Transcript of Special briefing by Foreign Secretary on Prime Minister’s visit to USA and Egypt (June 19, 2023)

June 19, 2023

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: Very good afternoon to all of you. Thank you for joining us for this special media briefing on the occasion of the forthcoming visit of Honorable Prime Minister to the United States of America and Egypt that commences from tomorrow. To give us a sense of the visit, we have with us Foreign Secretary Sir, Shri Vinay Kwatra. Also joining us on the dais is Dr. Ausaf Sayeed, Secretary (CPV and OIA) in the Ministry of External Affairs as well as Dr. Pradeep Rajpurohit, Joint Secretary looking after West Asia and North Africa Division in the Ministry. Sir, may I hand over the floor to you.

Shri Vinay Kwatra, Foreign Secretary: Thank you very much and good afternoon to all of you, friends or present here this afternoon for the special briefing of Honorable Prime Minister's upcoming visit to the United States and to the Arab Republic of Egypt. First, about the United States. Prime Minister is visiting US on 21st through 23rd of June at the invitation of His Excellency President Biden and the First Lady, Dr. Jill Biden. What I would do is give you a brief run, overall structure of the program outline, try to sketch a bit of context, key elements which currently resonate in the relationship and then go on to speak about, very briefly about, the program in Egypt. Firstly, this will be Prime Minister's first Official State Visit to the United States. PM has earlier visited US roughly six times, both in bilateral capacities as also for multilateral events. First about the program, the first leg of his program in the US is in New York, which starts on the morning of the 21st with celebration of the International Day of Yoga at the UN headquarters in the morning of the 21st. You would recall that United Nations General Assembly had adopted a resolution proclaiming June 21st as the International Day of Yoga. While in New York, Honorable Prime Minister will also meet a cross section of prominent personalities and leaders. From there, he departs for Washington on 21st itself where his program for the Washington leg commences. On the first day of his arrival in Washington DC on 21st, the first key engagement would be an event that is focused on skilling, skilling for future, which essentially would try to bring out the key complementarities and the objectives that both systems seek to promote and achieve in the field of skilling and capacity building. On the same day, on 21st, there is expected to be…there will be a private engagement between President Biden and Prime Minister. On 22nd June, which is the second day of the program in Washington, that's the day of formal bilateral meetings, essentially would have four or five key components. The first component being the ceremonial welcome at the White House. Second component being a set of bilateral meetings between the two leaders as also the accompanying delegations. The third component is Honorable Prime Minister's scheduled address to the US Congress and the congressional reception thereafter. And the concluding component for June 22nd would be the ceremonial state dinner hosted by the Honorable President and the First Lady in honor of Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi. The day three of the Washington leg, which is June 23rd, Prime Minister's program again would have four or five key components. The first being his interaction, one to one interaction with select CEOs spread throughout the day. Thereafter, Prime Minister will also be hosted by the US Vice President and Secretary of State, Antony Blinken at the State Luncheon, which is part of the Official State Visit. Prime Minister will then interact with prominent professional personalities as also leaders from cross-section of the society at an event at the Kennedy Center. Prime Minister's last engagement in Washington DC will be an interaction with the community leaders immediately after the Kennedy Center event. Thereafter, the Prime Minister will depart for Egypt.

In terms of a substantive context of the US visit, if I could just take a minute to highlight some of the key components on which we will continue to speak to you in coming days as the visit unfolds and depending on Honorable Prime Minister's interaction day to day during his visit to the US. The first is a milestone in our relationship between the two countries. You heard Honorable External Affairs Minister say yesterday, it's a very significant visit, very important visit, a visit on which there is a genuine and widespread deep interest in the United States. Two, the visit is very rich in both form and in substance. Three key component would be the leadership connect during the visit between the two countries. Four, naturally an important element of the visit will also be discussion on the bilateral relationships, the line of effort, the objectives that we set for ourselves in terms of looking at next series of transformative agenda items in years ahead. And in that, I guess the effort would also be to build a network in which these new domains of partnership could be properly positioned.

