Friday, Sep 30, 2022

'There Has Been No Harassment'

The official spokesperson on la affaire Alex Perry and on Indo-Pak logjam. Excerpts from the Press Briefing of June 21

Regarding lifting of restriction on Pakistani flights over Indian airspace…and the comments of Major General Rashid Qureshi on the subject...
No, we are awaiting for an official response from the Government of Pakistan to our offer, our decision to remove the restrictions on over flights of Pakistani airlines and Pakistani civil aircraft, and we are yet to receive a response from the Government of Pakistan. I would not like to comment on the sort of comments to which you just referred. We await an official communication from the Government of Pakistan on the subject.

But the Pakistan’s spokesperson have said that they have not received any notification in this regard from the Government of India?
No, I think that again there seems to be some disinformation that has been spread on this subject. Our Ministry of Civil Aviation has said very clearly that there is no notice to airmen required, no NOTAM required. There was no NOTAM issued when the restrictions were imposed on January 1st. Similarly no NOTAM is required for the removal of these restrictions. All that the Pakistani aircraft have to do is to file for clearances for flight plans as and when they decide to resume over flights. This has been veryclearly stated.

I think all these statements that you have referred to fall into the general class, the generic hostility that you see emanating from Pakistan and the Pakistani spokespersons on the subject. The offer we have made, the proposal we have outlined, is a genuine one and we hope Pakistan will respond to it in an appropriate manner.

Would you like to comment on the Defence Minister statement that there is no infiltration?
Well, the infiltration has gone down and I think the Defence Minister clearly referred to that development. But it is still too early to take those steps which I assume you are referring to when you talk, since he said very clearly that military de-escalation is a long way off. There is still a lot of action that we expect from Pakistan in terms of dismantlement of the infrastructure of terrorism, in terms of permanent, visible, satisfactory action on the ground in response to the pledges and assurances that the Government of Pakistan has made on the subject.

Is there any possibility that the leaders of the All Party Hurriyat Conference (APHC) would be allowed to go to Pakistan?
You will have to address that question to the Ministry of Home Affairs.

(in Hindi) referring to a recent statement by the Pakistani Minister of Religious Affairs saying there is an indigenious struggle, and no terrorism,in Kashmir..and that until India discussed the issue of Kashmir, there would be no Pakistani response to the offer of resumption of overflights) It is alleged that the policy in India is against the Muslim community and the Kashmiri have every right to Jihad?
No, the other day one of our friends asked me a similar question to the effect that Pakistan had made such statement. I think there is nothing new in what you have just mentioned just now. Pakistan refuses to formulate and to articulate a serious vision for peace and reconciliation in our region. What you see is the same tired, worn, rhetoric coming from various quarters of the Pakistani establishment. There is very little, genuine desire, an absence, I would say , of any genuine desire for dialogue, for reconciliation, for resolution of outstanding issues through consultation, through interaction between India and Pakistan.

There is an allegation that Mr. Alexander Perry of Time Magazine was harassed just because he had written a controversial article on our Prime Minister?
What allegation are you talking about? Who has made this allegation? I don’t believe that there has been any harassment and as far as the investigation is concerned I would not like to comment on it. This is a subject of an investigation being conducted by the Home Ministry under whose jurisdiction the foreigner’s regional registration office functions. So you should address this question to the Home Ministry. There has been no harassment and the fact is that on that article the Government of India has issued a very strong rejoinder and we stand completely by that reaction and that rejoinder. It was an ill informed and ill-advised article and completely without foundation.

I refused to be drawn into any discussion on that. I am here to talk about developments concerning about our foreign policy. I am not here to talk about other issues.

Is the Government of India aware of the procedures as to how many passports and travel documents should foreigners…
No, I would not say that there is no awareness. I am not commenting on this specific case. I know you would like me to comment on that. But I am going to disappoint you on that account. But the Government of India is fully aware of procedures, conventions, and regulations governing the use of travel documents.

There was a report yesterday that Bangladesh has handed over a list of 18 wanted persons. Can you confirm that?
I will have to check whether such a list was handed over. I am not aware of such a list but it was very clear during those discussions that both governments were fully agreed on the need for close consultation and cooperation in terms of apprehending and bringing to justice terrorists, militants, people who have violated laws of either country and that there would full cooperation between the two countries on the subject, that Bangladesh would be responding and be sensitive to India’s concerns on this subject and India would also be cognizant and responsive to Bangladesh’s concerns on this subject once full investigations have been carried out. (It was later elaborated by the Spokesperson that Bangladesh had handed over a list of 12 people who were allegedly criminals. Two of these persons had since been  arrested in Dhaka itself. The Government of India would take action to locate the remaining persons whose whereabouts would need to be ascertained. The Government had cooperated with the Bangladesh Government on this issue  in the past, and would do so in the future also, despite the fact that there was no extradition treaty between the two countries).

[On June 20th,  the spokesperson was asked to comment (20th June) on the recent statement by Pakistan President General Musharraf that India had been unable to call Pakistan's nuclear bluff, and that possession of nuclear weapons by Pakistan had prevented India from going to war with Pakistan. She was also asked about the recent comment by Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam on the nuclear capability of both India and Pakistan having prevented war between the two countries. In response, the spokesperson said that it was Pakistan that had indulged in loose and irresponsible talk over the last few years, on a number of occasions, in which it had threatened the use of nuclear weapons against India. Given this propensity on the part of Pakistan, the only rational conclusion that could be drawn was that India's nuclear deterrent had helped effectively forestall Pakistan's nuclear blackmail.]