekhiye pehle flights ke baare mein aapko specific dusre departments ya organizations se poochhana padega, iss pe charcha ho rahi hai. Health Ministry normally ya Civil Aviation ismein lead agencies hain, hamari taraf se abhi koi information nahi hai. Jaisa aap jaante hain direct flights to hai nahi or indirect flights pe mere pass aisi koi jankari nahi hai ki koi special announcement hai. Main sirf ye kehna chahunga ki China ki jo sthiti hai vahan Covid ki, hum us pe nazar banaye hue hai, hamne pehle bhi kaha tha ki hamari ummid ye hai ki poori manavta Covid mahamari se poorn roop se ubhar kar, saksham roop se ubhar kar nikle aur hamne hamesha hamari taraf se pharmacy of the world ke roop mein madad ki hai dusre desho ko. Aur China mein jo ho raha hai maine jaisa kaha, hum karib se nazar banae hue hai or travel regulation mein koi update ho toh batayenge or advisory ki bhi, hamari taraf se koi advisory jaari nahi hui hai. Hamari apeksha yahi rahi ki jo bhi koi rehta hai kisi desh men vahan ke health guidelines hai unko woh poori tarah maan kar chalein, jaise hamare desh mein jo foreigner hai woh hamare health guidelines follow karte hai, isi tarah jab dusre desho mein jo log rehte hai unki jo local health guidelines hai, jo Indians vahan rahate hai woh usko follow karenge. Par koi specific guidelines hamari taraf se issue nahi kiya gaya hai. (Answered in Hindi; Approximate Translation)

Kavita ji, you mentioned about flights, look first about flights, you have to check with other specific departments or organizations, this issue is being discussed. Health Ministry and Civil Aviation are the lead agencies normally, there is no information on our side right now. As you know, there are no direct flights and on indirect flights, I do not have any information that we have as any special announcement. I would just like to say that we are keeping an eye on the situation of Covid in China, we had said earlier also that our hope is that the whole of humanity emerges fully from the COVID epidemic, emerges competently and we have always helped other countries as the pharmacy of the world. We are keeping a close watch on what is happening in China and will tell you if there is any update in the travel regulation and no advisory has been issued from our side. Our expectation is that whoever lives in a country has to follow their health guidelines, they should follow them fully, just as the foreigners in our country follow our health guidelines. Similarly, in other countries having local health guidelines, Indians who live there should follow that. But no specific guidelines have been issued by us.

Maha, moving on to your corps commander level talks. Look, if you are talking about the incident at Tawang, I think Raksha Mantri Ji made a detailed statement in both the houses of Parliament and with Parliament in session it will not be appropriate to say anything beyond that I don't have any further information to share.

Suhasini you mentioned on an MOU, look, we've seen reports on this. To be honest, let me just give you a sense of this. Different states do make trips abroad to promote investment and other activities through the states. They do sign MOUs and these are done directly by the States. Our Embassies and consulates extend whatever necessary assistance is required. I don't have anything particular on this MOU or this visit. Yes, our consulates of course extended assistance to the delegation. But the MOUs for that you will have to ask the State Government they would have a better fix on that. I'm not even sure the query regarding, you said due diligence, I'm not sure, that's not our MOU, so I would refer you to the State Government for that. I think they may already have made some statements and I would refer you to that.

Taliban issue pe, dekhiye, ismen jo hamane reports dekhi hai unko hum concern ke saath note karte hai. Bharat ne afghanistan mein mahila shiksha ke mudde ka lagatar samarthan kiya hai, hamne ek samaveshi aur pratinidhi sarkar ki sthapana ke mahatv par jor diya hai jo sabhi afghanon ke adhikaron ka samman karti hai aur uchch shiksha tak access sahit afghan samaj ke sabhi pahaluon mein bhaag lene ke liye mahilaaon aur ladkiyon ke saman adhikaron ko sunishchit karti hai. Isi context mein, jo sanyukt raashtra suraksha parishad ke prastav 2593 ko bhi yaad karunga, jo mahilaon ke manvadhikaron ke mahatva ki pushti karta hai aur mahilaon ki poorn, saman aur sarthak bhagidari ka bhi aahvahn karta hai. (Answered in Hindi; Approximate Translation) On Taliban issue, look, we have seen reports and have noted them with concern in this regard. India has consistently supported the cause of female education in Afghanistan. We have emphasized the importance of the establishment of an inclusive and representative government that respects the rights of all Afghans and ensures the equal rights of women and girls to participate in all aspects of Afghan society, including access to higher education. In this context, I would also recall UN Security Council Resolution 2593, which reaffirms the importance of upholding women’s rights and also calls for full, equal and meaningful participation of women.

