‘Ready to hold discussions’: Russian foreign minister on supplying oil to India
Referring to the United States, Sergey Lavrov also said that ‘no pressure’ will affect the partnership between Russia and India.
Russia is ready to hold discussions if India wants to buy anything from it, the country’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Friday, according to ANI. He made the statement on a question whether Russia would supply oil to India.
“If India wants to buy anything from us, [we are] ready to discuss and reach mutually acceptable cooperation,” Lavrov said at a press conference after a meeting in Delhi with Union External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar.
It was widely expected that the Russian foreign minister who arrived in India on Thursday evening would hold discussions on the prospects of New Delhi buying oil from Moscow. On March 16, the Indian government had said it was exploring options to buy Russian crude oil as its prices have tumbled to the lowest amid the Ukrainian conflict.
This was despite Western countries calling on India to condemn Russian President Vladimir Putin on Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine. India has also abstained from voting on a series of United Nations resolutions condemning the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
At the press conference on Friday, the Russian foreign minister said that India’s foreign policy is characterised by “independence and a focus on legitimate national interests”.
In response to a question on the United States’ view of New Delhi’s stand on the Ukraine crisis, Lavrov also said that “no pressure” will affect the partnership between Russia and India, ANI reported.
“They [US] are forcing others to follow their politics,” Lavrov said.
Ahead of his meeting with Lavrov on Friday, Jaishankar had said that India has “always been in favour of resolving differences and disputes through dialogue and diplomacy”. He had said that his meeting with the Russian foreign minister was taking place “in a difficult international environment”.
Meanwhile, Lavrov remarked that friendship is the key word in the history of relations between India and Russia, The Indian Express reported. He said that “our western colleagues would like to reduce a meaningful international issue to the crisis in Ukraine”, in an apparent reference to representatives from the United States and the United Kingdom.
“You [Jaishankar] know our position and we do not hide anything,” the Russian foreign minister said, according to The Indian Express. “…we appreciate that India is taking this situation in the entirety of facts, and not in a one-sided way.”
On Thursday, United States Deputy National Security Advisor for International Economics Daleep Singh said that countries attempting 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.
However, the United Kingdom’s Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said that the United Kingdom respects India’s decision to buy oil from Russia at discounted rates.
“I think it’s very important that we respect other countries’ decisions about the issues that they face; India is a sovereign nation,” she said at an event on Thursday. “I’m not going to tell India what to do.”
Meanwhile on Friday evening, Prime Minister Narendra Modi also met Lavrov. The Russian foreign minister briefed Modi on the situation in Ukraine and on Moscow’s peace negotiations with Kyiv, the prime minister’s office said in a release.