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Business News/ News / World/  ‘Russia never hurt our interests’: EAM Jaishankar defends India's ‘stable and friendly’ ties with Moscow

‘Russia never hurt our interests’: EAM Jaishankar defends India's ‘stable and friendly’ ties with Moscow

Jaishankar reaffirms India's friendly ties with Russia and justifies the continued purchase of Russian oil despite global tensions. He highlights the need for independent foreign policy decisions and stable energy supplies amidst geopolitical challenges.

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar (S Jaishankar X)Premium
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar (S Jaishankar X)

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, in an interview with a German economic daily, Handelsblatt, has said that many Western countries used to supply arms to Pakistan and not India, adding that the trend has changed in the past decade.

Jaishankar reaffirmed India's "stable and friendly ties" with Russia and said Moscow has never hurt the interests of New Delhi. India-Russia ties have been under scrutiny since Russian president Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine in February 2022, triggering weapons aid for Kyiv from the West, and financial sanctions by the United States and Europe, including those on the purchase of Russian crude oil

India, however, has continued its purchases from Russia, at sizeable discounts, to feed an oil-hungry economy.

Recently, Jaishankar travelled to Germany to attend the Munich Security Conference. Speaking at a panel discussion alongside US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock, Jaishankar said it was hard to have a unidimensional relationship in the contemporary world.

On Purchasing Russian Oil

On being asked about India purchasing Russian oil, Jaishankar said, "Everyone conducts a relationship based on their past experiences. If I look at the history of India post-independence, Russia has never hurt our interests."

"The relations of powers like Europe, the US, China or Japan with Russia, they have all seen ups and downs. We have had a stable and always very friendly relationship with Russia. And our relationship with Russia today is based on this experience. For others, things were different, and conflicts may have shaped the relationship. We, on the other hand, had a politically and militarily much more difficult relationship with China, for example," he added.

UAE prioritized Europe for oil purchase: Jaishankar

Jaishankar said that he sees no alternative to buying Russian crude oil. He said that Europe shifted a large part of its energy procurement to Middle East after the war erupted between Russia and Ukraine, which was until then the main supplier of energy for India and other nations.

"What should we have done? In many cases, our Middle East suppliers gave priority to Europe because Europe paid higher prices. Either we would have had no energy because everything would have gone to them. Or we would have ended up paying a lot more because you were paying more. And in a certain way, we stabilized the energy market that way," he added.

On ties with Russia

Jaishankar said that India doesn't expect Europe to have a New Delhi-centric view of China and Europe should also understand that India won't move with the European view of Russia.

"My point is: just as I do not expect Europe to have a view of China that is identical to mine, Europe should understand that I cannot have a view of Russia that is identical to the European one. Let us accept that there are natural differences in relationships," he said.

On Infrastructural imbalance in Supply

Jaishankar said that many Western countries used to supply arms to Pakistan and not India, adding that the trend has changed in the past decade.

"In terms of inventory, yes, because many Western countries have long preferred to supply Pakistan and not India. But that has changed in the past ten or fifteen years with the USA, for example, and our new purchases have diversified with the USA, Russia, France and Israel as the main suppliers," he said.

EAM Jaishankar highlighted the infrastructural imbalance of supply chains in the world and said that the world's economic model is unstable and unfair.

"The world has created an economic model that is unstable and unfair. In the name of globalization, we have seen over-concentration in the world. Production has been shifted to a limited number of countries. The economies of many countries have been hollowed out," EAM Jaishankar said.



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Published: 20 Feb 2024, 04:18 PM IST
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