April 19, 2024

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'We Will Try To...': S Jaishankar On EU, G7 Ban On Russian Diamond Imports

PM Modi has himself raised the issue with different leaders, Says S Jaishankar. (File)

Surat:

The Indian government has taken up on priority the issue of ban on imports of Russian-origin unpolished diamonds by the European Union (EU) and G7 nations as the measure will end up hurting the domestic diamond polishing industry mainly centred in Gujarat’s Surat city, said External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Monday.

The initial stage of an EU and G7 ban on imports of Russia-origin diamonds via third countries came into effect in early March, a step taken as part of sanctions on Moscow in response to its invasion of Ukraine.

“Our effort is to delay (the initial stage of ban), soften it, and best of all, not let this happen at all. For us, this has become a priority issue, and we will try to find out a solution in coming days,” S Jaishankar said.

He was responding to a question on how the ban is going to hurt the Surat diamond industry, which polishes 90 per cent of the world’s rough diamond.

S Jaishankar said at an interaction with young business leaders organised by the Disha Foundation in Surat that the 27-member EU has imposed sanctions on imports of Russian diamonds, and G7, the group of the world’s wealthiest nations, is also going in that direction.

The countries which have banned the imports of Russian rough diamonds via third countries as part of sanctions on Russia in response to its invasion of Ukraine are only consumers and their employment does not depend on it, the minister noted.

“Their idea is to hurt Russia. And this subject is completely different from blood diamonds. Prime Minister (Narendra) Modi has himself raised the issue with different leaders and sent me to different countries, including Belgium (which currently holds the EU’s rotating presidency), to discuss the issue with the government there,” S Jaishankar emphasised.

Sanction have been currently imposed on 1-carat diamond, and the issue can be resolved if there is a ceasefire (between Russia and Ukraine), but this is not likely to happen any time soon, he said.

“If the war continues, it will create challenges (for the Indian diamond industry). We are holding discussions collectively and on a bilateral basis over the issue. Only a few days ago, PM Modi talked to the Belgian Prime Minister (Alexander De Croo), and our (Union Commerce) Minister Piyush Goyal is going to follow up on this in the next few days,” S Jaishankar informed.

The government’s effort is to make the EU and G7 countries understand that their decision ends up hurting the third person and not the target (a reference to Russia), the minister pointed out.

As far as the challenges that the Surat textile industry faces from Bangladesh and Vietnam are concerned, the Indian government’s effort to enter into a Free Trade Agreement with the EU will help tackle them as the sector will be a big beneficiary of such a business pact, he noted.

In his interaction, S Jaishankar stressed that instead of following the ‘China Plus One’ strategy, entering into the new supply chain being created across the world and gaining a foothold in the digital world through India’s reputation of trustworthiness will help the country’s industry.

The strategy encourages companies to diversify their supply chain and manufacturing activities away from China to mitigate risks.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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