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India is dependent on oil imports and always exploring options, Russia not a major supplier: MEA on reports of India buying discounted Russian oil

The statement came amid reports by many media outlets that India is accepting Moscow's offer of discounted crude oil and getting closer to establishing an alternative payment system in order to maintain trade with Russia.

The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) Thursday clarified that Russia is not a major crude oil supplier for India, and the country is “always exploring all possibilities in the global energy markets” to bring oil home. The statement came amid reports by many media outlets that India is accepting Moscow’s offer of discounted crude oil and getting closer to establishing an alternative payment system in order to maintain trade with Russia.

“We are always exploring all possibilities in global energy markets because of the situation of importing our oil requirements. I don’t think Russia has been a major supplier,” news agency ANI quoted MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi as saying.

When asked if India intends to import more Russian oil, Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson Arindam Bagchi stated that almost all of India’s energy requirements are imported, and the country is always looking for new options. According to the MEA spokesperson, “a number of countries are importing energy from Europe, particularly from Europe.”

“The majority of India’s oil needs are met by imports. As a result of the situation of importing our oil requirements, we are constantly exploring all options in global energy markets. I don’t believe Russia has been a significant supplier”, he said when asked if India buys crude oil from Russia.

US journalist threatens India with sanctions for buying Russian oil

On March 14 it was reported in many media outlets that Russia has offered India crude oil at a discounted price. A report in Reuters quoted an unnamed Indian government official saying that Russia is offering crude oil and other commodities at a discounted rate and India is considering to take the offer.

“Russia is offering oil and other commodities at a heavy discount. We will be happy to take that,” the quote mentioned. Another report in Mint quoted two unnamed officials stating that India is working on a currency arrangement for the trade, preferable a Rupee-Rouble trade.

Due to sanctions imposed by US and European nations, Russia is find it difficult to export oil. Although European countries have not stopped buying oil and gas from Russia, sanctions on Russian banking system have caused difficulties for the oil sector along with all other sectors.

As soon as the reports were shared, many US and European ‘experts’ started condemning India while saying that the US government should sanction India if India buys Russian crude oil. Some ‘experts’ even brought in sanctimonious dismissal, claiming that buying crude oil from Russia is immoral and against values.

‘Journalist’ Trish Regan’s tweet was worded as a threat, saying that if India buys Russian oil, there should be US sanctions against India. She even added that US sanctions will devastate the Indian economy.

Trish Regan’s tweet warning India of sanctions got a wide variety of responses from Indians. Many reminded Regan that the US cannot keep threatening every country with sanctions, because sanctions, in the long run, are mostly unproductive and hurt both ways. Moreover, despite announcing sanctions against Russia, European countries have not stopped buying Russian oil and gas, because they don’t have any alternate source for the same at present.

Some pointed out that Indian Oil has bought the Russian crude at a significant discount from Vitol, reportedly 3 million barrels for May delivery and it did not see a problem paying for it because oil, as a commodity, is not banned.

India’s plans to buy discounted crude oil from Russia not a violation of sanctions: US

On Wednesday, March 16, the US clarified that India’s plans to purchase discounted crude oil from Russia will not lead to violation of sanctions. However, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said that supporting the Russian leadership will mean supporting a ‘devastating’ invasion.

It is notable here that after a lot of angry venting and ‘sanctions’ against India after the 1998 nuclear tests, the USA had quietly removed most of the civilian sanctions by the end of 1999 and by the end of 2001, all defence sanctions against India were abolished too. By 2008, the USA had recognised India as de-facto civilian and military nuclear power. Multiple US governments over the years, have proclaimed India as a “major strategic partner’.

India, as a rapidly growing economy with a population of over 1.3 billion people, is a big market and USA understands that it is not in their interests to go against India, not when they are looking for allies in the Indo-Pacific.

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OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staffhttps://www.opindia.com
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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