I must mention here that Honorable Shri Narendra Modi ji would be among the rare few leaders, world leaders to have been accorded the honor to address the US Congress more than once. Clearly, another key context which has always continued is a strong and widespread degree of bipartisan support in the US Congress to the strengthening of this relationship.

In terms of key elements of the relationship, many of which would feature very prominently during this visit. One, of course, as I said, is the political connect at the leadership level, a high level of and very intense level of political exchanges has been one of the key features of our relationship. Just within this month, we have had three very high profile visits from US to India, including of most recently, which is the National Security Advisor of the US, Jake Sullivan. Prior to that, Defense Secretary, the US, Excellency Lloyd Austin. And we also had the privilege of hosting Secretary of State Blinken earlier this year.

The second key component, which has been a very strong pillar of our relationship has been strong trade and investment partnership. Whether you look at the quantum of bilateral trade, touching close to $200 billion, or the strong flow of capital on both sides. Three, the technology component…and technology component interfaces with many other domains. So technology itself interfaces in the telecom area, in the space area, in the manufacturing domain. Also, a lot of it as a triangulation of technology manufacturing and investment…a lot of this translates into that. Within the technology realm, the critical and emerging technologies has been the most recent area of focus, an area which presents itself with really very exciting opportunities for bilateral engagement in months and years ahead. The next key component, which will also be showcased prominently during the visit is the bilateral defense cooperation. It has been a critical pillar of our engagement. And within that, a new element this year, we expect this, during this visit we expect is the progress on defense industrial cooperation roadmap, which essentially takes us on the path of how the defense industries on both sides can partner closely, both in not just in the field of co-production, co-development, but also do it in a manner that the supply chains on both sides in this field…the industrial ecosystem, broadly speaking, in the field of defense could talk to each other, could cooperate with each other far more intensely.

Another key component, always a very vibrant, robust and dynamic component of our relationship, in many ways a strong driver of the relationship is also the Diaspora, Prime Minister's interface with Diaspora. We have close to 5 million strong Indian Diaspora in the US, which contributes enormously and very richly to the growth, the substance and the strength of the relationship.

Another key element, part of it I referred to early on in my remarks is the whole domain of skilling and mobility, in some cases independent, in some cases linked. Those would be the broad outlined contours of Honorable Prime Minister's visit to the US in terms of the program, the context in which visit is taking place, key elements not just of the relationship, but also which will feature prominently during the Prime Minister's visit.

Moving on to the second leg of Honorable Prime Minister's visit, this would be to Egypt at the invitation of His Excellency Abdul Fattah el-Sisi, the President of Arab Republic of Egypt. The State Visit to Egypt will be on June 24-25. It is worth mentioning here that this will be Honorable Prime Minister's first visit to Egypt and I might also mention that this would be the first official bilateral visit of the Indian Prime Minister to Egypt since 1997. There have been visits in between but they have mostly been for the multilateral or plurilateral events. You would all recall that most recently the Egyptian President had paid a State Visit to India when he graced our Republic Day earlier in the year as the chief guest. At this stage the Prime Minister is expected to reach Cairo in the afternoon of June 24, where his first interaction will be with the India unit. This unit is a select unit of high-level ministers which the Honorable President of Egypt had constituted after his return from India. I think it was in March sometime that it was constituted, so Prime Minister's first interaction will be with this unit.

I must mention here that over the last several months since the visit of the President of Egypt, we have seen an intense level of Ministerial-level political exchanges between the two countries. External Affairs Minister himself, Honorable Rakhsha Mantri ji and Minister of Environment have travelled to Egypt. We have had similarly at least three to four Ministers from the Egyptian government who have visited India. Even as we speak, a Ministerial-level delegation led by the Chairperson of the Suez Canal Authority is in India. Clearly shows you the extent of very sharp focus that both India and Egypt are placing on strengthening all aspects of their relationship.

