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EAM S Jaishankar calls out Europe’s duplicity on Russian energy purchase and pressure on India, calls WSJ report false

When asked if India is funding the war against Ukraine by buying Russian oil, S Jaishankar why it is not said that Europe is funding the invasion by buying Russian gas

External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar responded to concerns about India’s position in the Russian-Ukrainian conflict and the global order during a talk at GLOBSEC 2022 on Thursday. When asked about the Indian stand in the ongoing conflict, Dr Jaishankar stated that Europe must evolve out of the idea that its issues are international problems, but world problems are not Europe’s concerns.

“Europe has to grow out of the mindset that its problems are world’s problems, but world’s problems aren’t Europe’s problems. Today linkages are being made between China & India and what is happening in Ukraine. Come on guys, China & India happened way before Ukraine. It’s not a clever argument,” Jaishankar said.

On being asked about if India would join the US-led axis or China as another potential axis in the world, Dr Jaishankar said, “Don’t think it’s necessary for India to join any axis. India is entitled to make its own choices which will be a balance of its values & interests.”

He further reiterated that India is perfectly capable of handling the situation with China. He said, “If I get a global understanding & support it will be of help. But this idea that I do a transaction, I come in one conflict, because it will help in another conflict, that is not how the world works.”

Referring to the war between Russia and Ukraine and India not aligning either side, he emphasised that India’s foreign policy is not on the fence just because its policies may not be acceptable to other countries. He said, “I am not sitting on the fence just because I don’t agree with you. It means I am sitting on my ground. My ground is actually.. what are the big challenges, climate change, terrorism…”

When questioned if India’s purchase of Russian oil is financing the ongoing conflict, Jaishankar responded, “Tell me buying Russian gas is not funding the war? It’s only Indian money that funds, it’s not gas coming to Europe that funds. Let’s be a little even-handed out here.”

Pointing out and slamming the hypocrisy of the west over the issue, Jaishankar further said, “Look the whole narrative, it has gone up 9 times, it has gone up from a very low base…if countries from the West, Europe, US 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.”

Dr Jaishankar also denied any truth in the report by the Wall Street Journal that India is readying for the transhipment of Russian oil to bypass sanctions. When asked by the Interviewer that if WSJ is inaccurate, Dr Jaishankar replied, “Politely, yes. I can say less politely.”

The WSJ report had claimed that India has emerged as a key hub for trade of Russian oil, claiming that Indian refinery companies are buying cheap Russian oil and selling it in international market after refining on ship to ship basis, hiding the origin of the crude. The report had even claimed that Reliance chartered a tanker to transport alkylate from Sikka port on April 21, and on May 22 the cargo was unloaded in New York. Quoting an analyst, the report claimed that the company refined the product in India and sold in US, adding that other Indian oil companies are also doing the same. “It does look like there’s a trade where Russian crude is refined in India and then some of it is sold to the US,” it had said.

However, Indian refinery companies had already rejected the claims, saying it was a hit job on on successful Indian refining industry. They also pointed out there’s no sanction on Russian oil and gas.

Dr Jaishankar also debunked all claims about the wheat export ban. He said, “I don’t think people understand, because they are not tracking the trade. We have been exporting wheat but then we saw run on our wheat, large part by international traders based in Singapore and UAE.”

He said that low-income countries were being squeezed out. “What we saw is that low-income countries were being squeezed out. It was being stocked. Our goodwill was used for speculation. We will not give speculators open access to the Indian market… like what we saw happening with vaccines, we don’t want to see for wheat. Which is rich people getting vaccinated,” Dr Jaishankar mentioned, adding that India has exported wheat to 23 countries this year.

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

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