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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

India, Russia take ‘extra care’ to look after each other’s interests – Jaishankar

The Indian foreign minister hailed the “positive relationship” with Moscow despite constant scrutiny from the West

India and Russia have taken “extra care” to look after each other’s interests and have “always had a positive relationship,” Indian Foreign Minister Subhramanyam Jaishankar asserted in Singapore on Sunday.

India’s top diplomat was responding to questions on how relations between the two countries could evolve.

Read more: Potential Resumption of India-Pakistan Trade

“I do my calculations from my perspective and my experiences, I will get the answer”, Jaishankar replied. “And the answer in this case is that Russia is a country with which we have always had a positive relationship.”

The diplomat also said Moscow and New Delhi should have the “confidence” to proceed further with their ties.

Earlier on Sunday, Jaishankar spoke to his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov, to vehemently condemn Friday’s terrorist attack at a concert venue outside Moscow, which claimed the lives of at least 137 people. During the phone call, Jaishankar reaffirmed India’s resolution to continue to fight terrorism in all its forms together with Russia, according to a readout from the Russian Foreign Ministry.

On Saturday, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi condemned the terrorist attack at Moscow’s Crocus City Hall, and several days earlier he spoke with Vladimir Putin, after the Russian president’s election victory. The two leaders agreed to work together to further “deepen and expand” the special and privileged strategic partnership, Modi wrote on X (formerly Twitter).

New Delhi has repeatedly stressed its resolve to maintain strong ties with Moscow despite objections from the West, including criticism over India’s purchase of Russian oil.

Jaishankar has previously rejected accusations that India was helping to “soften the blow” of Western sanctions, defending the oil purchases as “pragmatic” and claiming they help “stabilize” the world’s energy economy. The diplomat earlier described the sanctions on Russia as “levers” used by advanced economies, and argued that “many parts of the world” do not accept them.

When asked during an interview with the German daily Handelsblatt whether India was “undermining the effect of the sanctions” by continuing to deal with Russia, Jaishankar questioned Europe’s own policies on economic ties with Russia amid the Ukraine conflict.

“Why were there exceptions for pipeline gas, for individual countries and so on?” he asked. That is what governments do, he argued. “They manage politics with an eye on the consequences for their people.”

“Russia has never hurt our interests,” Jaishankar underlined in his interview with Handelsblatt. “We have had a stable and always very friendly relationship with Russia.” Speaking at the Munich Security Conference in February, he argued that New Delhi should be lauded for its ability to balance its ties with Moscow and the West.

Last year, bilateral trade rose to an unprecedented $65 billion, mainly on the back of Indian imports of Russian coal and oil. According to data from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, Russia has also remained India’s biggest supplier of arms.