Srinjoy: Sir, Srinjoy from Times Now. This is on the Tawang situation; you did say that RM has spoken. But it appears that the Chinese have been coming here earlier as well. They came on the 28th of September last year. So is there any understanding on why this particular area is being targeted? And can I ask a question? There have been reports of the Saudi Government saying that for examinations at least and maybe other cases they need the students, female students should wear the uniform and not the abaya or any other kind of covering. Could you give us some understanding about what the Indian government has to say about it or what the facts are in this case?

Piya: Hi Piya from the Print. Has the MEA received a request from UP CM Yogi Adityanath for political clearance to visit the US?

Madhurendra: Sir Madhurendra News Nation se, Iran ne strategic partnership ke liye Bharat ko offer diya hai, ispar MEA ka kya reaction hai? aisi khabre media mein hai. uspar India ka kya stand hai? (Questioned in Hindi; Approximate Translation) Sir Madhurendra from News Nation, Iran has given an offer to India for strategic partnership, what is the reaction of MEA on this? There are such reports in the media. What is India’s stand on this?

Reza: Reza from Hindustan Times. I wanted to ask a follow up question on Afghanistan. There is mounting evidence that LeT and JeM cadres are now in Afghanistan. This is something that we have raised at the UNSC. Does India have any plans to work with its international partners on this issue?

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: Which issue sorry?

Reza: Issue of LeT, JeM cadres being in Afghanistan. Number two, there are a lot of concerns about how, you know, there could possibly be the misuse of any funds that are now provided to the Taliban, for humanitarian work or any other reasons from their frozen assets. Is India concerned about it?

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: In what context is this concern? I didn't understand. Who has raised this concern?

Reza: Taliban requesting for the funds to be given to them. But the official channels are not open. Do we have concerns about the possible misuse of any of these funds?

Manas Pratim Bhuyan: Sir, this is Manas Pratim Bhuyan from PTI. It’s a just a little query about the China India talks, seventh round of talks. As these talks took place just 11 days after the Taiwan incident, was the issue actually flagged by Indian team during the talks?

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: Okay, let me try to answer this round of questions. I'll come back to I think a few more hands. There are a couple of questions on Tawang, two maybe three questions. As I said, I think Raksha Mantri Ji made a detailed statement. I don't have anything further to add. If we're looking at why the military, specifically Srinjoy, you asked why here, has it happened in the past? Yes, there have been incidents or locations in the past where we have stood firm, you're aware of that, and we've been emphasizing that our soldiers will stand firm to guard our frontiers. So I don't want to say anything beyond that, because I think that clarity has been issued and if you are looking at from a military perspective, I would refer to the MoD. I am not going to speculate here on why which specific locations.

As regards the Saudi government, I don't know how that's a foreign policy issue. So I'm not going to be able to comment on that. Our Embassy has not received any formal communication in this regard from the Saudi authorities. You've seen some media reports, but I don't want to get into that. Manas in the similar perspective look, this is all that we have to say for the moment that talks happened on the 20th. We can all speculate but since I don't have a confirmation, I am not going to be able to confirm that. We did talk about that, to be honest it was more about the western sector. So if it has not been I wouldn't be surprised. But let me not make a comment either way. I'm not aware of the details.

Piya, I wouldn't have an offhand comment. I don't keep track of all political clearance requests that come. I'll have to check. I am also not sure whether I'm in a position to be able to tell you as matter of policy, whether who all applied at which point so I may not be able to come back with anything to share. If there is something specific that you're looking for, I'll can try to find out, but otherwise I don't have any information on that.

