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EU Confused About Russia Policy: Ex-Envoy on Borrell’s Threats to India

© AP Photo / Frederic SierakowskiEuropean Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell speaks during a media conference after a high-level Belgrade-Pristina dialogue meeting at the EEAS building in Brussels, Tuesday, May 2, 2023.
European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell speaks during a media conference after a high-level Belgrade-Pristina dialogue meeting at the EEAS building in Brussels, Tuesday, May 2, 2023. - Sputnik India, 1920, 16.05.2023
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The Indian leadership has maintained that sourcing crude from Moscow is in the interest of New Delhi’s energy security and an inflation management strategy amid volatility in global commodity prices.
A former Indian diplomat has criticized еру European Union’s (EU) policy on Moscow after the bloc’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell accused New Delhi of “circumvention of western sanctions” for re-routing Russian energy products to the West.

“His remarks are very confusing,” Ambassador Talmiz Ahmad, New Delhi’s former envoy to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), told Sputnik.

Ahmad had previously also served as an Additional Secretary for international cooperation in India’s Petroleum and Natural Gas Ministry.
“The EU has denied itself access to Russian energy products by imposing sanctions against Moscow. Now, they have to live with the consequences,” he underscored.
The G-7 bloc, which includes the EU, imposed a ban on Russian imports in December. The ban was extended in February this year to Russian refined fuel imports as well.
The G-7 has also imposed a price cap of $60 a barrel on any country which purchases Russian crude. Moscow has said that it won’t sell energy to countries that adhere to the Western price cap.
New Delhi has refused to reveal the price at which it is sourcing Russian energy imports.
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Ahmad said that India’s crude trade with Russia was guided by its own “energy security” and what’s best for “our national interest.”
Ahmad also called out Borrell for claiming that it was due to the G7’s price cap on Moscow that New Delhi was able to source crude from Moscow at a “cheaper” price.
"Both India and China have agreed on the price of crude in direct consultations with Russia. The price is also determined by market forces at play,” the ex-official underlined.
The former Indian diplomat concluded that Borrell’s remarks were “useless” and appeared to be more of “domestic posturing” for the European public in order to appear tough on Moscow.
“I don’t understand what is there to discuss with the External Affairs Minister,” wondered Ahmad.
Indian Foreign Minister S. Jaishankar is in Brussels to attend the inaugural tri-ministerial meeting of the EU-India Trade and Technology (TTC) Commission on Tuesday.
Borrell has said that he would take up the matter with the Indian government.

What Did Borrell Say?

In an interview with the British publication Financial Times (FT), Borrell, the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, warned that Brussels would have to “take measures” if diesel or gasoline produced from Russian oil was finding its way into the European market through India.
“That India buys Russian oil, it’s normal. And if, thanks to our limitations on the price of oil, India can buy this oil much cheaper, well the less money Russia gets, the better,” he told FT.
Borrell, however, also sounded off a warning for New Delhi

“But if they use that in order to be a center where Russian oil is being refined and by-products are being sold to us . . . we have to act,” the EU official was quoted as saying.

Soaring Exports of Indian Refined Products to EU

The remarks by the EU official come against the backdrop of soaring diesel and other refined petroleum exports from India.
According to leading energy consultancy firm Kpler, EU’s imports of refined petroleum products from India are expected to touch 360,000 barrels per day, which would make New Delhi Brussel’s top supplier of these products.
At the same time, India’s imports of Russian crude are expected to surge to 44 per cent of its overall oil imports, which would further bolster Moscow’s position as India’s top energy supplier.
As per official data from the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Moscow emerged as the largest exporter of crude to India in 2022-23, having supplied over 50 million tons of oil.
In this April 24, 2015 file photo, pumpjacks work in a field near Lovington, N.M. The United States may have reclaimed the title of the world's biggest oil producer sooner than expected - Sputnik India, 1920, 16.03.2023
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India’s state-run Bank of Baroda reported this month that there has been a 10-fold spike in the shipment of Russian seaborne crude exports to India last year.
The bank said that buying crude from Moscow saved the world’s fifth-biggest economy almost $5 billion, amid global volatility in energy prices caused by Western efforts to phase out Russian commodities from the market.
China and India have emerged as the biggest recipients of Russian crude since last year, as Moscow looks for alternative destinations for its energy products following the G-7 sanctions and price cap.
Before 2022, the EU and the G-7 were the biggest buyers of Russian energy.
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