New Delhi: “Market is a market… it is the need of the time,” said India’s Minister of External Affairs S Jaishankar speaking about the country purchasing oil from Russia.
The supply of Russian crude to India in January rose 6.2 per cent month-on-month, making it the highest-ever supply of Russian oil to India in a single month.
The minister said Russia will turn more eastward as its relationship with the western world changed after the Russia-Ukraine war that began on 24 February, 2022.
Speaking at the News18 Rising India Summit, Jaishankar said Russia will turn towards the east more than it had done previously.
“Russia’s relationship with the West has changed. That has other consequences, Russia’s relationship with Asia will consequently change. It will turn more eastward than it has done in its history for a long time,” the foreign minister said.
The minister India-Russia relationship currently has been ‘most steady’. There has been volatility in ties between Russia-China, Russia-US and other western nations, but since 1955 New Delhi and Moscow have been sharing a steady relationship.
“The bandwidth of Our relationship with Russia is very narrow. It has mainly been in defence, nuclear and space. The trade relationship with Russia has been narrow over the last two-three decades,” the minister said.
The India’s foreign minister pointed out that the Ukraine war has brought to the fore issues related to energy security and food security.
“This has also opened up the North-South divide. At the moment, there is an East-West friction and a North-South divide. It has made the world a much more difficult place,” Jaishankar added.
The minister said that Russia will show more interest in developing relations with India. “This has been one of the most steady relationships in international relations. All the major players have shown enormous volatility in their relationships,” he said as he pointed out that despite the breakup of the Soviet Union, Russia and India ties remained strong.
The external affairs minister said that the trade relations between India and Russia have been narrow but now is witnessing a gradual growth. The two countries have also worked together in defence and space sectors, he said.
‘India has been the bridging force’
The minister said that despite the difficulties India has taken an independent position and urged all parties to pursue dialogue and push for peace.
“We are not the only ones but certainly more prominent ones. There are many countries who share similar views,” Jaishakar said, referring to South American nations Brazil and Argentina and major Asian economies like Indonesia and Saudi Arabia.
“We’ve been the bridging force. The world needs someone like us,” Jaishankar said.