From Russian oil to human rights: Three times Jaishankar hit West, US out of the park
New Delhi, Apr 14: When one says India's foreign policy the thought goes straight to External Affairs Minister, Dr. S Jaishankar. His comebacks at the West have been particularly strong following the military action that Russia launched in Ukraine.
India's stand on the issue is that it was immediate cessation of hostilities apart from wanting Russia and Ukraine to engage in peace talks.
The West and the United have been pressurising India not to purchase Russian oil. Jaishankar has at least on two occasions explained the logic behind the move while also making it clear that for him India's interests are above anything.
This Monday, the foreign minister was asked by reporters in the United States about President Biden's push for India to cut energy imports from Russia. To this Dr. Jaishankar said, "I noticed you refer to oil purchases. If you are looking at energy purchases from Russia, I would suggest that your attention should be focused on Europe. We do buy some energy, which is necessary for our energy security. But I suspect looking at the figures, probably our total purchases for the month would be less than what Europe does in an afternoon."
The response drew praise from various quarters including Shiv Sena MP, Priyanka Chaturvedi. "Superb from EAM," she said in a tweet.
The EAM had also made a remark on the same issues during the visit by British Foreign Secretary Elizabeth Truss. He said in her presence that it is natural for countries to go out in the market and look for what are good deals for their people. If we wait for two or three months and actually look at who are the big buyers of Russian gas and oil, I suspect the list won't be very different from what it used to be, he also said.
The statement came after US Deputy National Security Advisor, Daleep Singh warned India about rapid acceleration of imports from Russia.
The latest hit back was at the United States. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken during a briefing said that his country is monitoring cases of increased human rights abuses by the Indian Government, police and prison officials.
Jaishankar while reacting to the comment said that human rights was not discussed at the bilateral. He hinted that interests, lobbies and vote banks had driven the US position. He also pointed at human rights violations in the US itself.
"People are entitled to their views about us. But we are equally entitled to have views about their views and about the interests and lobbies and votebanks that drive that. Whenever there is a discussion, we will not be reticent about speaking out," Jaishankar said.