Foreign minister defends India’s move to import Russian oil; says Europe imported 6 times more than India since Feb 2022
“If it was a matter of principle, why didn’t Europe cut off energy from Moscow on February 25.”
India’s external affairs minister S Jaishankar (Photo by Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar has defended India’s move to import crude oil from Russia notwithstanding the growing disquiet over it by Western powers, saying that Europe has imported six times the fossil fuel energy from Russia than India has done since February 2022. Jaishankar, who arrived here from Cyprus on the second leg of his two-nation tour, also said that if the European political leadership would like to soften the impact of the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict on their population, it’s a privilege they should extend to other political leadership as well.
“Europe has managed to reduce its imports while doing it in a manner that is comfortable. If at a (per capita income) of 60,000 euros, you are so caring about your population, I have a population at USD 2,000. I also need energy, and I am not in a position to pay high prices for oil,” Jaishankar said during an interview to Austria’s national public broadcaster ORF on Monday. Jaishankar also pointed out that Europe has imported six times the energy from Russia than India has done since February 2022.
“Essentially, if it was a matter of principle, why didn’t Europe cut off energy from Moscow on February 25,” he asked while replying to a question.
India’s appetite for Russian oil has swelled ever since it started trading on discount as the West shunned it to punish Moscow for its invasion of Ukraine. The Indian government has been vehemently defending its oil trade with Russia, saying it has to source oil from where it is the cheapest.
Russia has for the second month in a row remained India’s top oil supplier in November, surpassing traditional sellers Iraq and Saudi Arabia, according to data from energy cargo tracker Vortexa. Russia, which made up for just 0.2 per cent of all oil imported by India in the year to March 31, 2022, supplied 9,09,403 barrels per day (bpd) of crude oil to India in November.