After that interaction with the India unit, Prime Minister will have interaction with the small Indian community that is there in Egypt and will likely also meet some of the prominent personalities in Egypt. His next day will begin with a visit to Al-Hakim Mosque. It is the 11th century mosque which was refurbished, renovated by the Bohra community and the visit to Al-Hakim Mosque will be followed by a visit to the Heliopolis War Grave Cemetery to pay tribute to the Indian soldiers who made the supreme sacrifice fighting for Egypt during the First World War. Prime Minister will have official engagement at the Presidency of Egypt, including bilateral talks with President of Egypt and signing of various MOUs and agreements on that day. Thereafter, Prime Minister would return to India.

Just a brief few words on the key elements of substance. I just referred to the intense level of political exchanges. I must also add that most recently the Grand Mufti of Egypt was in India on a very successful visit. As you all know, Egypt has also been invited as a special guest during India's G20 Presidency. This is a very quick, reciprocal visit coming just within six months of President Sisi's visit to India. We do expect and are confident that the visit of Honorable Prime Minister of Egypt will not just ensure continuing momentum to the relationship between our two countries, but will also help it expand to new areas of trade and economic engagement between our two countries.

I would stop here and if there are any questions, we'll try to take them.

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: Thank you. Thank you very much. So, the ground rules, please introduce yourself and the organization that you represent. I know there'll be a lot of interest, so we'll try to also limit the number of questions because Foreign Secretary has other engagements. Let me try to start with you there.

Rishab: Secretary, good morning. Rishab from Times Now. Sir, two questions. One, there are reports that Indian Prime Minister has written to G20 counterparts regarding African Union. I'm coming to this topic only. African Union, will that be discussed in US?

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: What will be discussed in the US?

Rishab: African Union, permanent membership to G20, that Prime Minister has written. And, sir, if we can have some details of CEOs who will be meeting Prime Minister in the United States.

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: CEOs who is meeting?

Rishab: Prime Minister is holding meetings, with the CEOs.

Vinit Dixit: Vinit Dixit from News Gate. Sir, I'm interested to know, will there be an agreement on LCA Mark 2 engine manufacturing, core manufacturing here in India?

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: The GE-1? Is that the GE-1 that you are talking about?

Vinit Dixit: Will that be part of the bilateral defense cooperation production in the long run? And is there a quid pro quo from Americans to us to join NATO as one of the partners in Quad has already done?

Mujib Mashal: I'm Mujib Mashal from the New York Times. Foreign Secretary, just a question of clarification on the Prime Minister's June 23 schedule. The last two events, the Kennedy Center event is not the diaspora event. The diaspora event is the community leaders event that comes after that. And can you tell us a little bit about the sort of the scale of the diaspora event? Is it going to be similar to the one during the Prime Minister's last visit or is this a more selective interaction?

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: Yeah, please.

Vijayalakshmi: Sir, Vijayalakshmi hu India TV se. Aapne apne vaktavya mai bilateral defense cooperation ki baat ki hain aur critical pillar hum dono ke rishton mai bataya hain toh kin kin defense masaudon par is visit ke dauran charcha ya hastakshar ho sakta hain?

[Question in Hindi: Approximate translation] Sir, I'm Vijayalakshmi from India TV. You have mentioned bilateral defense cooperation in your speech and highlighted it as a critical pillar in our relationship. So, which defense issues will be discussed or signed during this visit?

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: Outcomes? Last hand, yeah.

Smita Sharma: Hi, Smita Sharma. I work independently. Foreign Secretary, A, we are hearing reports that some members of the US Congress, including Democrat lawmakers, will possibly issue statements on issues of human rights and there are some protests that are being planned during the visit. Has India taken this up with the other side?

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: Sorry, sorry. I didn't get your question. What? What is your question? There are reports that people will write letters, we should take it up in advance. That doesn't make sense. Please have a specific question.

Smita Sharma: There could be a moment of embarrassment if there are protests planned and it happens. Is the Indian side taking that into account at all?

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: What is your question?

