MEA Weekly Press Briefing Transcript of Virtual Weekly Media Briefing by the Official Spokesperson (July 02, 2021)

Transcript of Virtual Weekly Media Briefing by the Official Spokesperson (July 02, 2021)

July 02, 2021

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: A very good evening to all of you. Namaskar. Thank you for joining this week's Media Briefing. As always, we have a lot of interesting questions I understand and I would now hand over to Yatin to take us through.

Shri Yatin Patel, OSD (PR): Anish from Asianet has asked "Has India urged the European Union Nations to consider Indian vaccines for travel to Europe? What is the update on it?” Pankaj from Hindustan is asking, "Covishield ko kai European desh alag se manyata de rahe hain. Covax ko lekar kya prayaas ho rahe hain aur kya Covax ko kisee bhee desh ne manyata di hai? (Questioned in Hindi; Approximate Translation) Covishield is being recognized separately by many European countries. What efforts are being made regarding Covax and is Covax recognized by any country?” Nayanima from The Print is asking, "How many European countries in total have accepted India's vaccines? Has the matter been taken at the highest level?” Huma from The Financial Express is asking, "How many countries in Latin America and Caribbean recognise the Indian vaccines? Is there a list of such countries?” and Praveen Gautam from News Point is asking, "Jin logon ko Bharat mein Covaxin, Covishield ki dose lagi hai, kya unhen videshon mein phir se koi doosree vaccine lagvani padegi? (Questioned in Hindi; Approximate Translation) Those who have received Covaxin, Covishield dose in India, will they have to get another vaccine abroad again?” I have similar questions from Pushkar from New Indian Express, Gautam Lahiri, Sidhant from WION, Madhurendra from News Nation, and and Narendra Nath from NBD.

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: Yeah, I see a lot of interest in the issue of vaccines naturally. Look, we understand that the European Union has now instituted what is called the EU digital COVID certificate for exempting restrictions on the movement of vaccinated people. Our expectation is that Indians who have been vaccinated through our domestic vaccination programme would be treated at par with those vaccinated in the EU. And the cowin vaccination certificate would be recognised by the EU on a reciprocal basis. As you are aware, such cowin vaccination certificates can be authenticated on the cowin website itself. We are in touch with EU member states in this regard for reciprocal acceptance. I understand that a number of EU countries have already taken positive steps in this direction. There was a query regarding Latin America and the Caribbean. I'm not sure what was meant by the word recognise. And as you're aware, a large number of countries in that region are already using made in India vaccines. And that list of countries is available in the public domain. Regarding the issue of vaccination norms and revaccination by other countries across the world, I'm afraid this would depend on the country concerned. So I would not be able to add to this right now. Yatin.

Shri Yatin Patel, OSD (PR): Nayanima from The Print is asking, "what is the status of the arrival of COVID vaccines that were being promised by USA?” Manish Gupta from PIOTV is asking, "India is the biggest vaccine manufacturer with several vaccines cleared for emergency use, import and production being ramped up for Indian vaccine manufacturing, when will India again start supporting other needy nations with vaccine doses needed by them? India was first praised for vaccine diplomacy then blamed for giving away vaccine, has that affected policy?” Gautam Lahiri is asking, "As Finance Minister announced incentive for tourism sector, when reopening of tourist visa is expected? Do we have any update on resumption of air bubble?” Maha from CNN news 18 is asking, "What is the progress on Covaxin’s approval by WHO?” And I have similar question from Madhurendra from News Nation.

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: Okay, on the issue of vaccines as I have said earlier, government is making all efforts to augment vaccine availability in the country, be it through domestic production or imports. As regards the specific vaccines and the status of their imports into India, this is a matter for the concerned regulatory authorities. Moving on to the issue of supply of vaccines abroad, let me reiterate that currently our priority remains on purposing domestic production to our domestic vaccination programme, which as you know is progressing rapidly. And as regards the issue of travel in to India, these are being dealt by the Health Ministry and the Ministry of Home Affairs. We will certainly share with you if there are any updates in this regard. Yatin.

