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US ‘very energised’ on India taking over presidency of G20: US Charge d’Affaires Jones

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New Delhi:  Procurement of crude oil from Russia by any country is a sovereign decision, Ambassador Elizabeth Jones, the US Charge d’Affaires to India, said on Friday amid increasing disquiet in the West over rise in New Delhi’s import of petroleum products from Moscow.

At the same time, the senior-most American diplomat in India also noted that Washington sees it appropriate for countries to reduce oil revenues for Russia so that it cannot use the resources to increase its capacities to wage the war on Ukraine.

In an interaction with a group of journalists, the diplomat said the US is “very energised” over India taking over the presidency of the G20 and that it demonstrated the leadership capacity of India in a “very complex world”.

Replying to a question, the newly-appointed Charge d’Affaires also said that G20 is not the forum for solving the war in Ukraine and it is not the goal of the grouping.

Jones said the international community has been trying to impress upon Moscow that it does not at all support what Russia has been doing in Ukraine.

“For example, there is an effort underway to try to reduce as much as possible the revenue that Russia earns from its oil sells so that it cannot use those revenues to increase its capacities to wage the war on Ukraine,” the American diplomat said.

Asked about the significant increase in India’s oil imports from Russia when the Western countries are following a policy to reduce Moscow’s oil revenue, Jones said it has to be a sovereign decision.

“The goal, of course, of the policy is to reduce revenues to Russia that could be used to enhance its capacities for continuing to wage the war in Ukraine. That’s the goal. It seems to us that it is appropriate for countries to take that into account. In terms of the oil purchases that they make, that’s something that’s a sovereign decision and has to be a sovereign decision,” Jones said.

India’s import of Russian oil has seen a significant increase in the last few months.

New Delhi has been maintaining that it is its fundamental obligation to ensure that Indian consumers have the best possible access on the most advantageous terms to the international markets.

The Charge d’Affaires also noted the implications of the war in UKraine and specifically mentioned its adverse impact on food security, climate change and energy security.

“The threat of food and energy security is a very serious problem for many many countries,” she said.

Asked about Washington’s expectations from India’s G20 presidency, Jones cited issues like climate change, education, health among others.

“We are very energised by India taking over the presidency of the G20 and I say that because I think it demonstrates to the international community the leadership capacity of India in a very complex world and in a world in which there is a tremendous effort to find ways to improve situation, particularly in climate, health education, the kinds of issues that touch peoples’ lives,” she said.

India assumed the presidency of the G20 grouping on Thursday.

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