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Amid US threat, MEA says political colouring shouldn't be given to India-Russia trade

Source : Mint

Amid US threat, MEA says political colouring shouldn't be given to India-Russia trade
MEA Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi (File Photo)



New Delhi:
Talking about the US statements, threatening India with 'consequences' for continuing trade relations with Russia, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on Thursday said that the country is very open about its special economic relationship with the Russians and that it shouldn't be assigned a 'political colouring'.


Pointing out the hypocrisy of the Western countries in continuing their energy and fertilizer imports from Russia, while asking other countries to reduce theirs, MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said during a weekly briefing, "As regards who is trading with Russia... and what consequences are on that," Bagchi said while referring to Western countries, "Let me just emphasize that energy flows are continuing, fertilizer purchases have been insulated, there are other examples also."

Notably, the US itself has increased its oil imports from Russia over the past few weeks by as much as 43 per cent, reaching 100,000 barrels per day.

"We have established economic relations with Russia, our focus is on stabilizing these established economic relations in the current circumstances, and we have been very open about it, we have been saying the requirement and the need to stabilize it given the difficulties," the MEA spokesperson said.

Answering a question about the pressure from the western countries on India for its trade with Russia, he said, "Don't think there's any such pressure. Talks of sanctions going on but it's not on the entire trade. A lot of trade is going on, trade of oil too. Our focus is to maintain and stabilise our established economic relations with Russia."

Talking about the visit of the US National Security Advisor on International Economics Daleep Singh and his sharp comments on India-Russia relations, Bagchi said, "We had broad-ranging discussions during his visit on contemporary economic issues... He also briefed us on the context, objectives and efficacy of US sanctions on Russia."

Bagchi also talked about the upcoming 2+2 ministerial dialogue between India and the US, with Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and External Affairs Minister (EAM) S Jaishankar expected to hold meetings with their counterparts.

"We have a very strong, robust, and diversified relationship with the US and this 2+2 is in that context," Bagchi said.

India and United States are scheduled to hold a 2+2 dialogue in Washington on April 11.

EAM Jaishankar is also expected to meet his counterpart Antony Blinken separately, while also holding meetings with other senior US officials.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Tuesday spoke with EAM Jaishankar on a phone call to review regional and global priorities, including the situation in Ukraine.

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