Shri Yatin Patel, OSD (PR): Sandeep from Tribune is asking, "Will India raise the suspected drone attack at Jammu with Pakistan considering that security agencies suspect the hand of Lashkar E Taiba?”. Madhurendra from News Nation is asking,"Seema paar se Jammu mein hue aatankee drone attack ko Pakistan ne pooree tarah se khaarij kiya hai. Bharat ka kya jawaab hai? (Questioned in Hindi; Approximate Translation) Pakistan has completely rejected the terrorist drone attack in Jammu from across the border. What is India's answer?” Aditya from CNN-News18 is asking, "Pakistan has yet again been denied any relief from FATF. How does India see Pakistan's inability to convince FATF on acting against terror financing on its soil?” Sanjay from Arab News is asking, "Imran Khan in Pakistan's National Assembly said that Islamabad would not restore ties with India until New Delhi reverses its decision on Kashmir. Any comment to that?” Praveen Gautam from NewsPoint, Deepak Ranjan from PTI Bhasha are asking similar questions.

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: Thank you. Look regarding the Jammu air force station case, the investigation is in progress. As far as terrorism and terror financing is concerned, we have a zero tolerance policy. We condemn terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. All countries must take credible action against terrorism, including by putting an end to cross border movement of terrorists, ending terrorist safe heavens and infrastructure and their financing channels. In this regard, we call upon Pakistan to take credible, verifiable and irreversible action against terrorist networks and proxies operating from territories under its control and to bring the perpetrators of terrorist attacks including the 26 November Mumbai attack and the Pathankot attack to justice.

Shri Yatin Patel, OSD (PR): Nayanima from The Print is asking, "When was the drone supported inside Indian High Commission in Islamabad and if there were more such incidents?” Umashankar from NDTV has asked, "kya ye sahi hai ki pichhle shanivaar ko Bhaarteey uchchaayog islamabaad ke residential block mein ek party ka aayojan kiya gaya tha aur uske dauran kareeb 10 baje ek drona upar dekha gaya. Jo bharat ki taraf se Pakistan ko jo aapatti darj karai gai hai vo kisee aur taareekh aur samay par dekhe gae drone ke baare mein hai. (Questioned in Hindi; Approximate Translation) "Is it true that last Saturday a party was organized in the residential block of the High Commission of India, Islamabad and during that around 10 pm a drone was seen flying above. The objection which has been filed by India to Pakistan is about the drone seen on some other date and time.” Aditya from CNN-News18 is asking, "Was there a drone spotted twice inside Indian High Commission in June 26 night, Is India investigating this incident in relation to Jammu Air Force base drone attack, which happened just hours later?” Sachin from Univarta is asking, "beete shanivar 26 june ko Islamabad mein bhaarteey uchchaayog mein bhi drone ki ghusapaith hone ki report aayi hai. Bharat sarkar ne is ghatna par kya kadam uthae hain (Questioned in Hindi; Approximate Translation) On Saturday 26 June, there has also been a report of drone infiltration in the Indian High Commission in Islamabad. What steps has been taken by the Government of India on that incident?” We have similar question from Anish from Asianet, Vijayalakshmi from India TV, Deepak Ranjan from PTI Bhasha, Sidhant from WION, Madhurendra from News Nation, Manash from PTI, Srinjoy from Times Now, and Maha from CNN-News18.

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: A drone was spotted over the premises of the Indian High Commission in Islamabad on 26th of June this year. This has been taken up officially with the Government of Pakistan. We expect Pakistan to investigate the incident and prevent recurrence of such breach of security. Yatin.

Shri Yatin Patel, OSD (PR): Sanjay from Arab News is asking, "Last week, Afghan journalist Sammy Yousafzai tweeted that Indian External Affairs Minister had met with Taliban leaders. How true is the fact that Mr. Jaishankar met the Taliban leaders during his transit halt in Doha recently? India always claims that it is in touch with all stakeholders in Afghanistan, what New Delhi expects from Taliban, which is one of the main stakeholders in Afghanistan?” Sidhant from WION is asking, "we have issued new security advisory for our nationals in Afghanistan. Any key reason for that?” Ranjit Kumar from Rakshat News is asking, "In view of reports of Taliban’s expanding control over Afghan cities, how India views current security situation in Afghanistan?” Narendra Nath from Navbharat Times is asking, "Taliban se Bharat ka sampark kis star par ho raha hai? haalaanki videsh mantri ki kisi meeting ka khanddan kiya gaya lekin kya aadhikarik star par kisi tarah ki baatcheet hui hai? (Questioned in Hindi; Approximate Translation) At what level is India trying to develop contact with Taliban? Although any meeting of the Foreign Minister was denied, but has there been any kind of talks at the official level?” We have similar question from Aditya from CNN News 18 and Deepak Ranjan from PTI Bhasha.

