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Transcript of Weekly Media Briefing by Official Spokesperson (January 23, 2020)

January 24, 2020

Official Spokesperson, Shri Raveesh Kumar: Friends, Namaskar, good afternoon. Two back to back briefings today and I welcome you to both. First is my weekly briefing followed by a special briefing by Secretary (East) on the visit of President of Brazil to India. I have no initial announcements or remarks hence I will move to the Q&A session.

Question: Two quick questions. One, we have seen UK counter terrorism sort of meeting happen here with the Indian delegations and also the Indian High Commissioner meet with Preeti Patel. How concerned is India really about these planned SFJ protests on the Khalistan issue, have you written to the High Commission here in New Delhi raising the issue? And B, Donald Trump once again raising the Kashmir issue even as a proposed trip to India is being planned, I mean I know India’s official position on the issue but what is the sense, is he speaking out of some sort of conviction, is there a pattern to his timing to it, how do you really assess or why is he bringing up the same topic again and again?

Official Spokesperson, Shri Raveesh Kumar: On the first question, you are aware that there have been incidents of vandalism and arson at our High Commission in London in the past and we had taken up the matter very strongly with the UK Foreign Office. This was again done a few days back by the High Commissioner of India in London. We have sensitized the UK side about the need to secure our premises, the safety of our personnel who are working there and this is all part of what constitutes a normal diplomatic responsibility by other countries. We do hope that UK government will take adequate steps to ensure there is no untoward incident as has happened in the past. On the second question, I think, you know we have reacted to a similar statement made in the past. Our position on the Kashmir issue and third party mediation has been very clear and consistent. Let me, however, once again reiterate that there is no role for any third party in this matter. If at all there are any bilateral issues between India and Pakistan that needs to be discussed, it should be done between the two countries, under the provisions of Shimla Agreement and Lahore Declaration. But again, as we have said in the past that the onus is on Pakistan to create such conducive conditions which are free from terror hostility and violence and which could also lead to some meaningful engagement between the two countries.

Question: Isii manch par Pakistan ke Pradhanmantri Imran Khan bhi bole aur unhone kahaa ki Bharat ke saath hamaare rishtey jab behtar honge tab strategically duniya dekhegi ki hum kitne mazboot honge. Isko Bharat kis tarah se leta hai, kya Imran Khan soft ho rahe hain fir se?

(From the very same platform Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan also spoke and he said that whenever we will have better relations with India, the world will see how strong we are strategically. How does India look at this, is Imran Khan again going soft?)

Official Spokesperson, Shri Raveesh Kumar: Is par aur koi sawaal hai to main ek saath le lunga. (If there are any more questions on this, I would take them all together.)

Question: Ek anya prashna ke jawaab mein Imran Khan ka ye kahnaa thaa ki aaj kii tareekh mein Pakistan mein koi aatankwaad nahi hai. Darasal agar thoda bahut aatankwaad hai to wo Afghanistan se Pakistan mein aa rahaa hai, Pakistan mein koi aatankwaad nahi hai.

(In a reply to another question, Imran Khan also said that in today’s date there is no terrorism in Pakistan. And if there is some terrorism then it is coming from Afghanistan to Pakistan, there is no terrorism in Pakistan.)

Official Spokesperson, Shri Raveesh Kumar: We have seen reports about certain remarks on India and India-Pakistan relations made by Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan at Davos.

We are hardly surprised by the content and tone of his remarks. They are not only factually inaccurate and contradictory, but also demonstrate a growing sense of frustration. Pakistan has to realise that the global community has seen through this double-standard of playing the victim card in their fight against terror on the one hand, and supporting terror groups targeting India and other countries on the other. If Pakistan is indeed serious for a peaceful and normal relationship with India as he claims, the onus is on Pakistan to create a conducive atmosphere. They have to take credible, irreversible and verifiable action against terror groups operating from its soil rather than making misleading and alarmist statements to divert the attention of international community.

Question: U.S. President has reiterated that China and India have been taking advantage of the developing country status that WTO has, for years and he said that if these countries are insisting that they are developing then the U.S. is also developing, it would also want similar dispensation. What do we have to say on that?

