New Delhi: UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss Thursday joined a long list of foreign dignitaries making a beeline to India to give New Delhi yet another ‘diplomatic push’ to call out Russia over the Ukraine war.
Truss’s visit also came on the eve of Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s meeting with External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar, which is expected to take place Friday.
Speaking before meeting Jaishankar Thursday, Truss said, “Deeper ties between Britain and India will boost security in the Indo-Pacific and globally, and create jobs and opportunities in both countries.”
“This matters even more in the context of Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, and underlines the need for free democracies to work closer together in areas like defence, trade and cybersecurity,” she added.
She also said, “India is an economic and tech powerhouse, the world’s largest democracy and a great friend of Britain, and I want to build an even closer relationship between our two nations.”
At an event organised by the Indian Council of World Affairs (ICWA), Truss said, “We need to do all we can within our powers to defend Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty.” She added that both countries should now “focus on the future” with more emphasis on defence and security ties.
She further said that strengthening ties with India is now more important than before.
“We are living in a more insecure world. We have seen (Russian President Vladimir) Putin’s appalling invasion of Ukraine and violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and shattering of European security,” she said.
Europe buying Russian oil
On the issue of Europe buying Russian oil, Truss said “We are ending our dependence on Russian oil by the end of this year,” adding that the decision would be made jointly at the G7.
“I will not tell India what to do,” she said, when asked what the UK thinks of India’s decision to buy oil from Russia. However, she said that Europe did not do enough in terms of reducing energy imports from Russia during its 2014 invasion of Crimea, when it annexed the region from Ukraine. “We are seeing the result of that now.”
She further said that the UK will continue to put pressure on Russia, and continue to supply arms to Ukraine.
According to Jaishankar, “The world has changed in many ways. Obviously, one part of it is the conflict in Ukraine itself, the politics of the conflict and what it has done in terms of challenges for diplomacy and policies of various countries.”
He also added that the “real problems” resulting from the Ukraine war are “still to come”.
“We are seeing the impact of the conflict on energy prices, on commodities. There would be other disruptions. If the financial world is disrupted and the logistics world is disrupted and the markets are in a turmoil, all of these will have consequences for the rest of the world.”
A warm welcome to UK Foreign Secretary @trussliz in New Delhi.
Look forward to our discussions today. Working together to realise Roadmap 2030. pic.twitter.com/wSnHPKX8U2
— Dr. S. Jaishankar (@DrSJaishankar) March 31, 2022
He also hinted that India and the UK might soon hold 2+2 format talks between the foreign and defence ministers of the two countries.
(Edited by Rohan Manoj)