In response to Josep Borrell, European Union Foreign Policy Chief's remarks calling for action against Indian refined products from Russian crude, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Tuesday, May 16 advised him to look at EU Council regulations.
“Look at EU Council regulations, Russian crude is substantially transformed in the third country and not treated as Russian anymore. I would urge you to look at Council’s Regulation 833/2014,” said Jaishankar.
Jaishankar's advise comes after the bloc’s chief diplomat earlier mentioned the EU should crack down on India reselling Russian oil as refined fuels including diesel into Europe as Western nations move to tighten sanctions on Moscow’s energy sector.
“India buys Russian oil, it’s normal… ” said EU’s Foreign policy Chief Borrell but wants the bloc to act on refined products coming from India-made Russian crude in an interview with media.
Notably, Borrell met with the EAM at the trade technology talks in Brussels, he was not present at the press conference that followed.
A warm and cordial meeting with EU HR VP @JosepBorrellF. Appreciate his hosting the Ministerial delegation from India.— Dr. S. Jaishankar (@DrSJaishankar) May 16, 2023
A good discussion on the TTC, G20, Voice of Global South, Ukraine, and the Indo-Pacific.
Such exchanges strengthen our strategic partnership. pic.twitter.com/t25lY5lt6q
In his place, EU Executive Vice President on Competition, Margrethe Vestager said that there was “no doubt about the legal basis of the sanctions”, and that the EU and India would have the discussion as “friends… with an extended hand and of course, not a pointed finger.”
Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal, Union Minister of State for Entrepreneurship, Skill Development, Electronics, and Technology Rajeev Chandrasekhar were also present along with the External Affairs Minister in the meeting. Taking to Twitter, Josep Borell said, "It was an honour to host S Jaishankar, Piyush Goyal, and Rajeev Chandrasekhar for substantial and frank discussions on foreign policy priorities, our geostrategic environment, G20 and our joint interest to explore the potential for untapped EU-India cooperation."
Ahead of the EU-India TTC Ministerial, it was an honour to host @DrSJaishankar @PiushGoyal @Rajeev_GoI for substantial & frank discussions on foreign policy priorities, our geostrategic environment, @G20 & our joint interest to explore the potential for untapped EU-India cooperation. pic.twitter.com/wh0zL5rfq1— Josep Borrell Fontelles (@JosepBorrellF) May 16, 2023
Jaishankar on Monday arrived in Brussels for the last leg of his three-nation visit covering Bangladesh, Sweden, and Belgium.
Earlier, Jaishankar had defended India’s imports from Russia while indirectly criticising the West for pressurising New Delhi to minimise its trade with Russia given its military action in Ukraine. He wondered how Europe could make choices to prioritise its own energy needs and at the same time ask India to do something else.
“Our trade with Russia is at a very small level- USD 12-13 billion, in comparison to European countries. We’ve also given the Russians a set of products… I don’t think people should read more into it other than the legitimate expectations of any trading country to increase its trade,” the EAM said earlier in December while addressing a joint press conference with his German counterpart Annalena Baerbock.
“I would urge you to look at these figures. There is a website called ‘Russia Fossil Fuel Tracker’ that would give you country-by-country data of who is really importing what and I suspect that might be very very helpful,” he added.