Smita Sharma: There are planned protests during the Prime Minister's visit on issues of human rights, including some Democrat lawmakers who have suggested there will be issued statements. Does India have a view of this? And on the Myanmar's civil war situation which seems to be worsening, because that's one area where India and US definitely do seem to have a different position. Is that something that's going to come up at all?

Vedika Sood: Vedika Sood from CNN. My question is, is the Indian government hoping, or is the Prime Minister hoping, to sign any weapon deals that might reduce India's reliance on Russian arms? Thank you.

Shri Vinay Kwatra, Foreign Secretary: Thank you very much. Let me just bunch up the set of questions relating to defense. LCA Mark 2, Raksha Sahyog, weapon deal, and put it in a context in which the defense relationship between India and US is placed. Look, if you look at the complete matrix of India-US defense engagement, defense partnership, you will find that it is very robust, it is very dynamic, it has all the significant elements that make it so important. We conduct a large number of bilateral military exercises, both bilateral as also regional in nature. Our armed forces of the two countries have all kinds of staff-to-staff engagement that takes place between the two sides. India also is an important deployer of the US equipment and platforms. Some of it are used by India. We also have significantly an important objective and an effort and an ongoing component of it in terms of what the two defense and industrial system can do, which focuses on research, collaboration and production opportunities and production cooperation, mainly also under the Prime Minister's Made in India campaign. So if you look at the defense partnership, and I mentioned it in my remarks, that the defense industrial production roadmap that the two countries have been discussing for some time and which would hopefully be one of the very key outcomes during this visit, essentially focuses on all aspects of defense co-production, co-development. And what is important is it also talks about how the defense industrial ecosystems of the two countries could co-operate much better, how the supply lines in the field of the defense industries could also interface with each other much better. So I don't think it would be appropriate to really single out individual elements and link it to a certain sort of pre-defined objective in that sense. I think it is important to position each element of the defense relationship very correctly in the overall network of defense relationship and also the way defense relationship is positioned in the larger overall relationship. So that's the element of defense which is coming out from the questions.

Times now, and I think Yeshi, your... thik hain. dekhiye jo maine abhi sakshipt mai yahin kahan ki jahan tak Bharat America ke raksha sahyog ka prashn hain usko ek simit dristi se, ek particular equipment platform ke najariye se dekhne ke bajay uska framework jismai hamain use dekhna chahiye, woh ye hain ki Bharat US ke raksha sahyog kafi vyapak hain, kafi comprehensive hain, uske kai mahatvapurna bhag hain. Us pure har bhag ko aap dekhenge toh usmai jo naya bhag jispe hum kafi jor se kendrit hain woh hai ki kis prakar Bharat tatha US ke raksha udyogi ke se jude hue jo companies hain woh kis prakar se ek dusre ke sath apna dwipakshiy sahyog, apna dwipakshiy sahkary badha sakte hain. Dusra raksha ke keshtra mai jo dono deshon ke bich mai jo industrial supply line linkages hain, industrial production ecosystems hain woh kis parkar se ek dusre se baat kar sakte hain aur uska mukhya uddesh, mukhya tatparya yahin hain ki kis prakar se Bharat US raksha sahyog ek industrial production ecosystem ki taraf badhe jisse na kewal dono deshon ke raksha sahyogon ko bal milega apitu jo vaishvik paripeksya hain usmai bhi dono deshon ke raksha samband ek acchi pragati kar sakte hain. mukhya roop se raksha ko lekar ye prashn hain.

[Answer in Hindi: Approximate translation] OK. See, what I briefly mentioned earlier is that when it comes to India-US defense cooperation, instead of looking at it from a limited perspective that focuses on a particular equipment platform, we should look at its framework. The framework is that India-US defense cooperation is extensive and comprehensive, with many significant components. When you look at each component, the new aspect that we are emphasizing is how the defense industries of both countries can enhance their bilateral cooperation and collaboration.