Madhurendra ji agar hamare paas koi aise dvipakshiy communication ke baare mein kehne k liye hota to main jarur kahta, abhi mere paas kuchh nahi hai kehne ke liye ki unhone offer kiya hai ya kya kaha hai ya hamara isme kya response hai. (Answered in Hindi; Approximate Translation) Madhurendra ji, I do not have any information right now to share about any such bilateral communication. I do not have any information about what they have offered, what they have said or what is our response.

Reza on your comment or rather questions on two aspects. Yes, I think the issue of working with international partners, I guess terrorism is something that you would have seen we've been putting a lot of emphasis on. Let me draw attention to, we organized a Counter Terrorism Committee meeting here in Delhi, preceded by a meeting and formal briefing in Mumbai, we had discussions here under the ‘NO MONEY FOR TERROR’. We had highlighted as one of the signature events in our presidency of the UN on terrorism. So clearly, we are interested in working with the international community against terrorism from wherever it emanates. So I think that goes without saying, insofar specifically as Afghanistan is concerned, I would refer you to resolution 2593, which has a pretty strong language on what the expectations of the international community is vis a vis terrorism emanating from Afghanistan. As regards funds to Taliban, I don't have specific response to that, because I'm not sure what concerns you're referring to. But if you've been following on the developments in the United Nations Security Council, a few days ago there was a resolution regarding access to funds for humanitarian purposes. And while in principle, that's something that we work with and we support. There were some concerns that we had and accordingly we abstained on that resolution. Clearly, we do believe that there are possibilities of misuse of such opportunities and hence our position on that resolution. So let me limit myself to that. Okay, who had a few more set of questions. Will start with you.

Abhishek Jha: Hi, sir this is Abhishek Jha from CNN-News 18. My question is regarding recent civil unrest happening Fiji. There have been reports of people of Indian dissidents being targeted. How you look at the situation, has there been any advisory for Indians living in Fiji or anything?

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: Indians living in Fiji, right?

Abhishek Jha: And also the people of Indian origin.

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: We don't want to give them advisory. I’m just clarifying that issue before you start.

Sridhar: Sridhar from Asian Age. Sir there are about 200 meetings, as announced, scheduled for the G20 in the run up to the Summit. Now, given this current COVID scare, is there a move to make it virtual mode? Or will it affect the physical attendance at these meetings? And secondly, are you staying with the same subject? Are you also gearing up for sort of an evacuation operation like we saw in 2020 because you have China, Japan, South Korea, US all these countries.

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: Sorry, sorry. I'm not going to accept loose questions. What evacuation operations, from where?

Sridhar: Of Indian are you gearing…

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: From those countries?

Sridhar: Correct.

Sushant: Good afternoon sir. This is Sushant from the Mint. The CAG released its report, audit report to the Ministry of External Affairs two days ago, it alleged, pointed out that there were irregularities that caused a loss of around 50 crores because of the misapplying of OCI fees. The Ministry of External Affairs said it is a notion loss. The CAG did not accept that submission. Could you give us a considered sense of what the ministry's position is, on this mischarging of fees?

Nayanima: Nayanima from ABP Live. I just wanted to understand it's been six months since we opened the embassy, our mission in Kabul what exactly has been done so far? Have we resumed some of the stalled projects? In terms of humanitarian aid what is it that is going on if you can give us an update? Thanks a lot.

Akshay Dongare: Hi sir, Akshay Dongare from India Today. I have two questions sir. First is there is an investigation done by India Today that shows that Jaish-e-Mohammad, after Pakistan has got out of the grey list of FATF, they have started to raise more funds in the name of building mosques in Pakistan. So is MEA keeping an eye on that? Second is about Charles Sobhraj now that he has been freed, are we seeking a custody of Charles Sobhraj, given the fact that he has fled from Indian Jail as well?

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: Abhishek, I wasn't clear of your question. Of course, as you know, Fiji has just gone, I think, concluding or going through the process of elections. And we look forward to the formation of government and working with the new government there. As regards developments in that country, our high commission there, of course, is keeping a close eye on the developments. We are also monitoring developments that happen. I haven't heard anything about against Indian. So Indian citizens certainly, we haven't issued any advisory as far as I'm aware. But as regards Fijian nationals if there is anything particular to add, I will come back to you on that. As I said, we are closely monitoring developments there. I don't have any immediate comment on it for the moment, but yes, we are in touch with the High Commission.

