India today expressed concern over pressure to procure oil at affordable prices, while questioning a price cap for Russian oil proposed by the Group of Seven (G7). In a meeting with US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, Foreign Minister S Jaishankar said: “We are a $2,000 per capita economy. We are concerned about oil prices. Oil prices make us uneasy. That is our biggest concern,” News agency ANI reports.
Briefing the media after the meeting, Mr Jaishankar said there had been “brief discussions” on price caps and that oil in developing countries was a matter of deep concern. “We are working with our partners so that oil revenues don’t fuel the war in Ukraine,” Mr Blinken told a joint news conference.
The idea of the G7 cap is to limit Russia’s revenue from oil sales as part of the sanctions imposed on it. The Biden administration is trying to resist a push to enforce its laws to keep Russian oil supplied in global markets. EU countries are trying to reach an agreement on the contentious issue, where it faces resistance from several member states.
For a country like India, the big concern is where price caps will be set. Since the invasion of Ukraine and subsequent sanctions on Russia, India has been the second-biggest buyer of Russian oil after China, with Moscow offering deep discounts.
“You have to understand that the energy market has been under tremendous pressure over the past two months. The countries of the global south are finding it difficult to compete for limited energy sources, not only in terms of price increases but often in terms of availability,” Mr Jaishankar told reporters .
“Our concern at the moment is that energy markets that are already under stress have to soften. We will judge any scenario based on how it affects us and other countries … how developing countries have a very, very deep sense of how their energy security is Focus on whether the needs are being met,” he added.
Mr. Jaishankar is visiting the United States for bilateral consultations with several ministers, including Mr. Blinken. He later said the discussions were about political coordination and an assessment of regional and global challenges.
In today’s bilateral talks, the US reiterated Prime Minister Modi’s comments on the conflict in Ukraine – “This is not the age of war”. Mr Blinken, citing comments during the discussion, said: “We totally agree”.
Earlier today, Mr Jashankar held discussions with US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin at the Pentagon.
“I do share that this year[due to]various reasons, the global situation has become more challenging, especially in the Indo-Pacific region,” Mr. Jaishankar said of China’s position in the Indo-Pacific region.