We have a press release on the visit of the French Prime Minister
Mr. Jean Pierre Raffarin which begins on the 6th of February. I will run down the basics of this visit but
before we do that I would like to check if there are any queries on any other issues.
There was a story saying that India has sought permission from Pakistan for resumption of trade traffic through railways. Can you confirm that?
I have seen the story. It is absolutely incorrect. India has made no such request.
What is happening on the Bangladesh border? There were some reports that there was firing last night?
I have sought an update before I came here. From the information available to us till a few hours ago that there is no change in the situation from what I have said to you yesterday. I am not aware of any recent firing but that is something which we can check up. But on the issue of people on the zero line and the refusal of Bangladesh to accept them back into Bangladesh there has been no change in the situation.
Has the Bangladesh High Commissioner get back to us?
No. No as yet.
Any confirmation from Dubai about the arrest of D-Company?
No I don’t have any confirmation on that but we have sought confirmation.
Has humanitarian assistance being extended to the people on the border?
As I explained to you yesterday there was a refusal to allow humanitarian assistance to be extended. The situation is unchanged to my knowledge.
The Indus water meeting is being held in Pakistan. Any information on that?
That is the meeting which is held under Indus Water Treaty. When the meeting finishes I will give you a read out if we get one.
You said according to agreed modalities between India and Bangladesh that in case of dispute people should be accepted within three days. But it is now more than three days?
Which is exactly the reason why there was a meeting with the Bangladesh High Commissioner. An aide memoire was handed over to him. Bangladesh was requested to implement the agreed modalities between the two countries and that’s where the situation stands.
Navtej Sarna: We have a press release available for you on the visit of the French Prime Minister Mr. Jean Pierre Raffarin, the visit takes place from 6-8 February. This will be the first visit of the French Prime Minister outside Europe since he assumed charged following the national assembly elections in June 2002. He is coming with a large delegation which includes four ministers, a huge business delegation and a strong media contingent. The visit begins in Bangalore where he will participate in the Aero-India show as well as business meting being jointly organized by CII and FICCI. On the 7th are the main officials events in Delhi where he will call on Rashtrapatiji and Vice-President and will hold discussion with the Prime Minister. EAM will also call on the French Prime Minister and after his day in Delhi the French Prime Minister will pay a visit to Agra on 8th February.