Jaishankar at GLOBSEC 2022 Forum defends India for oil imports from Russia

5 June, 2022 | Pravina Srivastava

Jaishankar has retaliated against unfair criticism of India's oil purchases from Russia in the midst of the Ukraine conflict

S Jaishankar, India’s External Affairs Minister, has retaliated against unfair criticism of India’s oil purchases from Russia in the midst of the Ukraine conflict, which has had a knock-on effect on the global economy.

While defending India’s Russian oil imports, Jaishankar emphasized the importance of understanding how the Ukraine war affects developing countries. He also wondered why only India was being investigated when Europe continued to import Russian gas despite the Ukraine conflict.

In response to a query on whether India’s oil imports from Russia are fueling the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, Jaishankar stated, “I don’t want to come out as a snob. If India is subsidizing Russia’s oil, then the conflict is being funded… So you’re saying that buying Russian gas isn’t funding the war? Is it true that only Indian money and Russian oil flowing into India fund the war, while Russian gas flowing into Europe does not? Let’s try to be a little more fair.”

These remarks were given by Jaishankar at the GLOBSEC 2022 Bratislava Forum in Slovakia, which focused on ‘Taking Friendship to the Next Level: Allies in the Indo-Pacific Region.’

Jaishankar further stated that the European Union’s sanctions packages are enforced with the interests of particular European nations in mind.

“Europe is purchasing oil, Europe is buying gas…a new package of sanctions has been crafted with the welfare of the public in mind, pipelines have carveouts…if you can be considerate to yourself, you can be considerate to others. If Europe declares that freedom should exist for other people as well, and that we must manage it in such a way that the impact on the economy is minimal” he stated.

Jaishankar also discussed how the increase in Indian oil purchases is being marketed without taking into account the prior imports’ low base.

“Look at the whole story, it’s gone up nine times, it’s gone up from a very low base…if countries in the West, Europe, and the United States are so concerned, why don’t they allow Iranian oil to come to the market, why don’t they allow Venezuelan oil to come to the market?” EAM added.

India, according to Jaishankar, handled the COVID pandemic with caution and is now “essentially out of COVID with a strong sense of economic recovery.”

In response to a question on India’s position following the arduous and tumultuous COVID period, Jaishankar stated, “COVID is essentially gone, but it never completely vanishes. However, we have emerged from COVID with a strong feeling of economic recovery. We handled it with caution and economy.”

EAM also recounted how, under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s leadership, the Indian government not only maintained the economy during the pandemic, but also leapfrogged in several areas, including digital reconstruction.

India’s External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar is on a tour to Slovakia and the Czech Republic to further strengthen bilateral ties with the two Central European countries.