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Transcript of Weekly Media briefing by Official Spokesperson (March 22, 2019)

March 23, 2019

Official Spokesperson:
Good afternoon!

I trust you had very memorable Holi celebrations yesterday. There are two parts to today's briefing. I will start off with my weekly briefing and after my weekly briefing we will move on to a special briefing on the visit of Rastrapatiji to three countries Croatia, Bolivia and Chile. That briefing will be done by secretaries along with two joint secretaries and also the Press Advisor of the president. I don't have any announcement to make, so we can straight away move to the question- answer round.

Question : Sir, we all know that Pakistan national day is being celebrated today, there is a reception, Hurriyat has been invited. India is boycotting. But do you think that Pakistan does’t plan to change its ways when it comes to inviting Hurriyat leaders because just few months ago the Pakistan’s foreign Minister called Mirwaiz and still continuing.

Official Spokesperson:

Is there any related question to this?

Question : Sir, what is the stand of the Indian government?
Can you spell it out clearly regarding the Pakistan day celebrations this evening?
Is India boycotting it and what are the official reasons that you are spelling out?

Question : Ravish, has there been a policy shift by the Government specifically the MHA and MEA dealing with separatists and the Pakistan High Commission. In the past, we have seen Ministers, MOS ranks going there. Also if not the Minister then JS Pai in fact representing. So are you going to give details whether or not any Indian diplomat bureaucrat or a Minister will be attending the function today.

Official Spokesperson:

I think the question is the same. I can confirm that India has decided not to send any representative to attend the Pakistan national day. That, I understand that the reception is taking place today. This decision was taken after the Pakistan High Commission decided to invite the Hurriyat representatives to the reception. You are aware about our reaction in the past, I think most recently and in February on this matter, we are very clear that any attempt by the Pakistan High Commission or by the Pakistani leadership to engage with the Hurriyat representatives will not be taken lightly and this is what we have said in the past as well.

Question : Sir, last year हम लोगों ने देखा था कि जब पाकिस्तान नेशनल डे पर हुर्रियत को invite किया गया था उस समय MOS, शेखावतजी गए थे वहां पर। तो पिछली बार जब invite किया गया था तो गए थे इस बार नहीं गए, जरा आप बता पाएंगे?

Official Spokesperson:

पिछली बार गए थे और इस बार नहीं जा रहे हैं, वही तो मैं बता रहा हूं कि इस बार क्योंकि Pakistan High Commission ने decide किया और जैसा मैंने कहा उन्होंने decide किया Hurriyat representatives को invite करने के लिए तो हमने decide किया उसके basis पर उनके invite के basis पर कि हम इस साल कोई भी representative, Pakistan High Commission, उनके reception के लिए नहीं भेजेंगे।

Question : Clarification sir? if they are inviting, will the Indian diplomats in Islamabad will be going? If I understand correctly, my sense is that, that the High Commission in Pakistan or High Commission in Pakistan will also not be attending the reception, which is being hosted there

Question : The reasons that you have given, does it mean that we are boycotting not because of Pulwama or because of the military action that took place but because as you said that they are inviting the Hurriyat representatives but as far as I can recall, last year also when Mr Shekhawat went there

Official Spokesperson:

Sridhar, I know your question, I have already answered it.

Question : Can you just say, if Pulwama or the Military action also count as factors

Official Spokesperson:

I didn't mention any of these factors, I just said that Pakistan high commission took a decision to invite the Hurriyat representatives and because of their decision India has decided not to send any representative to their National Day reception

Question : सर मेरा सवाल नीरव मोदी को लेकर है, जो कुछ भी घटनाक्रम हुआ उससे हम सभी अवगत हैं, किस तरह से विदेश मंत्रालय और हमारी सरकार इस मसले को persue कर रही है? आगे किस तरह की स्थितियां पैदा होंगी और उनके लिए हमारी क्या तैयारी है?

Official Spokesperson:

मधुरेंद्र, आपने हमारा स्टेटमेंट तो देखा ही होगा, जो हमने issue किया था हमने कहा था कि we welcome, you know the action which has been taken by the UK Government , जैसा आपको पता होगा कि जो UK Crown prosecution Service है उन्होंने हमें बताया था 18 मार्च को एक Senior District Judge जो Westminister Megistrate Court में हैं, उन्होंने नीरव मोदी की arrest के लिए एक warrant issue किया था। उस arrest warrant के आधार पर नीरव मोदी को वहां के Met Police, Metropolitan Police ने arrest किया 19 मार्च के evening को लंदन में। अगले दिन बहुत ही short brief hearing हुई और उसके बाद उनको custody के लिए remand किया गया। मैं अभी इतना बताना चाहूंगा कि जो legal proceeding है इस मामले में, it will take its own course और इसका एक established practise होता है यूके कोर्ट में और जो established practise के हिसाब से जो proceeding होंगे, उसके हिसाब से वो आगे बढ़ेंगे

Question : Sir, the court rejected his bail application expressing fear that he could free United Kingdom. Is it a clear indication that he possesses the passport of another country, clearly otherwise how would he move and one more question Sir, has this extradition, you know the action on India's extradition plea has taken long. Is that because he had applied for political Asylum? Has the UK given any information to India on that?