Sridhar on your question, yes, there are more than 200 odd meetings that we have planned, some of them already taken place during December. Our expectation and our objective is to have these meetings in physical format. As and when and if we have to change these guidelines or this plan we will let you know. For the moment we do plan to have these meetings in physical format. So that's what I would say. On the evacuation I'm not sure if that's a concern, or these Indians there want to come back. I think flights are operating normally, for most of these countries, except China where we don't have direct flights. But there are other ways to come. Those who wish to come back can come back. I haven't heard any requirement even of trying to bring people back or a situation of COVID that would require. We'll see how the developments go. I don't have anything to share on that. Before I come to Sushant Nayanima, I wouldn't have any immediate response on that simply because, as I have been emphasizing, this is the technical team with a task largely and focused on humanitarian assistance that we provide to the people of Afghanistan. I know this issue of discussion of whether projects have resumed have come up earlier. I am not aware of any particular new project or anything that has started but in humanitarian assistance that we continue to extend to the people of Afghanistan, yes, our team is involved in that. I don't have a ready reckoner for the last six months what we have done, but I've noted that, I'll ask my colleagues, if there's something they have to share I'll come back to you at some point. Sorry, you have anything particular on this?

Suhasini: The Taliban statement on the mission in Kabul actually names the head of the Indian Mission, Mr. Bharat Kumar, and calls him the Charge d'affaires. Is that technically wrong?

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: As I said, I am not going to comment on other people's comment, how they how they designate our people. It's a technical team, and he's the head of technical team from our perspective. Akshay Dongare look, I don't have specific information on such operational issues. We have, of course, been emphasizing the importance of ensuring that Pakistan's cross border terrorism is stopped, that it does not and you will see in a recent statement in that regard. If organizations that you named are trying to do that, and I don't think it's a new development, yes, I would expect that the international community will continue with its efforts to stop such things we certainly monitor and take steps to ensure that terrorism, we are protected from that. On the Charles Sobhraj, I don't think it's a foreign policy issue. If there are some legal proceedings against him underway, then our other agencies, particularly Home Affairs, I guess would know, I'm not aware and nor I wish to make a comment on it.

Sushant you refer to the CAG report. This is a routine as you know, we, like most other government departments are subject to audit, including from the CAG but we have other levels of audit. And on a regular basis, audit is carried out at various stages at various levels of both our missions abroad as well as our Ministry of External Affairs. As part of these there are observations and which some of them come on as audit para and subsequently audit paragraphs of the CAG and these are tabled in Parliament, when the CAG feels that it requires it to do so that's is mandate under the Constitution. This is now a property of the parliament and I certainly wouldn’t like to explain further and let this be as part of the parliamentary process. Our comments on it are as part of when the CAG presents its report, it also puts on record what the ministry said, I don't have anything additional to say to that. And there is a process in which these are handled. And we will certainly, you know, take forward what the guidance from the parliament is. Thank you very much. You have more questions now. No, I thought we had the last one. Now your second one I'll take his.

Shailendra: Sir Shailendra News 18 se, ek taraf hum lagatar dekhte hai corps commander level key talks hoti rehti hai, aapne abi bataya 17ve daur ki last meeting hui thi. lekin ek aur mechanism tha 2003 mein shuru kiya gaya tha SR level talks ka aakhiri meeting 2019 mein hui thi. kya ye defunct ho chuka hai kyonki jo main question border ka hai wo is level par address hone wala hai, toh woh talks kyon nahi ho rahi hai? kya uske liye kya SR level ke jo representative hai woh touch mein hai? agli meeting kab hogi? is baare mein koi jankari? (Answered in Hindi; Approximate Translation) Sir, I am Shailendra from News 18. On one hand we constantly see that there are talks of Corps Ccommander level, you told about 17th round meeting. But another mechanism of SR level talks was started in 2003. The last meeting took place in 2019. Is it defunct now, because the main question of border is to be addressed at this level? So, why those talks are not happening? Are the SR level representatives in touch? When will the next meeting take place? Any information about this?

