Udayavani Group, 21 December 2022, 10:28 IST
Earlier this year, External Affairs Minister (EAM) S Jaishankar made clear India’s position on the Ukraine conflict, sticking firmly to its principals-based stance amid a war that is having serious global implications. Since the start of the Russia-Ukraine war on February 24, India has emphasized the need for diplomacy and dialogue while defending its independent stance, which prioritizes the country’s energy and food security.
When Moscow began a massive military build-up near its border areas before the start of the war, some drew parallels between the situation in Ukraine and the India-China border issue. At the Munich Security Conference (MSC) on February 19, Jaishankar rejected this comparison between the Indo-Pacific and Transatlantic regions, saying that the situations are not similar and that both areas face different challenges.
“…Somehow there is a trade-off. One country does that in the Pacific, so in return, you do something else. I don’t think international relations work that way,” said the minister in front of members of the annual conference on international security policy in Munich. He added, “…if there was a connection, by that logic, you would have a lot of European powers, very early on, taking a very tough stance in the Indo-Pacific. But we didn’t see that.”
Less than two months later the Biden administration hosted India for the fourth 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue in Washington in April. As the conflict in Ukraine entered its second week, Jaishankar was asked why India is not condemning Russia for the war in Ukraine and increasing oil imports. To this, EAM replied, “I prefer to do it my way and express it my way.”
“If you look at energy purchases from Russia. I would suggest that your attention should be focused on Europe. We make some energy that is necessary for our energy security, but I suspect that the entire purchase in a month is equivalent to what Europe does in one evening,” he said. Next to US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Pentagon chief Lloyd Austin, the Minister of External Affairs told a reporter that the Indian government that he is looking at what is happening in the world and drawing his own conclusion.
Again, in June of this year, questions about increased oil imports from Russia were raised at the GLOBSEC Security Conference in Bratislava, Slovakia. Here too, fingers were pointed at India’s purchase of Russian oil amid western sanctions. Clearly defining India’s position on energy imports, Jaishankar said that India does not send people specifically to buy Russian oil. “We send people there and tell them to go buy oil. Now you buy the best oil you can on the market. So I don’t think I would add a political message to that,” he said.
He further said, “…Tell me if buying Russian gas is not financing the war. Why only India’s money and oil are getting the funds and not Europe’s gas? Let’s have a little bit of time here.” Responding to the wrong wording of the question, Jaishankar also said Europe must grow from the mindset that Europe’s problem is the world’s problem but that the world’s problems are not Europe’s.
He has also dismissed the link between the Ukraine conflict and the India-China dispute. “China and India happened long before anything happened in Ukraine. … I see this, to be honest, it’s not a very clear argument, a personal one. He disagreed with the construction that a choice must be made between the US and China. According to the minister, India’s grand strategy will not be a choice between two powers, but one based on weighing all the issues of the situation.
Earlier this month, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock paid a three-day visit to India, her first official trip to focus on the climate crisis and maintaining the rules-based order. During Baerbock’s press conference with EAM Jaishankar in New Delhi, a visiting journalist raised a question about Russian oil imports and asked, “Will India change its stance?”
Noting that India’s recent import figures paled in comparison to Europe, Jaishankar stressed that Europe will make the choices it will make, but it is not about the bloc prioritizing its energy needs and then asking India to do something else. fair Summarizing the latest developments in India’s foreign policy this month, Jaishankar made a statement in the Rajya Sabha on the occasion of India’s assumption of the G20 presidency.
Between the geopolitical crisis, food and energy insecurity, mounting debt and challenges to climate action, he said the Modi government’s effort is to build consensus within the G20, and champion the causes of the Global South in particular. Addressing Parliament, the minister said Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government envisages the G20 Presidency as an opportunity to showcase India to the world.
He emphasized that India’s foreign policy today is not just an exercise of a Ministry, nor just of the Government. “It has a direct impact on the daily lives of all Indians.” The External Affairs Minister said that the aim of the government is to ensure the welfare of the Indian people in the difficult global situation, despite the uncertain situation. “India’s foreign policy is for the service of the Indian people; We will do whatever it takes to fulfill this responsibility,” he added.