Another aspect in the field of defense is how the industrial supply line linkages and industrial production ecosystems between the two countries can communicate with each other. The main objective and purpose is to promote India-US defense cooperation towards an industrial production ecosystem. This will not only strengthen the defence cooperation between the two countries but also make good progress in the defence relations between the two countries in the global context. This primarily pertains to the question of defense.

The question from Times Now and I think you also had similar question which is the G20 and the CEOs meeting. Prime Minister, as I mentioned in my remarks will interact with the prominent cross section of personalities while he is in US, both in New York and in Washington DC. This would include some prominent CEOs also. These meetings will be in multiple settings. As and when these meetings take place, the substantive discussions of those meetings, what exactly is achieved and sought to be achieved during this meeting, we would share with you as we go along. On the G20, India's Presidency in the G20 has already been quite remarkable and unique. I may be factually slightly off the mark here, but to my recollection, this would perhaps be the first Presidency which has taken G20 out really from the capitals to all over the country. I mean, we have had already roughly 140 odd meetings spread pretty much all over India. The number of venues in the cities and places in the country that we have used just shows the extent of commitment that India has to ensure that G20 travels far and wide within the country. Naturally, when the Honorable Prime Minister meets with the U.S. leadership, President Biden, the focus on what India is trying to do in its G20 presidency, especially with regard to priorities, interests and concerns of the countries of the Global South, that large chunk of Global South that actually remains unrepresented in the G20, for which the Honorable prime minister also held, if you would all remember, the Voice of Global South Summit in January this year. The idea is to put that on the table…and put that on the table with the importance that it deserves, in terms of being included onto the G20 agenda. Naturally, in that, the interest of the African countries, which represents a large section of the Global South, are important and they would feature in the discussions…discussions between the Honorable Prime Minister and the President.

Smita, if I could just come to your question on the U.S. Congress, planned protests…Myanmar and the situation in Myanmar. Look, when Honorable Prime Minister travels abroad, all aspects of his visit, including those that pertain to safety, security and other administrative arrangements, are made duly by the appropriate agencies and I'm sure they will do what is required to be done. We don't comment on those aspects of the arrangements of the Honorable Prime Minister. You talked about…you referred to some planned communications that, according to your information, might come. I would position this slightly differently. I would say that we look at this visit from a very different frame of reference. I mentioned in my remarks that we sense deep and widespread positive interest in the US on the visit. We are aware, evidence-based...aware of the positive things we have done in the relationship. Three, we are determined and targeted to move to the new domains of strategic partnership, which are crucial not just for partnership between our two societies, two countries, two systems, but which would also be net positive contributors to the developments in the world. Five, the extent of enthusiasm across the various cross-sections of the US system is palpable. I don't write the media news. You guys write. You can well see that spread over the pages of the media for yourself and determine what is the frame of reference in which the two systems are looking at the relationship. So we look at the relationship from that frame, not from any other frame.

The Myanmar question, I really cannot…it's not correct for me to prejudge what the two Leaders will speak in their discussions, but it would be natural to expect that the regional and the global situation will come up for discussion. During that, as I said again, it is not correct for us to frame the agenda of discussions between the two Leaders in that sense, but on Myanmar, I think our position has always been very clear, and the US side appreciates that position. Let's not forget that we have a large border with Myanmar. Myanmar is our neighbour. The kind of framework in which we deal with our relationship in Myanmar is very different. We have continued with our extensive humanitarian assistance and development cooperation with Myanmar, even during the times that Myanmar was troubled, so to speak. So from our perspective, our position on Myanmar has always been very clear. Being a neighbour, we always try, we wish, and we make an effort in that direction that the country remains peaceful and stable. But Myanmar is our neighbor, and we as a result, have continued with our…as I said, humanitarian assistance, development partnership, capacity-building programs, etc. with Myanmar.

The event at the Kennedy Center is organized and supported by many organizations. It includes a cross-section of Associations in the US that are working to ensure that the Kennedy Center event is successful. To my understanding, that particular event would include business leaders from across the different sections of the society, young entrepreneurs…that's an important segment of our partnership, think-tank members from across the United States, the young Indian-Americans, Indian-American leaders. So it's a more cross-section of the participants that would be in that Kennedy Center event.

