“India has the right to buy Russian oil”

The top buyers of Russian oil and gas include Germany, Italy, France and the Netherlands. India’s reliance on imported energy should not be politicized, the source says

The top buyers of Russian oil and gas include Germany, Italy, France and the Netherlands. India’s reliance on imported energy should not be politicized, the source says

India on Friday strongly justified its right to proceed with buying Russian energyThe US asked the country to stop buying Russian oil and gas.

A source said that India’s energy sector is dependent on large imports and that the country’s reliance on imported energy should not be “politicised”.

“Oil self-sufficient countries or those that import themselves from Russia cannot credibly advocate restrictive trade,” the source said, indirectly responding to growing Western pressure to halt imports of oil and gas from Russia.

Peppystores had previously reported that India’s energy majors had pushed ahead with buying oil and gas from Russia at a “discount”.

The assertion of India’s position came as international demands grew for India to stop buying Russian energy. The issue is expected to be discussed in talks during Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s March 19-20 visit to the 14th India-Japan Summit. In a statement released on Friday, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Ukraine would be on the agenda at his virtual meeting with Prime Minister Modi on March 21. The issue is also expected to come up during the visit of British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, probably later this month. All three countries – Australia, Japan and the UK – have imposed sanctions on Russia.

The US has increased diplomatic pressure on India to stop buying Russian energy.

White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki equated buying energy from Russia with “support for the Russian leadership,” saying, “Also, think about where you want to be if history books are being written at this moment.”

The Indian side argued that a large number of Western and especially European countries get energy from Russia, despite Moscow conducting an aggressive military operation across Ukraine.

The top buyers of Russian oil and gas include Germany, Italy, France and the Netherlands. The source pointed out that in addition to the big countries of Europe, even frontline states like Poland, Lithuania, Romania and Finland imported large amounts of Russian crude oil.

The pressure increases

Pressure on India to stop buying Russian oil and gas has mounted amid intensifying attacks on Ukraine. On Friday, Russia launched a full-scale attack on the airport in the historic city of Lviv near the Polish border. Similar geopolitical crises in the past involving Iran and Venezuela have forced India to opt for alternative energy sources that “come with higher costs,” the source said.

The energy policy was a subtext to the Ukraine crisis, which erupted on February 24 with the Russian armed forces’ “military special operation”. Soon after, Germany halted the Nord Stream 2 – a 1,230km gas pipeline – which would have dramatically increased the availability of Russian gas in Germany.

Against this backdrop, companies with heavy exposure to the US market canceled orders for Russian crude oil and gas. However, this freed up a large amount of Russian energy, which Moscow is making available to potential buyers at a reduced price. The source said the push to acquire Russian oil and gas is part of “competitive sourcing”.

The Indian side has pointed out that the sanctions against Russia have been harsh as they targeted President Vladimir Putin and his top officials, but despite this intensity they have ‘hollows’ for buyers of Russian energy, which will benefit Western powers.

The Russian banks, which are the main channels for payments in the energy business, will remain part of the SWIFT payment gateway. After the invasion of Ukraine, Russia was partially banned from SWIFT. French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire described the measure as a “financial nuclear weapon”.

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