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Transcript of Special Briefing on Visit of Prime Minister to Germany (June 27, 2022)

June 28, 2022

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: A very good evening to all of you. Thank you for joining, I know it’s a bit late. We just returned from Schloss Elmau to Munich and we really like to thank Foreign Secretary Sir for taking the effort to come here directly from Schloss Elmau and briefing us on this important topic. As you know, Prime Minister is on an important tour, today Munich, tomorrow UAE. Without further ado, I would like to invite Foreign Secretary Sir. Also, I would like to take this opportunity to introduce members at the table, Shri Dammu Ravi Sir, Secretary (Economic Relations) in the Ministry of External Affairs as well as Shri Ninad Deshpande, Joint Secretary (Multilateral Economic Relations) in the Ministry of External Affairs, who are here with us. Sir, you have the floor.

Shri Vinay Kwatra, Foreign Secretary: Thank you very much, Arindam. My colleague, Mr. Dammu Ravi, Ninad, friends from the media. Thank you so very much for joining us at this rather late hour for this briefing on Prime Minister's visit to Munich and to Schloss Elmau for the G7 Summit. Prime Minister has just returned from a packed day of meetings in Schloss Elmau. Yesterday too, as you would recall through media reports, he had a number of engagements and he would be departing for United Arab Emirates tomorrow morning.

This was the third G7 Summit that Prime Minister is attending. Clearly this shows that India's presence and contribution in important gatherings such as G7 is valued by all Global Partners. India is looked upon as a solution provider and part of any sustained effort to solve the challenges which are currently being faced by the world. You would have, of course, noticed through various social media posts, the body language of other leaders, and their interaction with the Honourable Prime Minister, particularly the respect, camaraderie and comfort they enjoyed interacting with the Prime Minister. At the G7, the Prime Minister spoke at both the plenary sessions today. The first session was on the theme of investing in a better future, which focused on climate, energy and health. The second session was on the theme "Stronger together", which addressed the issue of food security, and gender equality. Prime Minister's interventions have already been made public, and you would have noticed that the primary focus of interventions in these two plenaries included key areas such as: One, on energy - that energy access should not be the privilege and everyone has the same rights on energy. Two, the Prime Minister spoke very strongly about Lifestyle for Environment campaign, LIFE campaign, and to become pro planet people. The widening acceptance of Lifestyle for Environment campaign, LIFE can be gauged from the fact that one of the outcome documents makes a very explicit reference to the Lifestyle for the Environment initiative, that's the chairperson’s summary of the G7 Summit.

Two, that India can provide the scale for every new technology to make it affordable globally. India's approach of one world - one Health - In this PM underlined the potential of digital technologies in the health sector; holistic health and value of yoga and traditional medicine; also, the establishment of WHO's Global Centre for traditional medicine in India. This was another point of highlight in Prime Minister's intervention today at the G7 Summit. India's contribution towards ensuring food security of vulnerable countries and in our neighbourhood in particular; keeping value chains of fertilizers smooth and running. Innovative means to ensure food security through promotion of millets and natural farming was another thought, which Prime Minister put forward very strongly during his intervention. On gender equality Prime Minister spoke about India's shifting approach from women's development to women-led development.

There are two outcome documents for the G7 Summit. The first one is the resilient democracies statement. This affirms a commitment to strengthening the resilience of our democracy working towards equitable, inclusive and sustainable solution to global challenges, including climate change and the Covid-19 pandemic and a rules-based international order. It also acknowledges the importance of national laws and regulations that are in place in each country to advance the principles and values of democracy. The other outcome document, which I mentioned earlier in my remarks is the Chair’s summary on Just Energy transition partnership. This chair summary covers partnership, the G7 member and a number of countries including India are undertaking towards addressing climate issues while ensuring energy security. India has been at the forefront of actions in areas like climate change, sustainable infrastructure, energy security, food security of vulnerable countries, Global Health, post- pandemic recovery, gender equality etc, Prime Minister's participation in today's G7 meeting was an opportunity to share our perspective on all these important themes and issues. And these were very well received by other participants at the Summit today. Our forthcoming G20 Presidency would provide us the opportunity to carry forward this process particularly as most participants today are also the members of G20. Prime Minister also had a set of very productive bilateral meetings with the heads of state and government of many countries. Yesterday, he had his first in-person meeting with President Alberto Fernandez of Argentina. Enhancing South-South cooperation particularly in the pharmaceutical sector was an important topic of discussion at this meeting.The two leaders also discussed defence cooperation, cooperation in climate change and food security as also measures to boost trade ties between the two countries.