Reagan Center event, which you referred to, is organized by the community. Let me just add a word which I had a chance to share with some of the friends from the media that, you know…and I mentioned it in my remarks…the Indian community, Indian diaspora in the United States is really one of the strongest anchors of the relationship, if you were to say. And also drives it, gives it that crucial positive substance and momentum of the relationship. And as a result, you would have noticed that Honorable Prime Minister have always given it top importance to interface with the community leaders. The settings have kept changing. The parts of the U.S. have kept changing. But the enthusiasm, the energy, the dynamism of the community is something which is very dear and is a top priority for the Honorable Prime Minister. And he makes it a point to connect with that critical segment of our relationship, which is what he would do at the Reagan Center also.

On the NATO question, which was kind of…I think our External Affairs Minister has already sort of clarified our position on this. And I think he has said this is not a template that suits us. So I don't want to add anything more to that.

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: Thank you, sir. Kallol. One second. I'll come back to you.

Kallol Bhattacherjee: Sir, Kallol Bhattacherjee from The Hindu. My question is regarding the Global South. When you held the Global South Summit earlier this year, the impression that we got was that India is the leader of the Global South.

Shri Vinay Kwatra, Foreign Secretary: When you held means?

Kallol Bhattacherjee: I mean, when you means the Government of India, that is.

Shri Vinay Kwatra, Foreign Secretary: All right. I thought when you said we to you quickly, I was a little surprised.

Kallol Bhattacherjee: The Government of India organized the Global South meeting. We got the impression that India is the leader of the Global South. Now that you are pitching for the leadership and the inclusion of the African Union in G20 and also saying that the Global South is not represented at G20, are you indicating that you don't want to shoulder the responsibility of the Global South and that you want to divide the responsibility of leading the Global South with other members?

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: Okay. Hold on. Sorry. I normally don't interrupt the question, but this one sounds more towards a thesis question. It has to be specific to Prime Minister's visit to the U.S. Maybe we'll have one response indirectly, but I'm not sure what you meant. I couldn't understand it. Parikshit.

Parikshit: Sir, on the question -- Sir Parikshit from CNBC, on the question of critical and emerging technologies, there's been some very intense negotiations between India and U.S. on semiconductors. Even the U.S. NSA had said that there will be a big announcement on chips. So could you give us a sense of one?

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: Pause. U.S. NSA said that, You're asking us. You're not asking him. Which way is this conversation?

Parikshit: I just want to ask if there is a private sector investment that will be announced and if there is a collaboration between India and U.S. on semiconductors between the industry and government, what will that entail, sir?

Abhishek Kapoor: Sir, Abhishek Kapoor from Republic TV. U.S. NSA in fact in Tokyo mentioned that in some ways the India-U.S. relationship is now more important than the U.S.-China relationship. A week before that we had Kurt Campbell, advisor on Indo-Pacific saying that the India-U.S. relationship is going to take an escape velocity. What kind of orbit we are looking at. I just wanted to understand the New Delhi view, these kind of words coming in from the U.S. establishment. Really the red carpet. How does India see the trajectory going? Is there a 10-year plan, 20-year plan?

Neeraj: Sir, Neeraj hoon News18 India se. Pradhan Mantri ke daure ke dauran Americi Rashtrapati se china aur pakistan ke sandarbh mai kin kin maslon pe charcha hogi?

[Question in Hindi: Approximate translation] Sir, I am Neeraj from News18 India. During the Prime Minister's visit, what issues will be discussed in relation to China and Pakistan with the American President?

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: Its general question. Anyway. Srinjoy, although TimesNow had a question but anyway I will give it to you.

Srinjoy Chowdhury: Sir, very specifically, will the Indo-Pacific, particularly the increasing American deployment in the South China Sea area and also in the IOR and also cross border terrorism, will those issues come up in the three meetings PM is having with President Biden?

