Europe has to grow out of the mindset that “its problems are the world’s problem” said External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Friday. During his speech to the GLOBESEC 2022 Bratislava Forum (Slovakia), Jaishankar rejected the European notion that New Delhi’s stance on Ukraine could affect global support for it if its problems with Beijing worsen.
He also claimed that India does not make “cynical or transactional” foreign policy decisions. Jaishankar chastised Europe for constantly criticizing India for buying Russian oil while questioning the US decision not to lift sanctions on Iranian and Venezuelan oil.
He inquired whether the Russian war is being funded solely by Indian money and oil flowing into India. “Today, Europe is buying [Russian] oil and [Russian] gas. The new sanctions package has been designed with the welfare of its population in mind. People must realize that “if you can be considerate to yourself, you can surely be considerate to others,” he said.
“Why countries in Europe and West and the United States, why don’t they allow Iranian oil in the market why don’t they allow Venezuela oil to come to the market? They have squeezed every other source of oil we have and then say you will not go to the market and get the best deal for the people, it’s not a fair approach,” said Jaishankar.
No Russian fuel transshipped from India: Jaishankar
He also dismissed reports of Russian fuel being transshipped from India. “Understand the oil market, there is an enormous shortage of oil, there is a physical shortage of oil, access to oil is difficult, a country like India would be insane to get the oil from someone else and sell to someone else, this is nonsense,” Jaishankar explained.
He defended and justified the recent decision to limit wheat exports. He stated that Indian wheat was stocked and was used for speculation. “Low-income countries, many of which are traditional buyers, such as our neighbors Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and, interestingly, the Gulf, buy from us on a regular basis.” Yemen buys from us, Sudan buys from us, and what we saw was that low-income buyers were being squeezed out, wheat was being stocked for trading, and our goodwill was being used for speculation,” he explained.
In the midst of European countries’ persistent efforts to persuade India to take a tough stance on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Jaishankar stated that Europe must grow out of the mindset that its problems are the world’s problems, but the world’s problems are not Europe’s problems.
Jaishankar slams critics
On the possibility of a similar challenge from China in the future, Jaishankar stated. “In terms of the connection you are making. We have a difficult relationship with China. And we are perfectly capable of managing it.” Having global understanding and support is obviously beneficial to me.”
According to Jaishankar, Europe is also deafeningly silent on many Asian developments. “If I take Europe collectively. Which has been singularly silent on many things that were happening. For example, in Asia”. He said. “You could ask why would anyone in Asia trust Europe on anything at all.”
He stated that India’s position on the Ukrainian conflict is very clear: it wants tensions to be de-escalated. “In terms of the Ukraine conflict, our position is unequivocal: we support an immediate cessation of hostilities. We have not ignored it unless you consider phone calls to (Vladimir) Putin. And (Volodymyr) Zelenskyy to be ignoring something”. He said.