Proceedings of Parliamentary panel is confidential: MEA

New Delhi, Oct 20 (IANS) The Ministry of External Affairs on Thursday declined to comment on the Foreign Secretary’s briefing to the parliamentary committee on last month’s surgical strikes across the Line of Control.

Answering multiple questions on the Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar’s briefing to the Parliamentary Committee on External Affairs on the surgical strikes conducted by Indian army on the intervening night of September 28 and 29, spokesperson Vikas Swarup said, “Proceedings of the parliamentary standing committee are confidential. It would not be appropriate for me to comment on it.”

Adding he said, “Indian position on the surgical strikes was made very clearly and very categorically by the Director General of Military Operations from this very podium on September 29.”

Jaishanker briefed the Parliamentary committee on October 18 on the surgical strikes conducted by Indian army across the line of control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir on terrorist launch pads.

Media reports said that Jaishankar told the parliamentary committee that India had in the past too conducted similar strikes across the LoC.

Replying to a query on the issue of terrorism in the BRICS declaration, Swarup said that the world terror features some 37 times in the declaration and there was unprecedented condemnation of terrorism.

He said that for the first time BRICS has called all states to prevent terror action from their territory. BRICS also agreed that religion is no justification for terrorism.

BRICS also realised the growing nexus between weapons of mass destruction and terrorism. This was the strongest ever declaration of BRICS on terrorism, he said.

Asked about the reported disagreement between India and China on describing Pakistan as the mother ship of terrorism, Swarup said, “We are all aware that in our region which country is the epicentre of terrorism.”

India and China have ongoing dialogue on countering terrorism which is a phenomenon that affects China as well and China has said so in the past. So India’s dialogue with China on the issue of terrorism will continue. In the coming two months number of dialogue mechanisms are scheduled to happen with China on this issue, he added.

Swarup also informed that the Indian Deputy High Commissioner in Islamabad was summoned by the Pakistan Foreign Office on Thursday and Pakistan conveyed its concerns about alleged ceasefire violations. But the Indian understanding is that there was an exchange of fire connected with attempt of infiltration on the Pakistani side, he added.

Vikas Swarup informed that India has not banned content from Pakistan on Indian media. He termed the Pakistani ban as unfortunate and said it shows lack of confidence on part of Pakistan.