MEA denies Delhi govt delegation permission to visit Aus

NEW DELHI: The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has outright denied permission to a Delhi government delegation for visiting Australia on the invitation of the University of Melbourne and George Institute in Sydney.

The delegation, led by Delhi Health Minister Satyender Jain, was scheduled to participate in a dialogue on 'Mohalla Clinics and the Health Revolution of Delhi' with the government of the Australian state of Victoria.

Sources in the Aam Aadmi Party-led Delhi government on Saturday said that the application for political clearance to visit Australia was denied, as stated in an email by the MEA, "from the political angle".

Responding to the development, Jain said, "I would like to know the exact reason behind the MEA's 'political angle'. The BJP-led Union government has once again shown how much they fear the good work of AAP and how they don't want the good work to be showcased."

The Delhi government delegation was supposed to see the functioning of health facilities and visit the George Institute of Global Health, Sydney to learn best practices in public health.

The University of Melbourne was scheduled to host a dialogue on health and its diverse aspects, with representatives of the Health Department of Delhi government and the government of Victoria, to explore the possibilities of engagement in the field of public health and universal health care on November 26 and 27.

Jain was supposed to share and discuss the acclaimed concept of Delhi's Aam Aadmi Mohalla Clinics and deliver a lecture on the health care initiatives taken by his government, as well as share experiences of launching extensive universal healthcare reforms in national Capital.

Other public health issues like dengue and possible solutions with the help of latest health care technologies developed by scientists in Australia were also to be discussed.

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal also took to Twitter to ask as to why the Centre denied permission. "What is the political angle?" he asked.

AAP MLA Saurabh Bharadwaj shared a screenshot of a email sent by the MEA which stated that the political clearance was denied.

"Modi Govt is so petty that they denied permission to Delhi Health Minister for his visit to Australian Universities to talk about Muholla Clinics & Health revolution in Delhi. Permission Denied due to Political Angle - official response of Central Govt of India," Bharadwaj said on Twitter.

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