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Friday, December 8, 2023
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S Jaishankar Reacts To EU Chief’s Remark Against India

Josep Borrell, head of foreign policy for the EU, called for action against Indian refined products made from Russian crude in statements on Tuesday (local time), but External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar suggested that he look at EU Council rules in response.

“Look at EU Council regulations, Russian crude is substantially transformed in the third country and not treated as Russian anymore. I would urge you to look at Council’s Regulation 833/2014,” said Mr Jaishankar.

As Western nations move to tighten sanctions on Moscow’s energy industry, the EU should crack down on India reselling Russian oil as refined fuels such as diesel into Europe, the bloc’s chief diplomat said earlier.

Borrell, the head of the EU’s foreign policy, stated in an interview that “India buys Russian oil, it’s normal… ” but he wants the union to take action on refined products created from Russian crude manufactured in India.

At the trade technology negotiations in Brussels, Borrell had a meeting with Mr. Jaishankar, but he was absent from the press conference that followed.

In his stead, Margrethe Vestager, the EU’s executive vice president for competition, stated that there was “no doubt about the legal basis of the sanctions” and that the EU and India would discuss the matter as “friends… with an extended hand and, of course, not a pointed finger.”

Piyush Goyal, the minister of commerce, and Rajeev Chandrasekhar, the union minister of state for entrepreneurship, skill development, electronics, and technology, attended the meeting in addition to Mr. Jaishankar.

Jaishankar arrived in Brussels on Monday for the final leg of his trip to Bangladesh, Sweden, and Belgium.

In the past, Mr. Jaishankar had obliquely criticised the West for pressuring New Delhi to reduce its commerce with Russia in light of its military activity in Ukraine while defending India’s imports from that country.

He questioned how Europe could prioritise its own energy requirements while still requesting different actions from India.

Compared to European nations, “our commerce with Russia is at a very low level, at 12–13 billion dollars. We also provided a selection of goods to the Russians. At a joint press conference with his German counterpart Annalena Baerbock earlier in December, the EAM said, “I don’t think people should read more into it than the reasonable expectations of any trading country to enhance its trade.

“I would urge you to look at these figures. There is a website called ‘Russia Fossil Fuel Tracker’ that would give you country-by-country data of who is really importing what and I suspect that might be very very helpful,” he added.

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