External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar who is in Thailand to attend the 9th India-Thailand Joint Commission Meeting defended India's crude oil imports from Russia by terming it the "best deal" for the country.
Addressing the Indian community in Bangkok, he discussed the surge in energy prices across the world due to the Russia-Ukraine war and said, "We have been very open and honest about our interest. I have a country with a per capita income of USD 2000, these are not people who can afford higher energy prices. It's my moral duty to ensure the best deal."
During his assessment of global oil prices, Jaishankar said that oil and gas prices are unreasonably high throughout the world.
According to him, Europe was buying more oil from the Middle East countries which were Asia's traditional suppliers, however, now it was diverted to Europe.
He also said that the US knows India's position on Russian oil import and has "moved on", adding that in such circumstances "India is open about its interests, wants the best deal."
This is not the first time, Jaishankar defended India's interest on a global scale, earlier at the GLOBSEC 2022 Bratislava Forum held in Slovakia in June this year, he hit back at the unfair criticism against Indian oil purchase from Russia.
While defending India's oil imports from Russia, Jaishankar stressed that it is important to understand how the Ukraine conflict is impacting the developing countries. He also questioned why only India was being questioned while Europe continues to import gas from Russia amid the Ukraine war.
Responding to a question on whether India's oil imports from Russia are not funding the Ukraine war, Jaishankar asked, "India buying Russia oil is funding the war... Tell me is that buying Russian gas not funding the war?"
"It's only Indian money and Russian oil coming to India funding the war and not Russia's gas coming to Europe not funding? Let's be a little even-handed," the external affairs minister had said.
Meanwhile, EAM Jaishankar also listed India's soft powers - Yoga, Ayurveda, and Millets.
He also said that Commonwealth is a "useful" association and gives India a "connect" with the Caribbean and Pacific.
Jaishankar is scheduled to meet his Thai counterpart Don Pramudwinai today in Bangkok.
The 9th Thailand- India JC will be co-chaired by Don Pramudwinai, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Thailand and Dr Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, Minister of External Affairs of India.
Both sides will witness the signing ceremony of two Memorandum of Understandings between Thailand and India.
The Memorandum of Understanding on Health and Medical Research Cooperation between the Department of Medical Services of the Ministry of Public Health of Thailand and the Indian Council of Medical Research of the Department of Health Research, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, India.
Also, the Memorandum of Understanding for Cooperation and Collaboration on Broadcasting between the Prasar Bharati, India, and the Thai Public Broadcasting Service, Thailand (Thai PBS). (ANI)