Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Sunday praised India for pursuing an “independent foreign policy” in the context of the Ukraine crisis, Geo News reported.

Khan made the statement at a rally in the Malakand district of the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province. He has been addressing public meetings to rally support ahead of a no-confidence vote against him in the country’s parliament slated for Friday.

“Today, I praise India, which has always maintained an independent foreign policy,” Khan said. “Today, it has allied with America within the Quad. It claims to be neutral... It imports oil from Russia despite sanctions against it. India’s policy is to ensure the well-being of its people.”

Khan said that his foreign policy will also favour the people of Pakistan, PTI reported. “I haven’t bowed before anyone and will not let my nation bow either,” he said.

The Pakistan prime minister claimed that envoys from the European Union had sought Pakistan’s support against Russia, and that he had refused to do so. He said that Pakistan would not gain anything by supporting the European Union on the matter.

When asked to comment on Khan’s observations, India’s Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla on Monday said that New Delhi’s record on global policy speaks for itself, reported PTI.

“To say that one person [Imran Khan] would be wrong, I think we have received praise across the board for many of our foreign policy initiatives at the level of the prime minister,” he said at a media briefing.

Earlier comments of Pakistan prime minister

On March 6, Khan had made a similar statement at a rally at the Vehari district in Pakistan’s Punjab province. He had said that a statement by the European Union’s ambassadors calling on Pakistan to condemn Russia for attacking Ukraine was “undiplomatic”, Dawn reported.

“Has anyone of you severed trade relations with India or objected to its unlawful actions?” Khan had asked.

On March 4, India and Pakistan were among 13 countries that abstained from voting on a United Nations Human Rights Council resolution to set up an international commission to investigate the Russian aggression against Ukraine.

India is exploring options to buy Russian crude oil as prices tumbled to their lowest in view of the Ukrainian conflict and the sanctions imposed by western countries, AFP had reported on March 16.

Union Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas Hardeep Singh Puri had said the government was holding conversations “at the appropriate level of the Russian Federation” regarding the purchase.

India is also reportedly considering a rupee payments mechanism with Russia in the context of Western sanctions against the latter country.

The United States, European Union, United Kingdom and Canada, among other major countries, have announced sanctions against Russia till now. Some of these measures target Russian state-owned banks and restrict the country’s ability to carry out transactions in major currencies.