LAC situation, app ban and Italian marines: excerpts from today's External Affairs Ministry briefing

Indian soldiers walk at the foothills of a mountain range near Leh, the joint capital of the union territory of Ladakh, on June 25, 2020.

Indian soldiers walk at the foothills of a mountain range near Leh, the joint capital of the union territory of Ladakh, on June 25, 2020.   | Photo Credit: AFP

Anurag Srivastava, spokesman of the External Affairs Ministry, held a “virtual” briefing for journalists on Thursday, July 2. Here are key portions of Mr. Srivastava’s briefing, as released by the Ministry:

Portion of transcript on the situation along the LAC and current status of talks

As you are aware, India and China have been having discussions through established diplomatic and military channels to address the situation along the LAC in India-China border areas. The Senior Commanders of two sides had met on 6th June, 22nd June and on 30th June. Diplomatic engagements are also continuing in parallel and last week on 24th June a meeting of the Working Mechanism for Consultation & Coordination on India-China Border Affairs (WMCC) was also held.

The Senior Commanders Meeting held on 30th June at Chushul was the third senior military commander level engagement to discuss issues related to disengagement at the faceoff sites along the LAC and de-escalation from the border areas.

Also read: Ladakh face-off | India, China agree to hold more talks

Both sides have emphasised the need for an expeditious, phased and step wise de-escalation as a priority. This is in keeping with the Agreement between External Affairs Ministers and his Chinese counterpart during their conversation on 17th June that the overall situation would be handled in a responsible manner, and that both sides would implement the disengagement understanding of 6 June sincerely. The discussions in the latest meeting of the Senior Commanders reflected the commitment of both sides to reduce the tensions along the LAC.

The two sides will continue their meetings both at the military and diplomatic level including under the framework of WMCC, in the future to resolve the issues to mutual satisfaction. We expect the Chinese side to sincerely follow up and ensure the expeditious restoration of peace and tranquility in the border areas as per bilateral agreements and protocols.

Portion of transcript on banning of apps

While I would like to refer you to the concerned Ministry on the specifics of this question, what I would like to point out is that India has one of the most open regimes in the world for attracting Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). In the last few years Government has taken a host of measures for creating of a more investor-friendly regime. Similarly in the area of digital technology and internet, India has adopted a very open regime. India is today one of the world’s largest markets for digital and internet technologies with more than 680 million subscribers. The world’s largest software and internet applications companies are present in India. Naturally while operating in India they have to abide by our rules and regulations issued by the relevant Ministries and Departments, including those pertaining to data security and privacy of individual data. While we will continue to welcome foreign investments in India, including in the area of internet technologies, but this will have to be in accordance with the rules and regulatory framework established by the Government.

Also read: China apps ban | PM Modi quits Weibo

Portion of transcript on the decision of Arbitral Tribunal relating to Italian tanker “Enrica Lexie”

The Arbitral Tribunal constituted under Annex VII of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) on 26 June 2015 on the request of Italy in respect of a dispute concerning the incident of 15 February 2012 involving Italian tanker “Enrica Lexie” and Indian fishing vessel “St. Antony” has transmitted its award. The main elements of the award are as follows:

Also read; Italian marines case | India loses jurisdiction

• The Tribunal upheld the conduct of the Indian authorities with respect to the incident under the provisions of the UNCLOS. It held that the actions of the Italian military officers and, consequently, Italy breached India’s freedom of navigation under UNCLOS Article 87(1)(a) and 90.

• The Tribunal observed that India and Italy had concurrent jurisdiction over the incident and a valid legal basis to institute criminal proceedings against the Marines. The Tribunal rejected Italy’s claim to compensation for the detention of the Marines. However, it found that the immunities enjoyed by the Marines as State officials operate as an exception to the jurisdiction of the Indian courts and, hence, preclude them to judge the Marines.

• The Tribunal took note of the commitment expressed by Italy to resume its criminal investigation into the events of 15 February 2012.

• The Tribunal decided that India is entitled to payment of compensation in connection with loss of life, physical harm, material damage to property and moral harm suffered by the captain and other crew members of “St. Antony".

The Tribunal also held that the Parties are invited to consult with each other with a view to reaching agreement on the amount of compensation due to India. The Tribunal also decided that it shall retain jurisdiction should either Party or both Parties wish to apply for a ruling from the Arbitral Tribunal in respect of the quantification of compensation due to India.

India has taken note of the Award and will be in touch with relevant entities on the matter.

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Printable version | Aug 4, 2020 10:15:38 AM |

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