Jaishankar, Liz Truss discuss Ukraine conflict

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On a question regarding India’s consideration of purchasing discounted Russian oil, Truss said, “India is a sovereign nation, I am not gonna tell India what to do.”…reports Asian Lite News

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and UK Foreign Secretary Elizabeth Truss discussed the Ukraine conflict and its global ramifications at length during the first India-UK Strategic Futures Forum (IUSFF).

The IUSFF dialogue was organised on the sidelines of the UK Foreign Secretary’s India visit and was moderated by Lord Dean Godson, Director of Policy Exchange.

“India had an immediate concern (over Ukraine-Russia crisis) which was we had about 22,000 students there; getting them out safely was quite a challenge and a lot of Ukraine’s neighbours were extremely helpful,” Jaishankar said at the dialogue.

“In the last 2-3 years, COVID-19 has been a big shock, Afghanistan has been a shock, Ukraine is a new shock and to a degree, the US-China relationship has its impact,” Jaishankar further said.

On a question regarding India’s consideration of purchasing discounted Russian oil, Truss said, “India is a sovereign nation, I am not gonna tell India what to do.”

Elaborating on the question of Russian oil and gas exports, Jaishankar said, “Europe bought 15 per cent more oil and gas from Russia than it did a month before. Most of the major buyers of oil and gas from Russia are in Europe. We get the bulk of our energy supplies from the Middle East, about 7.5-8 per cent from the US, maybe less than a per cent from Russia.”

“When oil prices go up, it’s natural for countries to look for good deals for their people. But I’m pretty sure if we wait 2-3 months & look at the big buyers of Russian gas & oil, I suspect the list won’t be any different than what it used to be & we won’t be in the top 10,” Jaishankar further said.

Jaishankar also talked about the recent visit of Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi to India, saying that he discussed with him the Ukraine crisis and the troublesome bilateral relationship between India and China.

“We had Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in India about a week ago, we discussed the Ukraine situation & our own relationship which is not exactly going through its best period. But the Chinese have their own analysis of what’s happening in Ukraine,” Jaishankar said.

“The bit that we did agree on was that there is a need for an urgent ceasefire & a need to return to diplomacy & dialogue… in the British cooperation, we have logic in the relationship. There are plenty of things for us to work on,” he added.

Talking about the Russian invasion, UK Foreign Secretary Elizabeth Truss said that the events in Ukraine cannot be confined to Europe.

“Countries across the world understand there is a fundamental problem if an aggressor gets away with invading a sovereign nation. The idea that we should only focus on Europe because of this crisis is wrong, the implications are far-reaching,” she said.

On Ukrainian resistance, Truss said, “The response of the Ukrainians and the brave people of Ukraine fighting for their country and the freedom to communicate is proving more effective than the Russians who were been asked to fight in a war for reasons they don’t know.”

Truss further alleged that Russia remains a security threat and that the UK along with the US had warned about the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

“The integrated review of the Russia-Ukraine crisis was very clear that Russia remained the number one security threat. In fact, the United Kingdom alongside the United States was highlighting the threat that Russia pays to Ukraine,” she said.

The UK Foreign Secretary also talked about the bilateral relationship between India and the UK.

“India and UK lead the world in areas like the number of Unicorns, the number of people involved in the tech industry. Both freedom-loving democracies will help lead the world. Free Trade deals between both countries can be completed rapidly,” Truss said.

“I’m very determined that we have a forward-looking relationship. We have a very strong people-to-people relationship. Our focus should be on where we want to be in the next 20 yrs. We’re both democracies, we need to work together for a better future,” she further said.

Earlier today, Jaishankar had welcomed his British counterpart and said that he was looking forward to their discussion later today.

The two leaders held a delegation-level meeting later in the day. (ANI)

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