John: Yeah, thank you for the briefing. I'm not sure I'm going to get anywhere with this but if it was possible to get the names of some of the companies whose CEOs the Prime Minister will be meeting with, that would be amazing.

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: I think, Foreign Secretary has answered that question, we'll share that with you closer to the date. It's still a few days ago but I'll let Foreign Secretary to answer. Sir, I can hand over it to you.

Shri Vinay Kwatra, Foreign Secretary: Thank you. First of all, to the question from Kallol. I think we organized. There is no you or me in this. We organized. Prime Minister hosted the Voice of Global South Summit. Look, I'll just repeat what Arindam said. I mentioned about the Global South in the G20 context and what I said was that the priorities, concerns and interests of the Global South. Prime Minister, if this issue comes up for discussion, we'll speak about those. We have spoken about those and we have spoken very extensively about those. We have tried to include as much of those priorities as we can into the G20 agenda. Naturally, we, as part of the G20 Presidency, we focus on priorities that are essentially development oriented, that fit in well with the ecosystem of developmental priorities of other countries. But having said that, we do realize that countries of the Global South have their individual concerns, interests and priorities. And it is only fair to include at least those priorities, interests and concerns where membership may not be represented in the G20 setting. That's the reference I was making to in response to the question that came up.

Parikshit, to your question on the semiconductors and what exactly it entails. Look, I will position what India and US are trying to do in the field of semiconductors, in the field of telecommunications, in the field of entire set of technologies that fall in the rubric of critical and emerging technologies, and sometimes these are not just technologies per se, they are associated services, there are associated technology templates that move with it. The entire rubric of those discussions naturally focuses on what the industry on both sides, what some of the research institutions on both sides can collaborate on. The options are extensive, the discussions are again wide and deep, and what comes out of these discussions in terms of specific achievements, as I said we will share with you as the programme of Honorable Prime Minister's visit unfolds. But one thing is very clear that the technology relationship between India and the US is a very rich segment of our partnership, and that is a segment on which we are looking to make substantial progress in months and years ahead, including focusing on some of the technologies that you mentioned, there are others also which are there, there was a tangent to the defense industrial related technologies also, which feeds into the same matrix.

Abhishek, your question on what the US NSA said, what Kurt Campbell said, what does it mean, etc. Look, it means what I said in my remarks, there is a deep and widespread interest in the Honorable Prime Minister's visit to the US, there is an extensive government-wide effort on both sides to enrich the relationship further by including some of the key areas of cooperation, technology obviously from the set of questions is featuring very prominently in that. That's what it means…it is intent, objective, interest…all comes together in a visit on which everybody is very excited.

Neeraj jaise maine pahle bhi kaha ke manniya pradhan mantri ji aur US ke rashtrapati aapas mai varta ka kya agenda rakhte hain ye toh kehna hamare liye sambhav nahi hoga, magar kshtriya aur vaishvik har woh mudda jo mahtavpurna hain dono deshon ke paripeksha mai us har mudde pe samay ki upladbhi ke unichit batchit hogi, lekin kis specific vishay pe baat hogi, ya nahi hogi woh kehna jo hain mere khayal se mushkil hoga.

[Answer in Hindi: Approximate translation] Neeraj, as I mentioned earlier, it would not be possible for me to say what specific agenda the Honorable Prime Minister and the President of the United States have for their discussions. However, issues of regional and global importance relevant to both countries will be given due attention and discussed, in accordance with the availability of time. It would be difficult for me to say whether there will be discussions on specific topics or not.

Srinjoy, your question…I will partly link to what Neeraj also asked, which is the Indo-Pacific…you referred to the cross-border terrorism issue. There are other challenges which feature in the larger safety and security domain. I would say that, as I said, when the two Leaders meet, they would obviously focus on things which are of larger strategic importance to them, whether they are in the regional context or in the global context, but that's for the leaders to decide and for them to discuss.

