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'Major Russian Oil Buyers In Europe': Jaishankar Defends 'Deals' With Moscow

He also pointed out that even after the Ukraine crisis, Europe has been a major buyer of oil and gas from Russia.

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India's External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Thursday, 31 March, defended the country's decision to look for "good deals" for its energy needs amidst a volatile market.

He also pointed out that even after the Ukraine crisis began, Europe has been a major buyer of oil and gas from Russia, reported news agency PTI.

He said this at the India-UK Strategic Futures Forum soon after he held an extensive discussion with British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss on a range of issues, including the Ukraine situation.

"It is interesting because we have seen for some time what looks almost like a campaign on this issue. I was reading a report today that in March, Europe has bought, I think, 15 percent more oil and gas from Russia than it did the month before."

"If you look at the major buyers of oil and gas from Russia, I think you will find most of them are in Europe," he added.

Jaishankar informed that India got most of its energy supplies from the Middle East, around 7.5-8 percent from the United States. The procurement from Russia was less than one percent, he added.

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"When the oil prices go up, I think it is natural for countries to go out into the market and look for what are the good deals for their people," Jaishankar said in the presence of Truss, reported PTI.

"But I am pretty sure if we wait for two or three months and actually look at who are the big buyers of Russian oil and gas, I suspect the list would not be too different from what it used to be and I suspect we won't be in the top 10 on that list," he said.

UK to Reduce Dependence on Russian Oil by Year-End

His comments came on a day when Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov landed in India for a two-day visit.

Truss's visit to India comes when there is increasing disquiet in the west over India not criticising Russia for its invasion of Ukraine and also over India's decision to buy discounted Russian crude oil.

Meanwhile, Truss said that the UK would end its dependence on Russian oil by the year-end and would not tell India what to do since it's a sovereign country. Truss was asked about India's decision to buy discounted Russian crude oil.

"We are reducing and eliminating our dependence on Russian oil and gas. That takes time. That is also true for other countries, and the important thing for me is that the G7 has set a timetable to end that dependency and sent a strong signal in the market," Truss said.

"There have been some pretty remarkable changes. Germany has changed its entire energy and defence policy as a result of the invasion of Ukraine. We need to keep doing that," she added.

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'Sanctions Against Russia Must be Continued': Truss

Truss further said sanctions against Russia must be continued. "We need to continue to put pressure on (Vladimir) Putin and continue to supply weapons to Ukraine."

Truss also said that strengthening UK's relationship with India had become all the more important because "we are living in a more insecure world, precisely because we have Putin's appalling invasion of Ukraine and violation of its sovereignty and territorial integrity".

She also asked people to think about the message the democratic countries would send across the world if Putin was successful.

"If he was able to have success invading a sovereign nation, what message will that send to other aggressors around the world? I think it is very significant that the sanctions are applied on Russia along with weapons being supplied to Ukraine in its fight for freedom," Truss said.

"We have seen the alliance of G7, including Japan, putting on sanctions. We are also seeing countries like Australia, South Korea and Singapore participating in those sanctions because I think countries across the world, regardless of their specific status or structure, understand that there is a fundamental problem if an aggressor gets away with invading a sovereign nation," she added.
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'Impact of Ukraine War Won't be Limited to Europe': Truss

Truss said the impact of the Ukraine war would not be limited to Europe.

"The idea that somehow we should only focus on Europe because of this crisis is completely wrong. I am afraid to say that the implications of this crisis are far-reaching. We are seeing global food security threatened, global energy security threatened," she said.

However, Jaishankar said what happened in Afghanistan in 2021 had a strong impact on India, but that wasn't the case for Europe.

Ahead of the talks, the British High Commission said Truss would work to deepen cyber security and defence cooperation between India and the UK and announce a new cyber security programme, aiming to protect the online infrastructure in both countries from attacks.

"The UK will join India's Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative and become a lead partner on maritime security issues, coordinating work with key partners in Southeast Asia," it added.

The High Commission also said that Truss would also confirm "70 million pounds of British International Investment (BII) funding to support renewable energy use in India".

(With inputs from PTI.)

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