With the G7 price ceiling on Russian crude oil at USD 60 per barrel taking effect, India on Monday (December 05, 2022) vehemently defended its acquisition of crude oil from Russia during the ongoing Ukraine war – claiming that New Delhi’s purchase was just one-sixth of the European buy in the previous nine months.
At a press conference following lengthy discussions with the visiting German foreign minister Annalena Baerbock, Indian External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said that Europe cannot decide to put its energy needs first while requesting New Delhi to take another action, claiming that talks between India and Russia to increase trade began long before the war in Ukraine, NDTV reports.
Jaishankar said: “I understand that there is a conflict situation (in Ukraine). I also understand that Europe has a point of view and Europe will make the choices it will make that is Europe’s right. But for Europe to make choices which prioritises its energy needs and then ask India to do something else…”
Jaishankar also said that pressure on pricing is also being exerted by Europe’s purchases of Middle Eastern crude oil.
The Indian foreign minister commented, “And bear in mind, today, Europe is buying a lot (of crude oil) from the Middle-East. The Middle-East was traditionally a supplier for an economy like India. So it puts pressure on prices in the Middle-East as well. We have been very very understanding of the European choices and European policies.”
He was quoted by NDTV as saying: “I think first we need to establish the facts very clearly. Between February 24 and November 17, the European Union has imported more fossil fuel from Russia than the next 10 countries combined. The oil import in the European Union is like six times what India has imported. Gas is infinite because we do not import it while the European Union imported 50 billions Euros worth (of gas).”
While pledging to further cooperate in the areas of defence and security, commerce, climate change, and renewable energy, the two foreign ministers also signed a bilateral mobility agreement that would make it simpler for individuals to study and work in each other’s countries.
The German foreign minister stated at the joint news conference that China has changed significantly in recent years and “the whole region can see this and feel this”, in reference to the country’s “growing aggressiveness”.
Baerbock, who was in India for a two-day visit, also promised to shorten the wait time for visas. The talks also touched on Pakistani cross-border terrorism, the situation in Afghanistan, and developments in the Indo-Pacific, according to the NDTV report.
Russian oil imports into India have significantly increased during the past few months. According to New Delhi, it is its essential responsibility to make sure that Indian consumers have the greatest possible access to the worldwide markets on the most favourable conditions.