Each country is going to make its own decision: Vedant Patel on India purchasing oil from Russia
New Delhi, March 5: The United States has said that “each country is going to make its own decision” when asked about India’s ties with Russia and purchase of oil from Russia.
US Department of State Principal Deputy Spokesperson Vedant Patel said in an exclusive interview with ANI that, “Our understanding is that of course each country is going to make their own decisions. But the one thing that we’ve been clear about on Russia and specifically Russian energy sales is…why we’ve been such a big advocate for the oil price cap. Because what the price cap does is that it keeps oil and energy flowing onto the market and making sure that supply meets demands. But it also ensures that Russia doesn’t get a windfall of profits to fund its war machine. We’ve never intended for anybody to try and keep energy off of the market.”
Asked about India’s stance on recent international events including the Ukraine conflict, Vedant Patel said that New Delhi has taken on an incredible role and they have an “ambitious agenda” for their G20 Presidency. He further said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar have been clear that “this is not the time of war” and a resolution needs to be made based on the United Nations charter.
“I think India has taken on an incredibly important role. You have to remember that one of the key things about this year 2023 is that India has the G20 Presidency and they have a very ambitious agenda for their G20 Presidency, one that the United States is ready to partner with them on. And as it relates to Ukraine, you have seen Prime Minister Modi and External Affairs Minister Jaishankar be very clear about how this is not the time for war and that a resolution needs to come one that is consistent with the UN charter. These are all values that we share also,” Patel said.
During his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Samarkand last year, PM Narendra Modi said, “today’s era is not of war.” Since the beginning of the war between Russia and Ukraine in February last year, India has insisted on resolving the dispute through dialogue and diplomacy.
Patel also spoke about the agenda of the G20 Foreign Ministers meeting held on March 2 in New Delhi. He said, “You saw in the opening and second session talking about very important issues that are affecting every corner of the planet, whether it be food security, energy security, economic ties and things of that nature.”
Patel termed India-US ties as “one of the most consequential bilateral relationships.” He called India a critical partner for the US in various sectors, including maintaining the rules-based order and shared vision for a free and open Indo-Pacific.
“I think that our bilateral relationship, the United States’ bilateral relationship with India is one of the most consequential bilateral relationships that we have. And India is a critical partner in a number of areas, certainly to maintaining the rules-based international order, our vision, our shared vision for a free and open Indo-Pacific. You have to remember that we are two of the world’s largest democracies, and so we have a lot of shared values and shared priorities,” he said.
Born in Ahmedabad, Patel moved to the US when he was very young. He created history last September (2022) by becoming the first Indian-American to hold the daily State Department press conference. Speaking to ANI, he said that he still has a lot of extended family in the city.
“One of my favorite things about Ahmedabad which I know that a lot of people share and is really special trait about Gujarat as a whole, is just the really amazing and delicious special street food that exists. And I know that is something that a lot of people, not just the Prime Minister, think is really great about,” he said.