Foreign minister S Jaishankar, who drew praise earlier this week over his comments on India’s Russian energy purchase after the India-US 2+2 dialogue amid a debate over the Ukraine war, on Wednesday said that America “does acknowledge the difference between India and China” over their respective stance on the Kremlin. “You are asking me, do the Americans distinguish and differentiate between India and China over their respective stance on Russia amid the Ukraine crisis. Obviously, they do,” Jaishankar said while responding to a question at a media briefing.

China and India have abstained from voting against the Kremlin over the Ukraine war at the United Nations. But India has been repeatedly calling for an end to violence in the war-battered country.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has also spoken to presidents of both countries – Russia’s Vladimir Putin and Ukraine’s Volodymyr Zelensky – after the war started on February 24, expressing concern over the conflict.

On India, the White House has said that New Delhi is not violating any sanctions by purchasing oil from Russia, which is “1-2 per cent of the country’s total imports”.

Beijing had last month faced pressure from the West on taking punitive measures against Moscow amid the war.

Jaishankar said the Moscow-Kyiv conflict was one of the topics of discussion when he met Chinese counterpart Wang Yi last month. “If you are asking me how we look at unfolding developments in Ukraine, I had Chinese minister Wang Yi come to India last month. We shared our respective analyses. But we agreed and still agree that dialogue and cessation of hostilities would be a necessary first step,” he told news agency ANI.

Jaishankar had drawn praise earlier this week when, while addressing a media briefing, he had said that India’s monthly energy purchase from Russia was less than what Europe buys in an afternoon. “Every country needs to secure its energy needs,” he had said.