NEW DELHI: Ukraine has requested India for supply of more medicines and their delivery would begin soon, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar informed Lok Sabha on Wednesday.
Responding to a discussion on the situation in Ukraine, Jaishankar said the ground situation in that country calls for urgent humanitarian relief and pointed out that India has already provided 90 tonnes of relief material.
"I was glad to see that many members yesterday noted it and appreciated it. We did it even while we were in the middle of an evacuation," Jaishankar said.
"Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Yulia Svyrydenko called me a few days ago to request for supply of more medicines. The House will be glad to know that this is underway and delivery should start very soon," he said.
He said India will work with the international community and partner countries to mitigate the economic hardships that are resulting from this conflict.
"Obviously, our focus is to soften its impact on our own economy. But equally, there are partners who are going through very tough times. Coordinating on lowering energy prices is one collective initiative. In the case of a neighbour like Sri Lanka, we are even supplying fuel and food on credit," he said.
Noting that food security is another major concern, Jaishankar said India has been approached for the supply of wheat and sugar by many countries and it is responding positively.
"The House will be glad to know that whether it is basmati rice, non-basmati rice, sugar, wheat, our exports in the last quarter have gone up very, very substantially," he said.
"We have delivered for the world in terms of vaccines. We did it earlier for medicines. So, I would like to assure the House, through you, that we will also step forward where global demands for food grains and other materials are concerned, and we will do it in a manner that is helpful to the global economy, which will not take undue advantage of countries in distress," Jaishankar said.
Underlining that there are issues like the supply of edible oil, Jaishankar said commercial diplomacy has to find additional sources to address this disruption.
"There could be more such examples in the days to come. I would like to apprise this House that whether it is the supply of lentils, edible oils, or the requirement of raw materials for fertilisers, we are really looking today in different ways at global markets, from Mercosur to Kazakhstan, Tanzania, Australia, and Canada, to see how we can lighten the burden for the common people in India as a result of this crisis," he said.
On Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury's query as to whether India is considering Rupee-Rouble trade mechanism, Jaishankar said the Finance Ministry is examining the issue and will take a call on it.
"Our effort today is to stabilise economic transactions between India and Russia because it is very important for us. Russia is a very important partner in a variety of areas. I think, all members understand that," he said.
"So, at the moment, there is an Inter-Ministerial Group which is led by the Finance Ministry seeing how the payments issue can be best addressed. There are experiences from the past which are relevant in this regard. But, I think, this is quite honestly an issue where the Finance Minister would, finally, have to take a call," he said.