Today, Prime Minister met German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and thanked him for the invitation and his hospitality. This was the second meeting between the two leaders in just last two months. You would recall that the Prime Minister had visited Berlin last month for intergovernmental consultations. Today the two leaders reiterated their commitment to take forward a green and sustainable development partnership.

With President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa, discussions covered the recent WTO decision on production of Covid-19 vaccines in developing countries, where India and South Africa had taken the lead and worked together to ensure that outcome.The two leaders also reviewed bilateral cooperation, particularly trade and investment, food security, defence, fintech, digital financial inclusion and skill development.

With President of Indonesia Joko Widodo, discussions with Prime Minister focused on Indonesia's ongoing G20 Presidency and elements of bilateral cooperation between India and Indonesia with regard to issues and agenda that feature in G20.

With Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, focus of discussions was on strengthening trade and economic linkages, cooperation in the space of security and counter-terrorism as well as people-to-people exchanges.

With the European commission President Ursula von der Leyen, discussions covered the need to deepen India-EU trade and investment linkages and recent movement in this regard through resumption of negotiations on the trade, investment and GI agreements, Implementation of the trade and technology council, which was concluded during Ursula von der Leyen's recent visit to India as also some of the elements of bilateral cooperation that members of EU and India have pursued in economic areas.

As you are all aware, yesterday, the Honourable Prime Minister also addressed a large gathering of the Indian Community at the Audi dome in Munich. The exuberance of the attendees was visible to all of us who were there. Prime Minister was also the guest of honour at a dinner hosted by the Minister-President of Bavaria last night during which the Prime Minister highlighted close contacts between the state of Bavaria and India.

Overall, I would say Prime Minister's engagement in Germany and during the G7 Summit have been a great opportunity to share perspectives with fellow democracies, the heads of governments of the G7 and the outreach countries and exchange views on global and regional developments. As I mentioned earlier, there was clear interest in India's forthcoming presidency of the G20 and what role and contribution will India make in handling the issues, addressing the issues of global challenges. We will continue to engage with all our partners on global issues of importance going forward through these conversations. I'd like to stop here and if there are any questions, I’d be happy to take. Thank you very much.

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: Thank you very much Sir for the comprehensive perspective. I can see a few hands already. Please introduce yourself and the organization.

Manish Jha: Sir, Manish Jha, TV9 Bharatvarsh. (Inaudible)

Sidhant: Sir, Sidhant from WION. In the bilateral between the Prime Minister and the Canadian Prime Minister, was there any mention of the Khalistani extremism? It was mentioned that there was a focus on terrorism and security, so was there a specific mention of the Khalistani extremism?

Manish Chand: Manish Chand, India Writes Network. Sir, Ukraine crisis was at the top of the agenda at the G7 Summit. We are not at the table, but I am sure there must have been discussions, bilateral discussions with several leaders. What was your sense, they are coming out with further sanctions against Russia and we continue to maintain fairly extensive partnership with Russia even now. Do you think we will come under acute pressure, what are their expectations?