Official Spokesperson:

Maha, I think, I answered this question last time. It is such a process, when you make a request for extradition, you have to wait for that Government to respond and there is a process which has to complete itself. In this case once the process got completed, then action was taken, whether that,……I think, I can confirm which I did last time as well that there was no delay which can be attributed to any thing on our side. I think there was certain processes which had to be completed, which got completedand that is how he was arrested by the MetPolice. The bail application etc., they all again belong to the realm of the proceedings. So I will not get into that. I can only share once again that the Government of India is committed to expeditious extradition of Nirav modi, back to India.

Question : My question is, Kulbhusan Yadav’s legal proceedings are still going on or waiting for something in favour of India?

Official Spokesperson:

No, I think that all of you are aware that the oral proceedings at the International Court of Justice, that has already concluded. I think it was from 18th to 21st of February. We have presented our case before the court. Now it is for the International Court of Justice to take a decision as to the way forward. So that is where, we are waiting now. I don’t see any other hand!

Question : There was some reports that two FBI officials last week were in New Delhi. And there was some talks about Dawood Ibrahim and some evidences were shared. Any details on that and the second on Massod Azhar listing at the European Parliament, You know there have been some statements issued by France and Germany as well. Any details on the same?

Official Spokesperson:

Aditya, on the first one, I have no information. Again this is something which is outside the purview of MEA. On the listing of Masood Azhar by the EU, you meant right. I think you are aware that France had issued a statement regarding the internal listing of Masood Azhar as a designated terrorist by France and in the telephonic conversation with the French foreign minister had with the external affairs minister he had indicated that time that France is also going to take up the matter of Masood Azhar listing with the EU, since then that has happened. France has taken up the matter with EU. We understand that EU will take a decision once there process of designating a terrorist is completed. If you know that it has to be a unanimous decision which will involve all the countries of the European Union. So as and when their process is completed they will come up with an announcement.

Question : Our engineer, who has been rescued and he has returned to India. Those seven engineers, who had been kidnapped in Afganistan. So, do we have any update who were the kidnappers and could you also share the details of the process of rescuing others, who are still under captivity.

Official Spokesperson:

No you see, I have mentioned in the past as well, that this is a vey sensitive matter and even when we were releasing information about the rescue of one individual, we did try to explain that we will not be in a position to give lot of details on this matter. It also affects the other people, Indians, who are still in custody, so if you could excuse me, I will not be able to provide details on this

Question : Sir, after the Samjhauta announcement, we saw reactions coming from the Pakistani foreign Ministry, it was only yesterday, the Foreign secretary called the diplomats there and said that the justice has not been done and out high commissioner was also summoned. What’s India’s official reaction on the comments coming from Pakistan.

Official Spokesperson:

I think, there is a complete lack of understanding on the Pakistan side as to how our judiciary functions. We have an independent judiciary whose functions are guaranteed by the constitution and this is something which also has been acknowledged by the international community. In all the cases which comes up before the court, due process is followed. The same due process was also followed in this case. Based on the merit of the case and taking in to account all the witnesses and the material which was at the court’s disposal. The court has given the verdict. We respect the verdict of the court. We have got no cooperation, whatsoever from Pakistan, including our request to serve summons to witnesses, who are in Pakistan. We reject Pakistan’s attempt to politicize the matter. It is being done to deflect attention from their failure in bringing the perpetrators of several terrorist attacks that Pakistan should take immediate credible and irreversible measures against cross-border terrorism without any discrimination and without resorting to such gimmicks.

Question : Sir, Pakistan had also made some controversial remarks in its statement on I think the press release they issued in which they talked about Hindu terrorism and RSS, they said that RSS is Hindu terrorist outfit. Was there any specific reaction from the Indian government to this?

Official Spokesperson:

No, I am not aware about this statement, but you knwow, I can generally say, that whenever such a statement is coming from Pakistan. You know I am trying to kind of mke statement on internal affairs of a country. There are several reasons, why they do that.
No.1 is of course to deflect the pressure which is building upon Pakistan.
No.2 internally, I think, it is important for them to deflect the attention of their own community, their own people from the mesh which the country is in. So there are several reasons. I am not aware about this specific statement but I think the reasons are very obvious for Pakistan leadership to make.
Thank you very much. I will be back soon shortly with Secretary (East) and other officers to give a briefing on President’s visit to three countries.


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