External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Thursday alleged that there appeared to be a campaign against India for buying Russian oil at lower prices in the past few weeks, The Hindu reported.

Jaishankar made the remarks at an event organised by the think-tank Indian Council for World Affairs, during which he took part in a discussion with the United Kingdom’s Foreign Secretary Liz Truss.

The Union minister said that European countries continued to be the biggest buyers of Russian oil and gas despite statements that they would cut down on them. He added that it was “natural for countries to go out in the market and look for good deals” when oil prices are rising.

Jaishankar said that in March, Europe purchased 15% more oil and gas from Russia than in the preceding month, according to The Indian Express. He noted that India gets most of its energy supplies from West Asia and a very small proportion from Russia.

“...I am pretty sure if we wait two or three months and actually look at who are the big buyers of Russian gas and oil, I suspect the list won’t be very different from what it used to be,” the external affairs minister said. “And I suspect we won’t be at the top 10 of that list.”

Jaishankar made the remarks on a day when United States Deputy National Security Advisor for International Economics Daleep Singh warned that countries that attempt to circumvent the sanctions imposed on Russia will face consequences.

The US official also warned that Russia would not help India if China made incursions along the Line of Actual Control again.

“No one should kid themselves – Russia is going to be the junior partner in this relationship with China,” Singh said. “And the more leverage that China gains over Russia, the less favourable that is for India. I don’t think anyone would believe that if China once again breached the Line of Actual Control, Russia would come running in India’s defence.”

Russia is offering major discounts to India for the sale of oil as Western sanctions have reduced demand in many other countries, Bloomberg reported on Thursday, citing people with knowledge of the matter.

The country is reportedly offering its flagships Urals oil at a discount of as much as $35 a barrel as compared to prices before the war in Ukraine began.

‘Won’t tell India what to do’, says UK foreign secretary

At the event on Thursday, Liz Truss said that the United Kingdom respects India’s decision to buy oil from Russia at discounted rates, Reuters reported.

“I think it’s very important that we respect other countries’ decisions about the issues that they face; India is a sovereign nation,” the United Kingdom’s foreign secretary said. “I’m not going to tell India what to do.”

Truss, however, said that the United Kingdom feels a strong responsibility to take all actions possible to support the people of Ukraine.

The United Kingdom has imposed wide-ranging sanctions aimed at hurting Russia’s economy in the wake of its attack on Ukraine, on similar lines as other Western countries. The sanctions target Russian banks, defence companies and oligarchs.