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‘No pressure on India over trade with Russia’, says MEA on sanctions against Moscow

By Priyanka Verma 
Updated Date

New Delhi: The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on Thursday, April 7, said there was no pressure on India over trade with Russia amid western imposed sanctions on Moscow due to its actions in Ukraine.

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MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said India’s focus was on maintaining and stabilising established economic relations with Russia under current circumstances. Delhi was facing growing criticism over its trade ties with Moscow in the wake of Russian atrocities in Ukraine.

“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,” Bagchi was quoted as saying by news agency.

The MEA Spokesperson further stated that India has been very open about its economic relations with Russia and the country’s focus is on stabilising these ties with Moscow.

“We have established economic relations with Russia. Our focus is on stabilising these relations in the current circumstances. We’ve been very open about it. I think that’s very clear regarding our position,” he said.

Bagchi said discussions were underway to see what kind of payment mechanism could work between India and Russia at the .

He also cited how energy flows from Russia had continued despite the sanctions. “…Energy flows to Europe are continuing, fertiliser purchasing has been insulated… There are such other examples also. I think I will rely on what EAM (S Jaishankar) said – political colouring should not be attributed to our actions,” he added.

Bagchi said Jaishankar would meet his US counterpart Secretary Antony Blinken soon and was also scheduled to hold talks with senior members of the US administration to further advance the India-US comprehensive global strategic partnership.

“The dialogue would enable both sides to undertake a comprehensive review of cross-cutting issues in the India-US bilateral agenda related to foreign policy, defence and security with objective of providing strategic guidance and vision for further consolidating the relationship,” he said.

Jaishankar will visit the United States on April 11 and 12. “Defence minister Rajnath Singh and EAM will lead the Indian delegation at the 4th India-US Ministerial 2+2 Dialogue which will take place on April 11 in Washington, DC,” the MEA spokesperson said.

Regarding the political turmoil in Pakistan, Bagchi said it was an internal matter. “I actually have no comments to offer as of now. We are watching the developments but we don’t comment on internal matters,” he said.

When asked about reported failed attempts by Chinese hackers to target electricity distribution centres near Ladakh, Bagchi said, “All I can say is that we have a system, a mechanism in place to safeguard our critical infrastructure. The power ministry has made a comment on the matter.”

Further, speaking about the crisis in Sri Lanka, the MEA spokesperson said India stood ready to continue working with the island nation for its economic recovery. He said this was in line with India’s neighbourhood first policy. “We have already conveyed to them on various occasions our readiness to extend whatever support we can.”

“The relationship between India and Sri Lanka is rooted in shared civilisation values and aspirations of our people, our cooperation based on commonality and interest has been strengthened in recent months. We see the recent developments in this perspective.”

“Since mid-March, over 2,70,000 MT of diesel and petrol has been delivered to Sri Lanka. In addition, 40,000 tonnes of rice have been supplied other than the recently extended $1 Billion credit facility,” he said.

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