External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar hits out at critics of India’s import of Russian crude oil – Reuters

By PTI

NEW DELHI: If Europe manages to source oil and gas from Russia in a way that ensures the impact on its economy is not traumatic, that freedom should also exist for others, the Minister of External Affairs, S Jaishankar.

His comments during an interactive session at a conference in the Slovakian capital Bratislava came amid growing Western criticism of India’s import of cut-price Russian oil.

Today, Europe is buying oil and gas from Russia and a new sanctions package is designed to take into account the well-being of the population while deadlines have been set for reducing Russian energy imports. without immediate reduction, he said.

“People need to understand that if you can be considerate of yourself, surely you can be considerate of others,” he said.

Jaishankar was asked about reports of a nine-fold increase in Indian crude oil imports from Russia.

“If Europe is managing in a way that doesn’t impact the economy, that freedom or choice should also exist for other people. India doesn’t send people to say ‘go buy Russian oil, “buy the best oil on the market, no political message should be attached to that,” he said.

Asked about claims that India was involved in transshipping Russian oil, Jaishankar said he had not heard of anyone in India even thinking about transshipping Russian oil.

“A country like India would be crazy to get oil from someone and sell it to someone else. That’s nonsense,” he said.

To another question whether India is not financing the war from Russia by buying oil, he asked “if buying Russian gas does not finance the war”, an indirect reference to various European nations s’ supplying Moscow with gas.

He also said that if countries in Europe and the West were so worried, why weren’t they allowing Iranian and Venezuelan oil into the market.

“They pressed all the other sources of oil that we have and then said, okay guys, you don’t have to go out there and get the best deal for your people. I don’t think that’s an approach very fair,” Jaishankar said.

Asked about India’s wheat export ban, he suggested it was done to prevent diversion to high-income countries and not to give speculative traders open access to the Indian market.

Jaishankar said India exports wheat to several countries.

“But what we saw then was a sort of run on our wheat, much of it done by international traders based in Singapore and, perhaps to some extent, Dubai, and the result was low-income countries. income, many of which were our traditional buyers like neighbors Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Nepal, the Gulf regularly buys Yemen and Sudan, low-income buyers were being squeezed out,” he said.

Jaishankar said wheat was stored for exchange and in a way India’s goodwill was used for speculative purposes.

“So we had to do something to stop that. Prevent diversion to high-income countries with greater opportunity to buy like with vaccines,” he said.

Jaishankar said the decision was necessary so as not to give speculators open access to the Indian market for Indian customers and less developed countries to source.

He said India is always open to supply wheat to any deserving country.

Shirlene J. Manley