Union external affairs minister S Jaishankar on Friday criticized Europe for its constant refrain on India and its Russian oil imports as well as New Delhi’s ties with Moscow.
Jaishankar also pointed out that Western nations and the US have squeezed the global energy market leaving only a handful of producing nations free to sell oil.
He questioned why Tehran and Caracas were also not allowed to export oil.
Jaishankar, who is on a trip to Czechia and Slovakia, was speaking to a moderator at the GlobSec 2022 Bratislava Forum, where he said that European nations should leave the mentality that their problems are global and global problems are not European.
“Let’s be a little even handed out here. Is buying Russian gas not funding the war? It’s only Indian money and oil coming to India that funds it, but not the gas coming to Europe?” Jaishankar asked.
Pleased to speak at @GLOBSEC 2022 Bratislava Forum.
Animated discussion, reflecting a perspective from India and the Indo-Pacific.
— Dr. S. Jaishankar (@DrSJaishankar) June 3, 2022
He pointed out that Russian gas and oil imports are still powering European homes. “If you can be considerate to yourself, surely you can be considerate to others,” Jaishankar said.
He also pointed out that the package sanctions have taken steps to ensure that citizens of European nations dependent on Russian oil yet opposing Russian invasion of Ukraine still receive Russian energy imports as they phase themselves out slowly.
“We don’t send people out there saying ‘go buy Russian oil’. We ask our people to buy the best oil you can in the market. I will not attach a political message to that,” Jaishankar said.
The external affairs minister also pointed out that India did not ignore the conditions in Ukraine and expressed its condemnation of the Bucha massacre.
He said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi made phone calls to both Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky and Russian president Vladimir Putin, urging both to sit with each other to seek a diplomatic solution.
“If Europe is concerned then why does it not allow Iranian oil to enter the market? Why don’t they allow Venezuelan oil to enter the market? They have squeezed every other source of oil we had and now they say not to get the best deal for your own people. That is not a fair approach,” he further added.
“India is one-fifth of the global population, it is the 5th or 6th largest economy. India’s choices will not be cynical or transactional. It will be a balance between values and interests,” Jaishankar said.