POLITICS

Vikas Swarup Calls Pakistan's Ban On Indian TV, Radio Programmes 'Unfortunate'

"We are all aware that in our region, which country is epicentre of terrorism."

21/10/2016 9:47 AM IST | Updated 21/10/2016 9:55 AM IST
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File photo of official spokesperson and Joint Secretary of Ministry of external affairs (MEA), Vikas Swarup, addressing the media on Pakistan issues in New Delhi.

NEW DELHI -- India today termed as unfortunate Pakistan's ban on Indian TV and radio programmes and said it reflected the neighbouring country's lack of self-confidence.

"It shows lack of self-confidence on Pakistan's part. It is an unfortunate development," Spokesperson in the Ministry of External Affairs Vikas Swarup said, replying to a question.

Amid Indo-Pak tensions, Pakistan's media regulatory authority on Wednesday announced enforcing a complete ban on Indian TV and radio contents from Friday and warned that the licences of those found guilty of violating the ban will be suspended.

The ban extends to all Indian content on cable and radio being aired in Pakistan. The authority also decided to cancel one-sided rights given to Indian media by the government of former military dictator Pervez Musharraf in 2006.

Swarup said there was no ban on Pakistani artistes' performing in India.

"As far as government of India is concerned, there is no blanket ban on Pakistani artistes. In view of the prevailing atmosphere and taking into account security considerations as well and sentiments of local organisers, we will do so in a case to case basis," he said, in an apparent reference to demand for banning artistes from Pakistan in the wake of the Uri attack.

Asked whether the government was planning to have a SAARC minus Pakistan, Swarup said India remained committed to the regional bloc and its principles.

"Our intention is not to throw out the baby with the bath water," he said, adding the government's priority is to promote closer cooperation and economic integration in our region.

"Our interest in SAARC remains intact but our concern is that connectivity, trade, including MFN and cooperation that SAARC requires and the terror-free atmosphere needed for these initiatives is not there due to the actions of one country in our neighbourhood.

"That is why all SAARC countries wrote to the Chair Nepal saying in one voice that in the current atmosphere it is not possible to participate in the proposed SAARC Summit in Islamabad," he said.

On China's view that no country or religion should be linked to terrorism, in apparent unhappiness over India trying to corner pakistan on terror, the MEA Spokesperson said it is clear which country is the epicentre of terror in the region.

"We are all aware that in our region, which country is epicentre of terrorism. There is no doubt about it at all. At the same time, we do have an ongoing dialogue with China on terrorism which is a phenomenon that affects China as well and China has said so also in the past," he said.

Swarup said dialogue with China on the issue of terrorism will continue, adding a series of discussions with China will take place in the next two months.

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