New Delhi: India on Thursday lashed out at Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan for his sarcastic offer to help India and share Pakistan's 'cash transfer programme' and pointed out that the Indian stimulus package during Covid19 is "as large as Pakistan's annual GDP".
MEA spokesman Anurag Srivastava also said that progress was being made at the discussions between India and China on the border issue and that no country including the US has any locus standi (as a foreign entity) to pronounce comments on the state of citizens' constitutionally protected rights in India.
"Pakistan is better known for making cash transfers to bank accounts outside the country rather than giving to its people. Imran Khan needs a new set of advisers and better information," MEA spokesman Anurag Srivastava told reporters here at the weekly briefing.
He also said - "We all know about their debt problem (almost 90% of GDP) and how much they have pressed for debt restructuring. It would also be better for them (Pakistani authorities) to remember that India has a stimulus package, which is as large as Pakistan's annual GDP".
The strong reactions from the Ministry of External Affairs come hours after Imran Khan "offered" to help India in mimicking his direct cash transfer, based on a report claiming that '84 % Indian households suffered monthly income decrease'.
Khan's frustration vis-a-vis pressure on him in related to Indo-Pak relations could be easily gauged from the fact that the study report the Pakistan Prime Minister refers is based on data from the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE) that was published on May 12. On the same day, PM Narendra Modi had announced the Rs 20 lakh crore 'Atmanirbhar Bharat' package to kickstart the Indian economy and also announced a series of second-generation economic reforms.
About discussions between India and China at the military level, MEA said - "As you are aware, a meeting was held between the Corps Commanders of India and China on June 6, 2020, in the Chushul-Moldo region. This meeting was in continuation of the diplomatic and military engagements which both sides have maintained to address the situation in areas along the India-China border."
"It was agreed that an early resolution of the situation would be in keeping with the guidance of the leaders".
He further said the two sides are, therefore, maintaining their military and diplomatic engagements to peacefully resolve the situation at the earliest as also to ensure peace and tranquillity in the border areas. "This is essential for the further development of Indian-China bilateral relations," the spokesman said.
With regard, India-Nepal ties and current issues, MEA spokesman said: "We have already made our position clear on these issues. India deeply values its civilisation, cultural and friendly relations with Nepal. Our multi-faceted bilateral partnership has expanded and diversified in recent years with increased focus and enhanced Government of India's assistance on humanitarian, development and connectivity projects in Nepal".
Srivastava pointed out that India has been reaching out to "friendly neighbouring countries including Nepal, in line with Prime Minister's initiative to chart out a common strategy" to combat COVID-19 in the region.
"India has extended all possible technical, medical and humanitarian assistance to Nepal. We have supplied about 25 tonnes of medical aid to Nepal including Paracetamol and hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) medicines, test kits and other medical supplies. Government of India has also ensured that there is no untoward disruption in trade and supply of essential goods to Nepal, despite the lockdown on both sides," he said.
India has also helped in the repatriation of Nepalese nationals stranded abroad on humanitarian grounds, he said.
With regard a report on international religious freedom for 2019 published by the United States department of state, the MEA spokesman said: "The report is published annually by the US Department of State as part of its legal requirement to the US Congress and is an internal document of the US government".
He said: "India's vibrant democratic traditions and practices are evident to the world. The people and government of India are proud of our country's democratic traditions. We have a robust public discourse in India and constitutionally mandated institutions that guarantee the protection of religious freedom and "the rule of law.
Srivastava said - "Our principled position remains that we see no locus standi for a foreign entity to pronounce on the state of our citizens' constitutionally protected rights".
Meanwhile, as reported in 'Organiser', External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar in a letter to BJP MP Nishikant Dubey asserted that India "will not accept any external interference or pronouncement on matters related to our sovereignty and the fundamental rights of our citizens that are guaranteed by the Constitution."
MEA spokesman Srivastava on April 28 said - "We reject the observations on India in the USCIRF Annual Report. Its biased and tendentious comments against India are not new. But on this occasion, its misrepresentation has reached new levels. It has not been able to carry its Commissioners in its endeavour. We regard it as an organisation of particular concern and will treat it accordingly."
Dr Jaishankar has also said in his letter- "We have also denied a visa to USCIRF teams that have sought to visit India in connection with issues related to religious freedom, as we do not see the locus standi of a foreign entity like USCIRF to pronounce on the state of Indian citizens constitutionally protected rights".
"We do not take cognisance of these pronouncements and have repudiated such attempts to misrepresent information related to India," the minister wrote.