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“Asked West To Mind Their Business”: Russia Minister Praises S Jaishankar

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New Delhi: External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar has received praise from his Russia counterpart for asking the West “to mind their own business” when it questioned India’s procurement of Russian oil after the Ukraine war began. 

In a video shared by Russian news agency Sputnik, the country’s foreign affairs minister Sergey Lavrov is seen addressing the World Youth Forum in Sochi. “My friend, Foreign Minister Subramanyam Jaishankar, was once at the UN, giving a speech. He was asked why they started buying so much oil from Russia. He advised them to mind their own business and reminded them at the same time how much oil the West had started buying and continued to buy oil from the Russian Federation. This is national dignity,” Lavrov says in Russian.

After the Ukraine war broke out, most countries of the West imposed sanctions on Moscow and stopped buying crude Russian oil. India, however, refused to play along. Dr Jaishankar articulated New Delhi’s position on international forums, emphasising that Indian citizens cannot afford high energy prices and that the Narendra Modi government is only trying to get the best deal possible for its citizens.

The foreign minister also called out Europe’s “double standards” and said that it needs to grow out of the mindset that Europe’s problems are the world’s problems, but the world’s problems are not Europe’s problems.

More recently, Dr Jaishankar was asked about India’s continuing procurement of Russian oil at a security conference in Munich. He was asked if this becomes a problem in its equations with other major allies.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock by his side, Dr Jaishankar replied, “Why should it be a problem? I am smart enough to have multiple options. You should be admiring and not criticising. Is it a problem for others? I do not think so.”

The External Affairs Minister has said India’s position on the Ukraine war is “very clear and very public”. “The Indian position articulated by my prime minister is that this is not an era of war and that dialogue and diplomacy is the answer,” he has said.

The Narendra Modi government’s stand has received praise from Moscow earlier, too. In January, Russia President Vladimir Putin said Moscow “can rely on India and its leadership because it is assured that New Delhi won’t play ‘games’ against them on the international stage”.

“India is pursuing an independent foreign policy, which is not easy in today’s world. But India, with a population of 1.5 billion, has the right to do so. And under the leadership of the Prime Minister, that right is being realised. This is not just a statement, it is important from the point of organising joint work because it gives us the opportunity to forecast the actions of our partners in medium and long terms,” Putin said.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Kashmir Monitor staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)