This Week in Indian Diplomacy

Anurag Srivastva, Spokesperson, Ministry of External Affairs, India

Given the engagement on the LAC between India and China, Nepal parliament’s decision to approve the controversial map showing territories controlled by India as part of Nepal, Locust Management issue and the Pandemic – the past week remains crucial in Indian Diplomacy. Addressing the media on Thursday, MEA India Spokesperson Anurag Srivastav addressed the weekly briefing virtually.

The address started with an announcement regarding an update on the Vande Bharat Mission Phase-3 of the mission that started on 11th June. Spokesperson briefed about the flight scheduled. The spokesperson said, “In this phase, we would have 550 flights including 191 feeder flights and would be covering 41 countries and operating from 55 International Airports and 27 domestic ones.”

He updated the media on the number of Indians returned till now under this Mission.

As of Today under the mission 250087 Indians have returned, in which 21% of the returnees are migrants workers and more than 75000 Indians have returned through the Land Border Immigration Checkpoints from Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh, he said.

According to the Spokesperson, around 450,000 persons have registered their request with the missions abroad to repatriation to India on compiling grounds. Charter flights operation commenced from 26th May and since then more than 57,000 Indian nationals have been brought back by charter flights.

Vande Bharat Mission

The first set of questions were on  Vande Bharat Mission. Asking an update on How many Indians have come from Africa and Latin America and a large number of students are stuck in Kyrgyzstan any plans to send flight that way? And some states are demanding Covid-19 tests of all persons returning from abroad on Vande Bharat flights and Charter flights before boarding?

Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson Anurag Srivastav answered “More than 5,700 have returned from Africa, more than 750 from Latin American countries and from Kyrgyzstan more than 550 Indians returned. Under Phase-3 there are 10 more flights from Kyrgyzstan to India. 9 feeder flights in India itself for this purpose and the details are available on our website.”

He further added “We take all due health precautions while bringing back people on Vande Bharat flights. Everyone who is boarding the flights goes through medical screening, only asymptomatic passengers are taken on board and before embarkation during the flight after disembarkation all health protocols are followed. So, therefore, there should not be any area of concern about this.”

Nepal Redraws Political Map by Incorporating Areas Administered by India

Nepal’s Controversial Bill

The second set of questions were on Nepal asking MEA to give reaction to the Nepal Parliament passing the New Map Amendment Bill and on will there be any change in the status quo in the bilateral relationship with Nepal?

Spokesperson Srivastav answered “I have mentioned it earlier also. I have said that we have noted the developments when the House of Representatives of Nepal had passed the Constitution Amendment Bill. We have already made our position clear so there is nothing to add anything further.”

India-China Engagement at LAC

The third set of questions were on India-China diplomatic and military level engagement between the two countries, China’s claim on Galvan valley, engagement with the International community and what government is planning to do?

Image source: Reuters

MEA Spokesperson, answered “India and China have been discussing through military and diplomatic channels. The de-escalation on the situation on the border area in eastern Ladakh on 6th June. The core commanders of India and China held a meeting in Chushul, Moldo region where an agreement was reached on de-escalation and disengagement along the Line of Actual Control. Ground commanders are meeting regularly to implement this consensus throughout last week. It was our expectation that it would unfold smoothly the Chinese side departed to a consensus to respect to LAC in the Galvan valley. On the late evening of 15th June, a violent face-off happened when the Chinese side unilaterally attempted to change the status quo there.”

He further added “They took premeditated and planned action that was directly responsible for the violence and casualty suffered by both the sides. This could have been avoided. Had the agreement at the higher level been scrupulously followed by the Chinese side given it responsible approach to border management, India is very clear that all the activities should always take place within the Indian side of LAC. “

The spokesperson added We expect the Chinese side to also confine its activities to its side of the LAC.

He also mentioned the telephone conversation between the External Affairs Minister Jaishankar and his Chinese counterpart, which stresses on the peace and further tell that the need of the hour for the Chinese side to see their action and take corrective steps.

The spokesperson added, “China should strictly respect and observe LAC and not take unilateral actions to alter it. It was agreed that both sides would implement the disengagement of understanding of  6th June sincerely. “

Neither side would take any action to escalate matters and instead ensure peace and tranquillity as per bilateral agreements and protocols. The two sides are in regular touch through their respective embassies and foreign officers at the ground level the sides have maintained communication at the commanders level. Meetings of other established diplomatic mechanisms such as Working Mechanisms for Consultation and Coordination on border affairs are under discussion, he said.

Moreover, he advocated for the dialogue between the two nations and denied any missing soldier in action from the Indian side.

Russia-IndiaChina (RIC) Summit

The fourth set of questions were on Russia, India, China (RIC) summit asking will India participate on 23rd June and agenda of the meeting?

The spokesperson assured that the summit between the three countries will not get stalled due to recent engagements on LAC. The summit will take place on 23 June as scheduled.

Russia is the chair this year. Russia has called for the special session of the RIC meeting, to commemorate the 75th Anniversary of the victory in the Second World War over narcissism and creations of the United States.

“It will be the first meeting of the RIC of foreign ministers that will be taking place through video conferencing. Three ministers are expected to discuss the current situation on the global pandemic, challengers of global security and financial stability and RIC corporation in that context. It will be a Trilateral meeting”, Spokesperson said

India-Pakistan meeting on Locust Management

Fourth set of questions were regarding an update on India-Pakistan meeting on locust management?

Replying to the journalists, Spokesperson said “We thought it is important and wake of the threat post by dessert locust and even proposed to Pakistan coordinated Locust Control Operation and Programmes that we can facilitate the supply of pesticide for the locust control operation. We have delivered 20000 litres of pesticides to Iran for desert locust control operation. As per available information, Pakistan side has refused to join this meeting which was proposed to be held today. We will coordinate with FAO.”

Vijay Mallya’s Extradition

The Fifth set of questions were on Vijay Mallya’s extradition to India?

Spokesperson updated about being in touch with the UK government for his early extradition to India and not to consider his asylum request.

An updated to Russia on India-China LAC engagement?

When asked about the statement by the Russian Foreign Ministry that there was a telephonic conversation between India and Russia and briefing about the situation, Spokesperson denied providing any information on this topic, citing the reason of “not seeing the reports”

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The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Kootneeti Team

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Vasundhra Singh Panwar

Vasundhra Singh Panwar is a Former Journalism Intern at The Kootneeti

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