The government is looking into various trade-related aspects, including those related to payments, in the wake of the Russia-Ukraine conflict, Foreign Minister S Jaishankar told the Rajya Sabha on Thursday though he stressed that crude oil imported from Russia was very little.
Answering additional questions during question time at the Rajya Sabha, Mr Jaishankar said, “Due to the problems that have arisen in dealing with Russia, the Government is looking into various aspects, including the payment aspect”.
He told the House that there was a group in the government made up of different ministries led by the finance ministry to look into the matter.
With regard to oil trade with Russia he stated, “We import very little oil (crude) for Russia. It is less than one percent of our imports. Many countries import even 20 times more oil than we do (from Russia)”.
On various developments in the Indian neighborhood, following the Russia-Ukraine conflict, he noted, “There are many developments in our neighborhood and we are monitoring them very carefully”.
On India’s stance on the conflict, he stated, “Our stance is not so, this is not our problem. Our position is ours for peace. When the Prime Minister spoke to the President (Russia and Ukraine), the clear meaning at the time was student transfer … but there is a bigger conversation about what we can do that leads to a cessation of hostilities and a return to dialogue and diplomacy. I think today that sentiment is widely shared by many countries. We have stated it very strongly “.
He also told the House that India takes note of all international developments, including the Russia-Ukraine (conflict), and India monitors them in its own national perspective and fashion strategy in line with those developments.
On trade in the midst of the Russia-Ukraine crisis, he said, “India’s foreign policy decisions are made in the interest of the Indian state and we are guided by our thoughts, views and interests. So, there is no question of linking the Ukrainian situation to trade issues”.
India’s position in Ukraine is based on six principles, the minister told the House.
First, India called for an immediate end to violence and hostilities, he said, adding that India was defending peace.
Second, he said, India believed there was no other way but to return through dialogue and diplomacy.
The third principle is that India recognizes that global order is centered on the rule of law, the UN Charter and respect for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of all states, according to Mr Jaishankar.
The fourth is that India calls for humanitarian access to conflict situations, he added.
The fifth is that India provides humanitarian aid, he said. The country has provided 90 tonnes of humanitarian aid so far. India is looking to provide more, especially medicines.
Finally, India is in touch with the leadership of both Russia and Ukraine, he said, adding that the Prime Minister himself had spoken to the Presidents of both countries.
He also informed the House in his written reply that “we have safely repatriated 22,500 Indian nationals, including 147 foreigners belonging to 18 countries, from Ukraine since February 2022”.
He said, according to available records, India had exported pharmaceutical products worth $ 203.68 million to Pakistan from April 2021 to December 2021.
Several examples of non -payment of fees to exporters of Indian pharmaceutical products by Pakistani importers have been reported to us. According to available data, the total unpaid fees to Indian exporters is around $ 4,30,000, he said.
The matter of unpaid fees has been discussed with the relevant authorities in Pakistan through the Indian High Commission in Islamabad. Pakistani authorities have yet to turn around on the issue, he added.