The central government has passed a new directive, making it mandatory for academicians, professors, scientists and doctors from public-funded universities and institutes to seek prior approval from the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) for hosting virtual international seminars that are centred around India’s ‘internal matters’.
Besides, the names of all participants in such seminars will have to be approved in advance by the government. According to the new directive, an administrative secretary’s approval will be necessary for government officials/scientists/doctors participating in virtual international conferences.
The circular issued by the Ministry of Education, cites all events related to security of state, border, J&K issues, which are clearly related to India’s internal matters, or sensitive in nature and belonging to political, scientific, technical, commercial or personal fields with provisions of sharing data will need MEA’s permission.
The notification also asked the institutes to share link to the online event while seeking approval out after getting approval for the seminars. The guidelines asks organisations to share details by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, adding that this also applies to webinars and programmes having foreign funding or sponsorship.
It is pertinent to note that online seminars and conferences has lately been a propaganda instrument for anti-India forces, who participate in the online programmes with the express purpose of undermining India by peddling lies and falsehoods against the country and the government.
Govt advises against using platforms and apps “hostile to India”
The ministry’s circular, dated January 15, was grounded in an earlier directive issued by the MEA on 25 November 2020. It has also advised institutions against using platforms and applications controlled and owned by countries or organisations inimical to India.
Seeking permission to participate in online seminars akin to applying for conference visas
Traditionally, prior approval has been required by the Home Ministry or MEA for a small set of seminars and international conferences organised in India, particularly those which involve foreign participants coming to the country on conference visa.
Events that see participation from guests from Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan and China are watched over closely.
The revised guidelines extend the rules to online seminars and conferences that don’t involve foreigners entering India physically. This is akin to creating a visa system for online participation of people belonging to other countries in seminars and conferences organised on digital platforms.
Participation of state ministers and govt officials
The new guidelines also provide a provision for state government ministers and government officials, doctors, scientists of the rank of JS and above, who wish to take part in any online international conferences and seminars. For such officials, they need to first seek approval from the MEA for participating in such online events.