India’s External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Friday defended the country’s decision to buy oil from Russia amid the war in Ukraine. Speaking at Globsec 2022 Bratislava forum, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said, “We don’t send people to buy Russian oil, we send people to buy oil in the market, buy the best oil.”
Jaishankar also highlighted Europe’s continued purchase of gas from Russia. “Buying Russian gas is not funding the war, why it’s only Indian money and fund coming from India and not gas coming to Europe which funds war, let’s be even-handed out here,” he said in response to a question.
External Affairs Minister also commented and explained why import of crude oil has gone up.
“Look at the narrative that import has gone up nine times, it has gone up nine times from a very low base and it was a very low base because at that time markets were moron, why countries in Europe and West and the United States, why don’t they allow Iranian oil in the market why don’t they allow Venezuela oil to come to the market? They have squeezed every other source of oil we have and then say you will not go to the market and get the best deal for the people, it’s not a fair approach.”
He also rubbished reports of trans-shipment of Russian fuel from India.
“Understand the oil market there is an enormous shortage of oil, there is a physical shortage of oil, access to oil is difficult, a country like India would be crazy to get the oil from somebody else and sell to somebody else, this is nonsense,” Jaishankar said.
“Europe has to grow up out of the mindset that Europe’s problems are the world’s problem but the world’s problems are not Europe’s problem, it is you it’s yours, it is me it’s ours,” he added.
The External Affairs Minister also defended and justified the recent move to curtail wheat exports. He said Indian wheat was stocked and it was used for speculative trading.
“Low-income countries, many of whom are traditional buyers like our neighbours Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, interestingly Gulf, buy from us regularly. Yemen buys from us, Sudan buys from us, what we saw was low-income buyers were squeezed out, wheat was actually being stocked for being traded, so our goodwill was being used for speculation. We have to do something to stop that because it was also affecting us as home prices were going up,” he said.
“We will not give speculators open access to the Indian market. What we are still open to doing it is where we see a deserving country wanting the wheat we supply, we have done wheat exports to 23 countries. The rate of export this year, take the same period as last year, my rough sense is it is four times, so actually, it has gone up”.