External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, who is in Thailand for the 9th India-Thailand Joint Commission Meeting, defended India’s crude oil imports from Russia, calling them the country’s “best bargain.”
Addressing the Indian community in Bangkok, he discussed the surge in energy prices across the world due to the Russia-Ukraine war and said, “We have been very open and honest about our interest. I have a country with a per capita income of USD 2000, these are not people who can afford higher energy prices. It’s my moral duty to ensure the best deal.” During his assessment of global oil prices, Jaishankar said that oil and gas prices are unreasonably high throughout the world.
According to him, Europe was buying more oil from Middle Eastern nations, who were traditionally Asia’s suppliers, but it was now being transferred to Europe.
He also said that the US knows India’s position on Russian oil import and has “moved on”, adding that in such circumstances “India is open about its interests, wants the best deal.”
This is not the first time Jaishankar has defended India’s interests on a global scale; earlier this year, at the GLOBSEC 2022 Bratislava Forum in Slovakia, he reacted to unwarranted criticism of India’s oil purchases from Russia.
While defending India’s Russian oil imports, Jaishankar emphasised the need of understanding how the Ukraine war affects poor nations. He further questioned why only India was being investigated when Europe continued to receive Russian gas despite the Ukraine conflict.
Responding to a question on whether India’s oil imports from Russia are not funding the Ukraine war, Jaishankar asked, “India buying Russia oil is funding the war… Tell me is that buying Russian gas not funding the war?”
“It’s only Indian money and Russian oil coming to India funding the war and not Russia’s gas coming to Europe not funding? Let’s be a little even-handed,” the external affairs minister had said.
Meanwhile, EAM Jaishankar also listed India’s soft powers – Yoga, Ayurveda, and Millets.
He also stated that the Commonwealth is a “valuable” organisation that provides India with a “connection” to the Caribbean and Pacific.
Today, Jaishankar will meet with his Thai colleague, Don Pramudwinai, in Bangkok.
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