Home / News / India /  Jaishankar defends India on Russian oil import, says ‘campaign against India’
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India on Thursday defended its decision to look for "good deals" for its energy requirement amid volatility in the market, while pointing out that Europe has been a major buyer of Russian oil and gas even after the crisis in Ukraine unfolded.

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar made the remarks in the presence of visiting British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss at the India-UK Strategic Futures Forum, shortly after holding extensive talks with her on a range of issues, including the situation in Ukraine.

"When the oil prices go up, I think it is natural for countries to go out into the market and look for what are the good deals for their people," Jaishankar said.

"But I am pretty sure if we wait for two or three months and actually look at who are the big buyers of Russian oil and gas, I suspect the list would not be too different from what it used to be and I suspect we won't be in the top 10 on that list," he said.

Jaishankar's comments came on a day Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov arrived in India on a two-day visit.

The visit by Truss to India on Thursday came amid increasing disquiet in the western capitals over India not criticising Russia for its attack on Ukraine and its decision to buy discounted Russian crude oil.

Severely critical of Moscow's invasion of Ukraine, Truss said at the India-UK forum that her country will end its dependence on Russian oil by the year-end and added that India is a sovereign nation and she is not going to tell it what to do.

She was asked at the forum to comment on India's decision to buy discounted oil from Russia.

"It is interesting because we have seen for some time what looks almost like a campaign on this issue. I was reading a report today that in March, Europe has bought, I think, 15 per cent more oil and gas from Russia than it did the month before," Jaishankar responded.

"If you look at the major buyers of oil and gas from Russia, I think you will find most of them are in Europe," he added.

Jaishankar said India gets the bulk of its energy supplies from the Middle-East and around 7.5 to 8 per cent from the US, while the procurement from Russia in the past was less than one per cent.

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