‘I’m waiting for a thank you’: Jaishankar on India softening oil markets amid Russia-Ukraine war

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LONDON: Asserting India’s role in stabilising global oil and gas markets through its strategic purchase policies amid the Russia-Ukraine war, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar noted that the purchase policies of India managed “global inflation”.

During a conversation hosted by the High Commission of India in London, titled ‘How a billion people see the world’, Jaishankar discussed India’s impactful position in global affairs.

Jaishankar said, “So we’ve actually softened the oil markets and the gas markets through our purchase policies. We have, as a consequence, actually managed global inflation. I’m waiting for the thank you”.

The minister explained that India’s approach to oil purchases prevented a surge in global oil prices, preventing potential competition with Europe in the market.

He elaborated, “When it comes to the purchase…I think the global oil prices would have gone higher because we would have gone into the same market to the same suppliers that Europe would have done and as we discovered, Europe would have outpriced us”.

While acknowledging India’s significance in the global markets, Jaishankar noted, “We saw that in the LNG markets where actually many supplies, which were traditionally coming into Asia, were diverted to Europe and, in fact, at least India was a big enough country to command some respect in the markets. But there were much smaller countries who didn’t even get responses to their tender in Paris because the LNG suppliers were no longer interested in dealing with them. They have bigger fish to fry”, the EAM added.

In addressing India’s stance on the Russia-Ukraine war, Jaishankar highlighted the balance between principles and interests. “We have learned the hard way that people speak of principles…But they are tempered by interest. In this particular case, we have a very powerful interest to keep our relationship with Russia”.

The conversation, part of Jaishankar’s five-day visit to the UK, took place at the Royal Over-Seas League Club and was moderated by journalist Lionel Barber.

In the conversation, the EAM also underscored India’s pivotal role in reforms of the global institutions like the G20 and BRICS, saying that “we are partly evolutionary, partly revolutionary”. Addressing the audience, EAM Jaishankar emphasised India’s unique position in the evolving global landscape.

Barber questioned Jaishankar, “How do you see India’s role in trying to either reform the post-1945 global institutions of governance or building alternatives?” To this the EAM replied, “We are partly evolutionary, partly revolutionary. We want change without excessive disruption”.

Barber also noted that “it has become almost conventional wisdom to say that this is India’s most moment”. “But also, India seems to find itself in a geopolitical sweet spot between east and west. So, perhaps you could talk a little is about how India suddenly appears to be top of the heat, and then how is India going to exploit that position?” he asked Jaishankar.

In response, the EAM said, “I would say there’s a momentum because there’s a certain process which we are in the middle of at this point of time.”

He also went on to elucidate several notable recent achievements of India ranging from handling of Covid to the economic changes, the recapitalisation of banks, the effort to boost exports, the renewed business confidence, the socioeconomic changes, and a massive embrace of digital technology. (ANI)

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