New Delhi has been criticized by the West over its reluctance to back anti-Russian sanctions. India will continue to import oil from suppliers it deems reliable, despite mounting pressure from the West to stop buying the commodity from Russia, according to the country’s energy minister, Hardeep Singh Puri.
In an interview with CNBC, Puri said New Delhi “didn’t allow the geopolitical turbulence or the pandemic or anything else to come in the way of our ability to supply to our consumer.” The minister added that India has no plans to change this approach.
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“Today we feel confident that we’ll be able to use our market to source from wherever we have to, from wherever we get beneficial terms… Beneficial terms in this situation is: you have to be sure of your supplies,” Puri explained.
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India significantly increased purchases of Russian oil last year, taking advantage of steep discounts that Moscow offered to attract new buyers amid Western sanctions. India recently became Russia’s top importer of crude, while Russia also outpaced India’s former largest suppliers, Saudi Arabia and Iraq, in terms of delivery volumes. New Delhi’s oil imports from Russia surged to a five-month high in December, and some 70% of January’s cargoes of Russian oil were also destined for India, according to Reuters.
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Puri reiterated that India will not reject Russian oil, and cautioned that restrictions could disrupt the global oil market and cause a surge in prices.
“Can you imagine a situation, [where] Iran oil is sanctioned, Russia has problems, Venezuela cannot supply its oil. Then the oil price will not be $200 – it will be $480 [per barrel],” Puri warned.