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‘Putin’s war’ has put some urgency on India-EU FTA talks: German envoy- Mrit News

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With a steep surge in global oil prices, India has increased its purchase of discounted Russian oil

With a steep surge in global oil prices, India has increased its purchase of discounted Russian oil

India and the European Union (EU) were working on the first texts of the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) and “Putin’s war” in Ukraine had put “some urgency” to it, German envoy to India Walter J. Lindner has said.

Ukraine, along with climate change, shift to renewable energy and fight against terror, would be on top of the agenda in the coming G7 summit next month for which India had also been invited, he stated.

In a media interaction organised by the Indian Women Press Corps, Mr. Lindner said, “They are now working on the first texts but of course the devil is in the detail… Most important thing is things are happening right now. Putin’s war has also put some urgency to it. We see that we need partners to keep trade flowing in the world, and if we have partners with similar views which is European Union and India, it helps. This gave an extra push of urgency to both sides…”

With a steep surge in global oil prices, India has increased its purchase of discounted Russian oil, while Russia has also opened up its commodities market to India, offering items at competitive rates. 

On the G7 summit, the envoy said that it’s five weeks to go and things were still in the flow. Listing some of the issues on top of the agenda, he said they were Ukraine, cooperation on clean energy and on how we get out of the world crisis of COVID-19, world crisis of this war with a new start with less dependencies on non-renewable energy and cooperation in the fight against terror. “So there quite a few topics which our ministries are working on at the moment… India is invited and will participate in many of these discussions,” he noted.

India’s stand on Ukraine war

On India’s stand on the Ukraine war and on the resolutions in the United Nations, the envoy, who is set to leave India in few weeks, said there were expectations that India would condemn “more clearly” the Russian invasion, but they didn’t. 

“But that never really damaged the relationship… We respect India’s position. Every country has its own interests, its won neighbourhood, its own dependencies from weaponries, some soft spots, friendships…,” he observed. Every country in the world had “its right to calibrate according to the interests and regional position, its behaviour of voting…”

Mr. Lindner stressed that their point from the beginning was “not to criticise India” and they “never” did that. “Our point was to make clear what’s really at stake. There we really share the same wavelength as India. What’s at stake is, if a brutal aggression like Putin’s war on a peaceful neighbour Ukraine, an independent sovereign state, if such an aggression would go unpunished without consequences then who is next?,” he remarked. 

He further said that “there are quite a number of countries in the world, including big ones, including those who are close to India, who might get some appetite – border corrections, border disputes.. Because Putin used force, lets do the same.”

He added, “This was our point. That’s the reason why we have to be swift in our actions. To prevent this from being repeated by other nations… India shares a lot of this understanding”.

Oil, food crises

On the continuing situation, Mr. Lindner pointed out that other repercussions were the oil crisis worldwide that was also affecting India and the food crisis. 

The reason for the food crisis, he said, was because Russia was blockading the harvest of Ukraine. In Ukraine, there were more than 5 mn tonnes of wheat in the warehouses. They could not be transported to Africa and other countries because Russia was “blocking” Mariupol and other harbours in the Black Sea. “So, it is because of Putin’s aggressive war and his behaviour to blockade all this we have hunger and the problem of feeding people around the globe,” he noted.

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