Manish Chand: On the China COVID issue have we taken it up with China? Has there been any discussion at China given any official update on this at all? Number two on the Tawang issue, have you been in touch with the US on the Tawang incursions at all?

Speaker 2: Sir my question is, like only few days are left in this year so is India- Russia Summit level talk officially cancelled? Is it going to happen or not?

Speaker 3: Sir we saw the comments from the Pakistani Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto. Do you think after those comments; it will be much difficult for India Pakistan conversation to happen. There are no conversation already happening so will it be tough now? I mean, his comments or something we saw the reaction by the MEA as well.

Speaker 4: Are you going to restrict Chinese participants from coming for the G20 events factoring in that COVID is so high.

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: Shalinder ji aapne jo prashn poochha, dekhiye different mechanisms hain, maine aapko abhi 17veen corps commander ke baare mein jikr kiya, usake baare mein bataya, uska readout kya tha. SR level talks ka bhi apna ek objective hota hai, unka ek guidance rehta hai, woh highest level pe rehta hai, in fact. Ab kyon nahi hua ismen main speculate nahi kar paaunga, nahi ho pai hai, na mere paas date hai par defunct main nahi manunga, jab avashyak rahegi ya time rahega to donon taraf se, unke donon ke sides se agreement hogi toh agla round hoga SR level talks ka 2003 se jaise aapne kaha ho rahi hai to defunct kehna correct nahi hoga kyonki har level ka apna objective hota hai. Corps commander level ka corps ke baare mein discussion hota hai. In fact kisi ne poocha tha abhi western side mein ho raha hai abhi toh i think Tawang ki baat hui thi ya nahi? Par har level par different hota hai, ye boundary issues se related hai or corps commander level boundary issue pe nahi hai, toh har cheez ka apna ek objective rehta hai. (Answered in Hindi; Approximate Translation)

Shalinder ji, the question you asked, look it is a different mechanism, I just mentioned about the 17th Corps Commander meeting and its readout? SR level talks also have their own objective, they have guidance, they take place at the highest level, in fact. Now I will not be able to speculate on why it has not happened, nor do I have a date, but I will not agree that it is defunct, when it is necessary or when there is time, when there will be an agreement on both sides, then the next round of SR level talks will be held. Since 2003, as you are saying, they have been happening, it will not be correct to say that it is defunct, because every level has its own objective. The Corps Commander level discusses about the Corps. In fact someone asked that it is happening in the western side right now, whether Tawang was discussed. It is different at every level, SR is related to boundary issues and the Corps Commander level is not on the boundary issue, so everything has its own objective.

Manish you had asked regarding are we in touch with the US side at all on? Look, I don't know what you have in mind on Tawang. As I repeat third time, Raksha Mantri Ji had made a comprehensive statement in Parliament. I have nothing further to add. Our privilege communications with foreign leaders or foreign countries I have nothing particularly to share. I'm not even sure what we will raise with the US side vis a vis this development. And under China COVID issue again, I'm not sure this is a health emergency, I'm not sure what you would like us to take for the Chinese authorities, our embassy, of course, is monitoring developments, and we have Indian citizens there. But as I said, we expect citizens when they in a foreign country will follow the health guidelines of that country. So it's not a foreign policy issue as such. There was a related part I think you asked, look if there are new guidelines that come in on how, what are the restrictions, if any, on particular regions or particular geographies, then that will be applicable to all those people. So I don't know whether will be G20 specific or not. As of now, I don't have any information on any additional guidelines or restrictions on entry into India and this is any way done by health authorities and civil aviation and other agencies. So I don't think we are the lead on this. And on the issue that I think you asked regarding statements, I think, look, we have made our position quite clear on that statement of uncivilized outburst, separately on conversations of both countries have their own missions in that country. So to say, there'll be no conversation or will conversations become difficult. I don't know what you had in mind. And I don't think I have an immediate comment on that. We have already said, you know, talks are predicated upon a conducive environment as well as stop to terrorism. So I don't think that has changed much. And when we have a decision on when the dates of SCO and the invitations, we will let you know how that works out. Thank you. I think I'll have to stop here on that. Thank you. Good afternoon.

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