Nirmala Sitharaman speaks on India-US ties: ‘Can choose a friend, not neighbour…’
23 April, 2022 | Riya Girdhar
Nirmala Sitharaman, India's finance minister, remarked about India's purchase of oil and arms from Russia during the Ukraine conflict.
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, who is in the United States this week, spoke on the Washington-New Delhi relationship in the context of India’s geography on Friday, emphasising that ” You can choose your friend but not your neighbour.” Her remarks came in the context of queries about India’s purchases of weaponry and oil from Russia, which has been subjected to international sanctions as a result of the Ukraine conflict.
In a video posted on Twitter by news agency ANI, the 62-year-old leader says in response to a question: “Every bettering of relationship with the US… there is a recognition that there is a friend there but the friend’s geographical location is to be understood. And a friend can’t be weakened for any reason. We have to understand the geographical location. The northern borders are at tension… the western borders are at odds…and there’s Afghanistan… It’s not like India has a choice to relocate.”
In a video posted on Twitter by news agency ANI, the 62-year-old leader says in response to a question:
One of the issues discussed during the press briefing was Russia’s energy dependence, which has been a continuous worry for the West during the Ukraine conflict “In our energy basket which is largely from the Middle East, somewhat from the US…the portion that comes from the Russian Federation is not so much that it’s going to upset us. The portion of crude coming from Russia is not more than 3-4 per cent.”
Prime Minister Narendra Modi indicated earlier this month that if the WTO allows it, India can sell foodgrains to the rest of the globe. Sitharaman reiterated her statements on Friday.