In the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Western countries have put sanctions on the country, prompting India to consider buying oil from Russia.
Hardeep Singh Puri, India’s petroleum and natural gas minister, said in parliament on Tuesday that the government is in talks with Russia about buying crude oil.
“I’ve had a talk with the Russian Federation’s relevant levels.” “Discussions are currently taking place,” he told legislators. Puri stated that the administration was considering issues such as crude availability and payment.
India is close to sealing a contract to acquire 3.5 million barrels of Russian crude at “significant discounts,” according to a report in the Times of India newspaper. It ascribed the information to people who were aware of the development but asked to remain anonymous in order to discuss it.
India is the world’s third-largest oil importer, relying on foreign crude for more than 80% of its needs.
The Middle East and the United States provide the majority of its supply, with Russian crude accounting for only approximately 3% of total imports.
However, the huge swings in world prices that followed the commencement of hostilities in Ukraine have sparked concerns about the impact of a swelling oil import bill on the country’s nascent economic recovery.
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Analysts believe that New Delhi’s discussions with Moscow over the purchase of crude indicate that India will continue to trade with Russia.
India has being pressed by Russia to boost oil exports and investment. Russia’s oil and petroleum product exports to India have exceeded $1 billion, according to Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak, and there are “obvious prospects to enhance this sum.” He reportedly told Puri that Moscow was “interested in luring more Indian investment into the Russian oil and gas sector and strengthening Russian companies’ sales networks in India.”
At her daily press briefing on Tuesday, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki was asked if India may take up Russia’s offer of discounted crude oil. “Our message to any country continues to be that abide by the sanctions that we have put in place and advocated,” she replied. “However, I don’t believe this would be in violation of those (sanctions).”
“However, consider where you want to stand when history books are written in the future. Support for the Russian government, she noted, “is support for an invasion that is clearly having a disastrous consequence.”
While the United States has prohibited the import of Russian oil, the European Union has imposed penalties on specific Russian enterprises without prohibiting the purchase of Russian oil.
India has refused to vote against Russia at the United Nations, despite pressure from the US and other Western allies. Analysts attribute the country’s current condition to its reliance on Russian armaments.
India has urged for a stop to the violence in Ukraine and for a diplomatic solution to the conflict. However, New Delhi is in a tricky position as it strives to strike a balance between its long-standing connections with Russia and its increasing strategic partnership with the United States, which is considered as crucial in combating China.
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