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Relationship with Russia serves India’s interests well, says Jaishankar in Australia

The old Parliament house of Australia in Canberra was lit in India's national colours on Monday (Image courtesy: Twitter/@DrSJaishankar)

India has once again stressed that it will continue to exercise choices that are in its national interest, especially when it comes to dealing with major partner Russia.

After Petroleum Minister Hardeep Puri asserted in Washington last week that India is free to buy oil from wherever necessary, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, currently on a trip to Australia, defended the use of Russian arms by Indian forces.

“We have a long-standing relationship with Russia, and this relationship has served our interests well. We have a substantial inventory of Soviet and Russian-origin weapons,” Jaishankar responded to local media after holding the 13th Foreign Ministers’ Framework Dialogue (FMFD) with his Australian counterpart Penny Wong in Canberra today.

“This inventory grew for various reasons including the West not supplying weapons to India for decades and in fact seeing the military dictatorship next to us as a preferred partner. In international politics, we make judgments which are reflective of our future interests and current situation,” he added.

During the talks, both ministers took stock of the steady progress of their Comprehensive Strategic Partnership, including important ministerial visits in recent months.

“Discussed ECTA progress; defence; counter terrorism; mobility of talent & skills, education; double taxation avoidance; critical minerals; cyber; clean energy and SDGs. Exchanged views on global and regional developments,recognizing our strong convergences and shared interests,” Jaishankar tweeted after the meeting.

Both countries also agreed to work closely together in Quad, trilaterals, G20, UN and other important forums.

“We have been very clearly against the conflict in Ukraine. We believe it does not serve the interest of anybody, the participants, or the international community. As the country of the global south, we have been seeing first hand how much it has impacted low-income countries. As PM Modi said in Samarkand, this is not an era of war,” the minister said.

This is Jaishankar’s second visit to Australia this year, demonstrating the importance both countries place on their partnership which Canberra said is a critical part of shaping the region it wants.

“At the Foreign Ministers’ Framework Dialogue, we discussed accelerating and deepening economic ties, including through our Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement,” Wong said in a statement later.

“We also discussed strengthening our people to people ties and education links, reinforcing our defence and security cooperation and enhancing our climate change and new clean energy engagement, including through the Quad. We agreed to expand our diplomatic footprints, with Australia recommitting to open a Consulate-General in Bengaluru, and India planning an additional consulate in Australia,” she mentioned.

Also Read: India free to buy oil from wherever necessary: Petroleum Minister Hardeep Puri