India rebukes US for warning against Russian oil imports
India prioritizes its interests in oil imports, disregarding the US agenda.
India's public sector company, Indian Oil, purchased approximately three million barrels of crude oil after Russia offered a significant discount compared to Brent crude.
Jen Psaki, White House press secretary, cautioned India that purchasing Russian oil would place the world's largest democracy on the wrong side of history.
Interestingly, in a resounding rebuke to the United States, India has stated that it will continue to import energy from whatever sources best serve its interests, even if that includes Russia.
"India's legitimate energy transactions should not be politicized and countries self-sufficient in oil or those importing from Russia cannot credibly advocate restrictive trading," sources in the Indian Foreign Ministry told Sputnik.
Competition in the oil industry
On Tuesday, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki warned that purchasing Russian oil suggests "support for an invasion that certainly is having a disastrous impact," though she admitted that the purchases would not violate US sanctions.
Indian government sources stated that the rise in oil costs since the Ukraine conflict has enhanced the demand for competitive sourcing.
According to reports citing big importers of Russian oil and gas such as Germany, Italy, France, the Netherlands, Poland, and Lithuania, recent Western sanctions on Moscow contain exemptions to avoid the impact on Russian energy imports.
"Russian banks that are the main channel for European Union payments for Russian energy imports have not been excluded from SWIFT," the sources emphasized, sidestepping concerns expressed by several analysts about how the oil purchase from Russia is paid for.
Read more: 10 years to replace Russian energy supply
India, the world's third-largest energy consumer, has acquired three million barrels of crude oil from Russia at a significant discount to the current Brent crude price.
According to sources, the Russian side offered a 27 to 30% reduction compared to international pricing.
Commodities monitoring and analytics firm Kpler revealed that India has acquired 360,000 barrels of oil per day from Russia so far in March, over four times the 2021 average.
Sources added that India might buy 15 million barrels of crude oil from Russia soon.
Russian deputy PM, Indian oil minister Puri
Russia's deputy prime minister, Alexander Novak, met with India's oil minister, Hardeep Singh Puri, earlier this week.
"We are interested in attracting further Indian investment to the Russian oil and gas sector and expanding Russian companies' sales networks in India," Novak said.
Energy has become a powerful symbol of the long-standing "special and privileged strategic collaboration" with Indian and Russian enterprises, which has resulted in various collaborative projects since 2016.
Rosneft owns 49% of Nayara Energy, a private Indian company that operates the country's second-largest refinery.
The Indian government's budget predictions for the current fiscal year have been thrown off by an unexpected increase in crude oil and gas prices.
Since 85% of India's crude oil requirement (five million barrels per day) must be imported, increasing commodity prices might cost the country 1.6% GDP.
Most imports are from the Middle East (Iraq 23%, Saudi Arabia 18%, UAE 11%). The US has also become an important crude oil source for India (7.3%).