The question from the Financial Times, as I just mentioned earlier on also, specific meetings that the Honorable Prime Minister would have with individual CEOs and the cross-section of prominent personalities, we will share with them as they happen and what happens in those meetings.

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: So we are running out of time, we will just take few last questions.

Siddhant: Hi, sir. I'm Siddhant from CNN News 18. Sir, we have seen that when cases of separatist groups were increasing in Australia, Prime Minister had intervened and perhaps that has, you know, made the Government to act against those groups. Can we expect Prime Minister to flag off the issue of separatist groups in USA because our own Consulate was attacked and there was a temple attack in Texas. So can we have this issue being raised by the Prime Minister? Thank you.

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: Yeah. Next, please.

Manish Jha: Sir main Manish Jha hoon TV9 Bharat Varsh se. ek taraf jahan hum log dekh rahain hain ki America ki dono party ke jo congress persons hain woh khul kar Pradhan Mantri ke aane ko lekar welcome statement jari kar rahain hain. Wahin dusri taraf dekha ja raha hain ki ISI ke toolkit ke tahat khalistani protest ho sakte hain, uski taiyariya chal rahi hain, jisse PM ki security ko lekar bhi concern hain, aur Indian-American community ke sath unka clash bhi ho sakta hain, toh kya aap logon isko lekar cognizance liya hain?

[Question in Hindi: Approximate translation] Sir, I am Manish Jha from TV9 Bharat Varsh. On one hand, we are witnessing Congress members from both parties in the United States openly issuing welcome statements regarding the Prime Minister's visit. On the other hand, it is being observed that preparations are underway for potential Khalistani protests under the guise of an ISI toolkit, which raises concerns not only for the Prime Minister's security but also the possibility of clashes with the Indian-American community. Have you taken cognizance of this situation?

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: Foreign Secretary has already answered it, for security issues.

Shri Vinay Kwatra, Foreign Secretary: Jo mujhe yaad padta hain Smita ji ke prahsn ke uttar mai is particular mudde pe maine mere khayal se uchit uttar de diya hain.

[Answer in Hindi: Approximate translation] From what I remember, in response to Smita ji's question, I have given, what I believe to be an appropriate answer on this particular issue.

Shailesh: Sir, I am Shaliesh from National Defense. Sir, as Foreign Secretary I want to know your view about PM Modi's visit to US, how it could help balancing Indo-Pacific, particularly in view of the statement made by Mr. Mike Collins that China is a big enemy, and State Secretary visiting China.

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: I do think we answered the question in detail, you're not adding anything new. Okay, Huma, please.

Huma Siddiqui: Sir, I'm Huma Siddiqui from the Financial Express. Just wanted to understand how many agreements will be aimed in Egypt, and if there is any, would there be any announcement related to space and defense cooperation in the Egypt?

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: I can tell you in advance, we will not tell you right now. So, please, sir, the floor is yours for the remaining questions.

Shri Vinay Kwatra, Foreign Secretary: Okay. Now to your question on the…what you referred to, you know, in your question. I have in some ways touched upon this when I answered the question from Times Now and from Neeraj, that when the two Leaders meet, the issues of importance by them would naturally be raised and discussed.

Now, on the particular question of attack on temples, attack on the Indian Consulate, Honorable Prime Minister, and indeed, pretty much the entire operators of Government of India, has very strongly taken this up already with the concerned organizations in the countries where it took place. You referred to Australia. I can tell you that we have done that in other countries also. But I think the larger nature of challenge that underwrites such manifestations, I think that's a question which is, which the two Leaders, which will probably be among the things on the topmost minds of the two Leaders, but what two Leaders discuss, I think I would leave it to them. But the underlying intent and the goal of such attacks is something which, on which we are concerned, and we have shared those concerns very actively and very completely with the organizations of those countries, which are involved.

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: Thank you very much, sir. Thank you also, Dr. Ausaf Sayeed, as well as to Dr. Pradeep Rajpurohit. Thank you all for joining the special briefing. We will continue with our briefings as the visit unfolds. Thank you very much.


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