EU urges India and neighbors to ditch Russia trade — Analysis

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has urged India to drop its trade in oil and gas with Russia, insisting that such business is not “Sustainable.” She spoke while in the South Asian country for a multinational conference.

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The fighting in Ukraine, which has not spilled over into any EU member state so far, constitutes “This stark reminder is that dependence on Russian fossil fuels cannot be sustained,” von der Leyen insisted during a speech on Sunday at the International Solar Alliance. Russia has thus far shown willingness to continue sending energy to even “Unfriendly Countries,” although it insists that gas be paid for in rubles. However, the US and several European countries have demanded a complete energy embargo. Nevertheless, there are a few skeptics like Germany and Austria who warn that the European continent cannot be completely weaned from Russian energy before the end of this year.

Whatever happens in Ukraine, will have consequences” for India and the surrounding region, von der Leyen said, continuing the anti-Russia theme in her keynote address at India’s Raisina Dialogue conference on geopolitics and economics on Monday, and pointing to soaring prices of grain, energy and fertilizer as proof of her statement.

While boasting that Europe had “Effective sanctions were placed,” von der Leyen nevertheless implied it was India’s duty to add to that “effectiveness,” insisting “For the Indo-Pacific, the same importance is placed on Europe’s borders and rejection of spheres d’influence.

Despite that remark, she did not hesitate to include India in Europe’s own sphere of influence, claiming that “India and the European Union have fundamental common values and shared interests,” such as a “Indo-Pacific is open and free.” 

The EU and India have agreed to launch a shared trade and technology council for “in-depth strategic engagement,” the second such pact signed by the continental alliance. Other agreements are with the US. A joint statement by the two parties suggested the council would focus on “Trade, security and trusted technology are all interconnected.”

India, which has thus far declined to throw its weight behind NATO’s economic warfare against Russia, has hosted senior officials from various countries this month, many of whom in some way have sought to sway New Delhi toward joining the sanctions regime. Just days before von der Leyen’s arrival, UK PM Boris Johnson visited the country to “Intensify the partnership over time” between Britain and its former colony, with an eye toward shifting Indian policy on Russia. Mehr European dignitaries should join von der Leyen during the Raisina Dialogue conference.

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Russia attacked Ukraine in late February, following Kiev’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements, first signed in 2014, and Moscow’s eventual recognition of the Donbass republics of Donetsk and Lugansk. French and German protocols were created to provide special status for the Ukrainian states that had separated from the state.

In recent years, the Kremlin demands that Ukraine declares itself neutral in order to be able to join NATO. Kiev maintains that Russia’s offensive was not provoked and denies claims that it planned to seize the two republics.



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