India Calls for International Cooperation on Energy, Remains Neutral on Ukraine War
BY ARUL LOUIS
NEW YORK, NY (IANS) – While welcoming a high-level UN panel’s recommendation to exempt the food purchases by the World Food Program (WFP) from export restrictions, India has called for international cooperation to face the looming energy crisis sparked by the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
India’s Permanent Representative T. S. Tirumurti pointed out that “oil prices are skyrocketing and there is shortage of food grains and fertilizers” disproportionately impacting the developing countries. “Energy security is equally a serious concern and needs to be addressed through cooperative efforts”, he said.
He acknowledged the recommendation of the Global Crisis Response Group headed by Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to exempt from export restrictions the humanitarian purchases of food by WFP.
But he said that it was important to extend similar exemptions to all member states and stakeholders, “who are contributing to this global humanitarian effort”, he said.
The World Trade Organization (WTO) limits how much countries like India where the government purchases food at support prices can export.
The GCRG recommended last month exempting WFP food purchases from WTO restrictions and making it formal at the WTO ministerial meeting in June.
While many countries are facing a food crisis because the conflict in Ukraine has disrupted the supplies from that country and Russia, which together account for an estimated 30 per cent of global wheat exports.
Tirumurti said India “has strongly condemned the killing of civilians in Bucha and supported the call for an independent investigation”.
But that and reaffirming the commitment to the “UN Charter, international law and respect for sovereignty and the territorial integrity of states” were the limits of implied criticisms of Moscow that did not name Russia.
Reiterating New Delhi’s neutrality, Tirumurti said, “India remains on the side of peace and therefore believes that there will be no winning sides in this conflict and while those impacted by this conflict will continue to suffer, diplomacy will be a lasting casualty.”
He said that India welcomed Guterres’s visit to Moscow and Kiev for meetings with the leaders of the two countries.
The GCRG was set up by Guterres to deal with the international fallout of the conflict. The steering committee of the GCRG includes Under-Secretary-General Atul Khare and heads of several international organizations including the World Bank, WTO and the International Monetary Fund.
Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is designated as one of the six “Champions of Global Crisis Response Group.”