Shri Vinay Kwatra, Foreign Secretary: Manish jo aapka prashn tha ki rashtrapati biden aur pradhanmantri ki jo jis video ka apane jikra kiya usmen – dekhiye pradhanmantri ji ki aaj jitni bhi dvipakshiya vartaen hui, jin-jin netaon se bhi baat hui aur summit key plenary session ke dauran bhi jin jin se pull aside mein batchit hui, poora vatavaran jo hai jaisa ki maine apne remarks mein bhi kaha, ek bahut hi pradhanmantri ji ki jitni bhi varta bhent hui, mahaul jo hai ek bahut hi garmjoshi, mitrata, sadbhav se prerit tha poori tarah se. Aur jis tarah se antarrashtriya star ki meetings ka jo svaroop hota hai usmein kaafi batchit jo hai woh side-lines mein hi ho jati hai, kuchh meetings aupcharik bhi hoti hai, kuchh meetings anaupacharik bhi hoti hai, aur side-lines pe bhi baat hote rehti hai. Magar, main sankshipt mein yahi kahunga ki har neta ke saath jo pradhanmantri ji ki varta hui, jo mulakat hui bahut hi mitratapurna aur garmjoshi ke vatavaran mein hui aur jo bhi un netaon ke sath hamare bilateral sambandhon ko leke jo mahatvapoorn mudde the, unke barein mein batchit hui aur ye varta, ye batchit keval summit ke plenary session tak hi simit nahi thi, usake alava side-lines pe jo baki informal sessions bhi the usmein bhi batchit ko aage badhaane ka kafi jo hai woh avasar pradan hua tha. (Answered in Hindi; Approximate Translation) Manish, your question was about the video of President Biden and the Prime Minister. Look, at all the bilateral talks that the Prime Minister had today, all the leaders with whom he spoke and those pull- aside meetings which were also held during the plenary session of the Summit, as I said in my remarks also, in all the talks that Prime Minister had, the whole atmosphere was very warm, friendly and was driven by goodwill. As is the nature of the meetings at the international level, lot of discussions happens on the side-lines, some meetings are formal, some meetings are informal, and talks also happen on the side-lines. But, I will say in a nutshell that the Prime Minister's talks with every leader took place in a very friendly and warm atmosphere and whatever were the important issues regarding our bilateral relations with those leaders were discussed, and these talks were not limited only to the plenary session of the summit, the other informal sessions on the side-lines also provided a lot of opportunity to take the conversation forward.

Sidhant, your question whether in discussions with Prime Minister Trudeau what all came up for discussions etc. Prime Minister in his discussions with the Prime Minister of Canada, the areas which I mentioned to you covered, essentially trade and investment linkages, security and counter-terrorism cooperation and promotion of people-to-people ties. Prime Minister made it very clear to the Prime Minister of Canada but also to other leaders that one of the major global challenges that all of us face is the challenge of terrorism and that is something on which India has consistently adopted and advocated zero tolerance and Prime Minister made that point very clear in his bilateral interactions with all the leaders wherever it came up including of course with the Prime Minister of Canada also.

Manish, your question with regard to the presence of Russia- Ukraine Agenda during the G7 Summit, the sense that you put in your question was a renewed pressure with regard to Russia- Ukraine etc. I think naturally situation between Russia and Ukraine was an important point of discussions during the plenary. Prime Minister in both his interventions, the first one on climate energy and the second one on food security and the other item gender equality, in both the sessions Prime Minister made it very clear in terms of the position that India has advocated on the Russia- Ukraine situation, which I have at many occasions mentioned and this included essentially immediate or as early as possible end to the hostilities and two the path of dialogue and diplomacy to resolve the situation.

But Prime Minister also very strongly put forward and I think we are fairly an important player in that aspect, of course, it’s the consequence which also we face which is the knockdown effect of the Russia-Ukraine conflict. Whether it is in terms of the crisis of food security, especially on the vulnerable countries, whether it is the challenge of fertilizer security, which all of us are facing, or also relating to the issues relating to the energy security. And the Prime Minister made it very clear that India has been in the forefront of contributing, to ensure that the food security situation of the vulnerable economies that we are upfront in addressing it to the best extent possible.

Prime Minister did also mention that the energy security has become a very challenging issue in the wake of Russia-Ukraine conflict. But India would continue to do what it thinks is best in the interest of our own energy security when it comes to the question of global oil trade. I think our position which Prime Minister articulated during the G7 Summit was well understood. I would even say it was appreciated across by his counterpart leaders from other countries. Thank You.

Speaker 1: (Inaudible)

Speaker 2: Sir, one of the important outcomes of the G7 Summit is the USD 600 bn infrastructure plan, which is being touted as counter to China’s BRI. (inaudible)

