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Updated February 20th, 2024 at 20:39 IST

'Based on Past Experiences': EAM Jaishankar Defends India's Decision to Buy Oil From Russia

Reiterating India's ties with Russia, EAM Dr S. Jaishankar emphasised nations around the world conduct their relationship based on their past experiences.

Reported by: Bhagyasree Sengupta
Jaishankar
Minister of External Affairs Dr. S Jaishankar. | Image:PTI
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Munich – Reiterating India's ties with Russia, External Affairs Minister Dr S. Jaishankar emphasised nations around the world conduct their relationship based on their past experiences. The proclamation from the veteran diplomat came during his interview with the German economic daily, Handelsblatt. According to the statement released by the Ministry of External Affairs, the interview was conducted on the sideline of the Security Conference which is currently being held in Munich. In a thought-provoking conversation, the External Affairs Minister reaffirmed India's stance on buying Russian oil despite the international sanctions imposed by Moscow. 

“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, have all seen ups and downs,” the External Affairs Minister averred when he was asked if the Russian oil trade and Indo-Russia relations are a burden on the India-Europe relationship. “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. 

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The journalist went on to interject the veteran diplomat and posed another question on whether India would support Europe if the continent had a broader conflict with China. In response to this, the EAM emphasised that he does not expect Europe's outlook towards China to be identical to that of India's outlook towards its Asian neighbour. “My point is that 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 added.

Jaishankar elucidates how India stabilised energy markets by purchasing oil from Russia

When asked if India's relations with Russia can put a strain on India-Europe relations, Jaishankar highlighted that India actually played a crucial role in stabilising energy market prices. “Both sides have communicated their positions clearly and have not emphasized their differences. But yes, there are differences. You mentioned the energy issue. When the fighting started in Ukraine, Europe shifted a large part of its energy procurement to the Middle East - until then the main supplier for India and other countries,” the External Affairs Minister averred. "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 furthered. 

The veteran diplomat went on to explain that if no country had brought crude oil from other countries the energy prices would have shot up which would have also led to a rise in inflation. “If no one had bought the crude oil from Russia and everyone had bought the crude oil from other countries, prices on the energy market would have shot up even further. Global inflation would have been much higher - and that would have been a huge political issue in lower-income countries,” he explained. 

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Published February 20th, 2024 at 20:39 IST

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