Official Spokesperson, Shri Raveesh Kumar: India has consistently supported the rules based multilateral trading system. We place great value on the WTO and the central and indispensable role of the institution within the rules-based multilateral trading system. Special and differentiated treatment for developing countries including for LDCs is an essential principal of the WTO.

Question: ASEAN has invited India to participate in the RCEP talks early next month. So is India likely to attend?

Official Spokesperson, Shri Raveesh Kumar: Our views on the RCEP has been articulated in the past and we have said that there are issues of core concern and which the members of RCEP are aware of. They had to be considered. You must have seen EAM’s statement that door has not closed. If we get an indication from the other side that they are willing to consider some of the issues which are of interest to us, at that time we will decide. As far as participation goes, you know that this matter, especially this negotiation is conducted by Ministry of Commerce. I think they will be in a better position to share the dates with you.

Question: China mein corona virus ke sankraman ke maddenazar Bharat kii taraf se kai advisories issue karii gaii hain, China mein Bharatiya consulates ne bhi advisory issue kari hain lekin wahaan Bharatiya students mein kaafi chintaa hai is cheez ko lekar to unhen assure karne ke liye kyaa kadam uthaaye gaye hain aur doosari baat Bharatiyon kii surakshaa wahaan ho sake aur unmein infection spread na ho uske liye Bharat kii taraf se kyaa kadam uthaaye jaa rahe hain?

(Keeping in mind the infections of corona virus in China many advisories have been issued by India. Indian consulates in China have also issued advisories but Indian students there are a worried lot with regard to this, so what steps have been taken to assure them? And secondly, for the safety of Indians in China and to stop the spread of infections in them, what are the steps being taken by India?)

Official Spokesperson, Shri Raveesh Kumar:
The advisories have been issued by Ministry of Civil Aviation, Ministry of Health and Welfare and our missions in China have also issued advisories on this matter. I suggest the students and the patents to follow such advisories. Helpline number shared by the Embassy may also be contacted.

Question: There is this FATF meeting which is happening in Beijing and there are some reports which are coming out which say that a, Pakistan has successfully defended its compliance report, secondly, that India was a lone voice which was questioning Pakistan’s compliance reports whereas you had countries like US and groups like E.U. not supportive of India’s position there. Any update on this?

Official Spokesperson, Shri Raveesh Kumar: As a matter of principle you would have noticed that I do not comment on the workings within the FATF. FATF is a technical body. We are aware that working and plenary group meeting will take place in Paris in February. We presume that FATF will evaluate the progress made by Pakistan on the basis of a set criteria. Discussions within the body are confidential, we always wait for FATF to come up with their own press release before we react.

So I don’t think it will be appropriate for me to speculate as to what the decisions could be out of FATF meeting. At the same time you may recall that at the last plenary meeting in October in Paris, the body has expressed very serious concerns with overall lack of progress by Pakistan to address its terror financing risks including serious deficiencies in demonstrating understanding of its trans-national terror financing risks emanating from areas under its control. It is now for the members to decide whether Pakistan has fulfilled the commitments which it was asked to do.

Question: Ek choti si jaankaari chaahiye thii ki Samjhauta express ke jo racks Pakistan mein atake hue they, kya wo Bharat Sarkar ne..

(Just need a little information, did government of India asked Pakistan to return the racks of Samjhauta Express?)

Official Spokesperson, Shri Raveesh Kumar: Nahi, abhi nahi aaya hai. Humne maangaa hua hai, jab aayega to aapko bataa denge ya wahi bataa denge.

(No, they have not come yet. We have asked for it, whenever it comes we will inform you or they might tell you.)

Question: Pakistan PM Imrna Khan was asked about the Uiguyr Muslims persecutions and he said that we don’t comment on China, how China’s treat it Muslim population because China has done so much for us but we can always say things about India as India problem is much bigger than China. Is government taking any stand and would there be……

Official Spokesperson, Shri Raveesh Kumar:
You all are intelligent people, draw your own conclusions. I have nothing more to add.

Thank you all for joining.

(Concludes)
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