Shri Vinay Kwatra, Foreign Secretary: Aapka jo pehla prashn tha ki G7 key is shikhar varta se kya kya hamare take away honge. Dekhiye jo is samay vaishwick sandarbh hai, vaishwick paripeksh hai usake maddhenazar jitni bhi vaishwick chunautiyan hain un chunautiyon pay bharat ka paripeksh spasht roop se pure vishv ke samne hai aur jo G7 ke jo shikhar neta hai unke samne ek spasht roop se usaka prastutikaran aur usaki jaise ki maine kaha deep understanding or appreciation ye apne- aap mein hi ek mahatvapurna cheez hai. Doosra jin mukhya vishayon pay pradhanmantri ji ne vaktavya do preliminary sessions mein diye, ek paryavaran se sambandhit aur doosra mukhyatah khadya suraksha se sambandhit ye jaisa ki maine kaha aaj ke vashwick sandarbh mein apane-aap mein bahut badi chunautiyan hain. In chunautiyan ka vishv ke dwara samna karna usamen bharat ki ek bahut hi mahatvapoorn bhoomika hai woh bhoomika sakaratmak hai, sahyog se prerit hai, sahakarya se prerit hai. Ye dusra message pure G7 ke shikhar varta mein na keval strongly ubhar ke samne aaya magar usaki ek prakar se svikriti, tathyadharit svikriti jo hai woh apne aap mein mahatvapoorn hai. Tissra, shikhar varta ke dauran G7 ke neta gan tatha outreach countries ke jo baki netagan unse dvipakshiy varta jo hamare dvipakshiy sambandho ke mudde hain unko aage kaise aur tezi se badhaya jaye ye apne-aap mein bhi ek kaafi mahatvapoorn upalabdhi hai. Chautha jo ki maine apne remarks mein bhi kaha ki ye svikriti is baat ki, ye acceptance is baat ki, ye recognition is baat ki ki aaj ke vishwa ki jitni bhi chunautiyan hai, unake samadhan mein, unke solution dhundhne mein bharat ki ek aham bhumika hai. Bhoomika ke alava mein kahunga ki pradhanmantri ji ke vaktavya se spasht tha ki na keval hamari bhoomika hamare soch ke madhyam se hai balki hamare sahakarya aur sahyog ke madhyam se bhi hai. Toh, main kahunga ki overall ye shikhar varta jo ki i think covid mahamari ke baad pehli baar ek antarrashtriy badi shikhar varta thi, har prakar se jo hai kafi sakaratmak aur productive thi, upalabdhiyan bhi spasht hain. (Answered in Hindi; Approximate Translation) Your first question was, what will be our take aways from G7 summit. See, in view of the challenges in global context at the moment, India's perspective on all the global challenges is clearly before the whole world and the presentation of India’s perspective before the G7 top leaders in a clear way and its deep understanding or appreciation is an important thing in itself. Secondly, the main topics on which the Prime Minister made statements in two plenary sessions, one related to the environment and the other mainly related to food security, these, as I said, in today's global context, are huge challenges in themselves. India has a very important role to play in these challenges faced by the world, which is positive, motivated by cooperation. This second message not only came out strongly in the entire G7 summit, but its acceptance, fact-based acceptance, in itself, is important. Thirdly, during the summit, the bilateral talks with the leaders of the G7 and the other leaders of the outreach countries, the discussions on issues of our bilateral relations, how they can be taken forward and speedily, is also a very important achievement in itself. The fourth which I said in my remarks is that this approval, acceptance and recognition that India has an important role to play in finding solutions to the challenges of today's world. I would say that it was clear from the Prime Minister's statement that our role is not just through our thinking but also through our cooperation. So, I would say that overall, this summit which I think was a large international summit held for the first time since the Covid pandemic, in every way was quite positive and productive and the achievements are also quite clear.

And that takes me to your question with regard to the infrastructure initiative, which was announced. As I mentioned, there are only two outcome documents, which pertain to the G7 and the Outreach countries together. One was on the resilient democracy and the second one was essentially Chair’s summary on the Just Energy transition partnership. I think the initiative that you were referring to if my understanding is correct is a separate G7 initiative and to my recollection, unless you know there is some other input, I think it is not the G7 Outreach initiative.

But whether it's a question of infrastructure or it's a question of addressing other economic challenges, as I said, Prime Minister's observations in both plenaries focused on this part, which is the sustainable solution and the Lifestyle for Environment, actually, captures that part. I think the other initiative that you spoke about, we'll have to see the details of that for us to be able to speak specifically on its elements. Thank you.

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: Thank you very much. That brings us to the close of this special media briefing from Munich. Thank you, Sir, also to Dammu Ravi Sir, Ninad. Good evening.

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