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: We have seen some media reports based on a tweet by some journalists about meeting with Taliban by EAM. Since this issue has been raised, let me categorically deny claims that External Affairs Minister met any Taliban leader. Such stories are false and mischiveous. You would have seen the detailed statement made by external affairs minister on June 22, at the UN Security Council, where he spoke extensively on these issues, including India support for a durable peace driven by an inclusive, Afghan led, Afghan owned and Afghan controlled peace process. We support all peace initiatives and have been engaged with various stakeholders. As regards the security situation in Afghanistan we are obviously concerned by the increased violence there based on which we have issued a security advisory for Indian nationals in Afghanistan. Yatin.

Shri Yatin Patel, OSD (PR): Manash from PTI is asking, "Has the Maldivian government responded to India seeking action by the Maldivian government against social media posts and articles in the local media targeting Indian diplomats in Male?”

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: Look, I understand that the Maldivian Foreign Ministry today issued a statement on this matter. The Maldivian Democratic Party has also issued a statement I think; I think that answers the question.

Shri Yatin Patel, OSD (PR): Deepak Ranjan from PTI Bhasha has asked, "Aisi khabren aai hain ki Dominica ke Pradhan Mantri ne bhagode heera kaarobaari Mehul Choksi ke kathit apharan mein unki sarkar ke shamil hone ke daave ko galat bataya hai. Is par mantraalay kee kya pratikriya hai aur taaja stheeti kya hai?” (Questioned in Hindi; Approximate Translation) There have been reports that the Prime Minister of Dominica has rubbished the claim of his government's involvement in the alleged abduction of fugitive diamond merchant Mehul Choksi. What is the reaction of the Ministry on this and what is the current position?” Srinjoy from Times Now is asking, "Do we have an update on Choksi and Nirav Modi?”

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: I actually don't have an immediate update on either of those cases. We are of course closely monitoring the ongoing legal proceedings in both cases. If we have any update, we'll certainly come back to you. Yatin.

Shri Yatin Patel, OSD (PR): Basant from Mathrubhumi is asking, "Has the MEA official handed over the request of customs to question former Consul General and attache of consulate in Trivandrum to UAE in the gold smuggling case? If yes, what is the response of UAE?”

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: Look, this is a matter that has been handled by the customs authorities. And I would refer you to them for details on this issue.

Shri Yatin Patel, OSD (PR): Huma from The Financial Express has asked, "Secretary (Economic Relations) is in Ghana for FOC. What was the focus of this consultation?”

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: Yes, Secretary (Economic Relations) in the Ministry of External Affairs is currently on a tour of a few countries in Africa, including Ghana, where he is chairing the Indian side of the Foreign Office consultations. We will continue to share information as the visit progresses.

Shri Yatin Patel, OSD (PR): Gautam Lahiri is asking, "Has EAM raised the issue of TRIPS regulations for medicines, how hopeful we are of resolutions of the restrictions?”

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: Look, we are continuing to pursue our proposal for COVID related TRIPS waiver. And we are happy at the large support for text based negotiations. However, I would refer you to the Ministry of Commerce for the latest updates on this issue.

Shri Yatin Patel, OSD (PR): Manish from Asianet has asked, "when would be the next round of core commander level meeting?” Deepak Ranjan from PTI Bhasha is asking, "WMCC star ki taaja baithak ke baad poorvi ladakh mein Cheen ke saath jaari gatirodh ki vartman stheeti kya hai? (Questioned in Hindi; Approximate Translation), what is the current status of the ongoing standoff with China in Eastern Ladakh after the latest WMCC level meeting?” Srinjoy from Times Now has asked, "When is the commander conference likely to happen?” I have similar question from Shashidhar Pathak from Amar Ujala.

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: As you are aware the 22nd meeting of the working mechanism for consultation and coordination on India China border affairs, the WMCC was held on 25th of June. Both sides agreed to maintain dialogue and communication through the diplomatic and military mechanisms to reach a mutually acceptable solution for complete disengagement from all friction points, so as to enable full restoration of peace and tranquillity and enable progress in the bilateral relations. They also agreed that in the interim, the two sides will continue to ensure stability on the ground and prevent any untoward incident. The two sides also agreed to hold the next that is the 12th round of senior commanders meeting at an early date. I don't have any update on the date for this meeting, which is yet to be fixed. We will share with you as and when we have it.

Shri Yatin Patel, OSD (PR): Agni Roy from Anandabazar Patrika is asking, "Does India send any greetings or special messages to Xi Jinping government for the centenary of CPC?”

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: I don't think this is a government matter that I would need to answer.

Shri Yatin Patel, OSD (PR): We don't have any further questions.

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: Thank you Yatin. And thank you to all our viewers for joining in for this edition of our Weekly Media Briefing. Good evening.