“Look at EU Council Regulations…”: Jaishankar’s Reply to EU’s Call for Action Against India on Russian Oil Import
GG News Bureau
Brussels, 17th May. Responding to EU Foreign Policy Chief Josep Borrell’s remarks calling for action against Indian refined goods from Russian oil, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar advised him on Tuesday (local time) to look into EU Council regulations.
“Look at EU Council regulations, Russian crude is substantially transformed in the third country and not treated as Russian anymore. I would urge you to look at Council’s Regulation 833/2014,” said Mr Jaishankar.
The EU’s chief diplomat previously stated that the EU should crack down on India reselling Russian oil as refined fuels such as diesel into Europe as Western nations tighten sanctions on Moscow’s energy industry.
“India buys Russian oil, it’s normal… ” said EU’s Foreign policy chief Borrell but wants the bloc to act on refined products coming from India-made Russian crude in an interview with Financial Times.
While Borrell met with Mr Jaishankar at the trade technology talks in Brussels, he was not present at the press conference that followed.
In his place, EU Executive Vice President on Competition, Margrethe Vestager said that there was “no doubt about the legal basis of the sanctions”, and that the EU and India would have the discussion as “friends… with an extended hand and of course, not a pointed finger.”
Along with Mr Jaishankar, Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal, and Union Minister of State for Entrepreneurship, Skill Development, Electronics and Technology Rajeev Chandrasekhar were also in the meeting.
Jaishankar on Monday arrived in Brussels for the last leg of his three-nation visit covering Bangladesh, Sweden and Belgium.
Earlier also Jaishankar had defended India’s imports from Russia while indirectly criticising the West for pressurising New Delhi to minimise its trade with Russia in view of its military action in Ukraine.
He wondered how Europe could make choices to prioritise its own energy needs and at the same time ask India to do something else.
“Our trade with Russia is at a very small level- USD 12-13 billion, in comparison to European countries. We’ve also given the Russians a set of products… I don’t think people should read more into it other than the legitimate expectations of any trading country to increase its trade,” the EAM said earlier in December while addressing a joint press conference with his German counterpart Annalena Baerbock.
“I would urge you to look at these figures. There is a website called ‘Russia Fossil Fuel Tracker’ that would give you country-by-country data of who is really importing what and I suspect that might be very very helpful,” he added.