New Delhi: As Conservative Party leader Liz Truss was on Tuesday (September 6, 2022) appointed Britain’s new Prime Minister, netizens are recalling how the former UK foreign secretary was schooled by India’s External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on New Delhi’s decision to buy discounted Russian oil. During her visit to India in March this year, Truss attended the India-UK Strategic Futures Forum along with Jaishankar and was asked to comment on India’s decision to buy discounted oil from Russia, to which she answered that India is a sovereign nation and that she is not going to tell it what to do. Severely critical of Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, the then British Foreign Secretary had also said that the UK respected India’s decision to buy discounted Russian oil. Truss, however, added that sanctions against Russia must be enforced.
“We need to continue to put pressure on (Vladimir) Putin and continue to supply weapons to Ukraine,” she said.
“If he (Putin) 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,” she 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,” Truss, who has now defeated Rishi Sunak and became the third female British PM, had said.
In reply, Jaishankar defended India’s decision to look for “good deals” for its energy requirement amid volatility in the market and pointed out that Europe has been a major buyer of Russian oil and gas even after the crisis in Ukraine unfolded.
“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.
“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 added.
— Dr. S. Jaishankar (@DrSJaishankar) March 31, 2022
The EAM also referred to major geopolitical developments and said that what happened in Afghanistan last summer had a very strong impact on India, but it was not the case for Europe.
“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 per cent more oil and gas from Russia than it did the month before,” he stated.
“If you look at the major buyers of oil and gas from Russia, I think you will find most of them are in Europe,” Jaishankar said.
He also said that India gets the bulk of its energy supplies from the Middle East and around 7.5 to 8 per cent from the US, while the procurement from Russia in the past was less than one per cent.
WATCH: S Jaishankar in conversation with Liz Truss at the first India-UK Strategic Futures Forum
(With agency inputs)