India today aired its concerns over pressures regarding procuring oil at affordable rates, while taking questions regarding price cap on Russian oil, proposed by the G7 (Group of Seven industrialised nations). At a meeting with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Foreign Minister S Jaishankar said, “We are a $2,000 per capita economy. We have concerns about the price of oil. The price of oil is breaking our back. This is our big concern,” reported news agency ANI.
Briefing the media after the meeting, Mr Jaishankar said the two sides had a “brief discussion” on the price cap, and that the issue of oil for developing nations is a matter of deep concern. “We are working with partners so that oil revenues don’t fuel the Ukrainian war,” Mr Blinken said at the joint press conference.
The G7 had proposed the cap with the idea of limiting Russia’s revenue from oil sales as part of sanctions against it. The Biden administration is trying to resist a push on its enforcement, to keep Russian oil available in global market. European Union nations are trying to reach an accord on the contentious issue, on which it is facing resistance from several member nations.
For nations like India, the big concern is where the price cap will be set. Since the invasion of Ukraine and the subsequent sanctions on Russia, India has been the second largest purchaser of Russian oil after China, with big discounts offered by Moscow.
“You have to understand that over the last two months, the energy market has been under great stress. Countries in the global south have found it difficult to compete for limited energy, not just in terms of escalating prices but often in terms of availability,” Mr Jaishankar told reporters.
“Our concern at the moment is that energy markets already under stress must soften up. We would judge any situation by how it affects us and the other countries… there is a very, very deep concern among developing countries on how their energy security needs are addressed or not,” he added.
Mr Jaishankar is on a visit to the US for bilateral consultations with several ministers, including Mr Blinken. The discussion, he later said, was on political coordination, and assessment on regional and global challenge.
During the bilateral talks today, the US reiterated Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s comment on Ukraine conflict — that “this is not the era for war”. Citing the comment during the discussion, Mr Blinken said, “We couldn’t agree more”.
Earlier today, Mr Jaishankar had a discussion with US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin at the Pentagon.
Pointing to China’s stance in the Indo-Pacific region, Mr Jaishankar said, “I do share with you that the global situation has become far more challenging this year (due to) a variety of reasons, the Indo-Pacific in particular”.