Washington: In a strong response to criticism of India’s purchase of Russian oil, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Monday said India’s total purchases of Russian oil for one month were less than what Europe does in one afternoon.
Answering a question about India’s import of Russian oil, Jaishankar said, “If you’re looking at (India’s)energy purchases from Russia, I’d suggest your attention should be on Europe. We buy some energy necessary for our energy security. But I suspect, looking at figures, our purchases for the month would be less than what Europe does in an afternoon.”
Over the ongoing war in Ukraine, the minister said that India has made a number of statements that articulate its position on the conflict. “Briefly what that position state is that we are against the conflict, we are for dialogue and diplomacy, we are for urgent cessation of violence and we are prepared to contribute to these objectives in whatever ways.”
Meanwhile, the United States on Monday said that energy imports are not banned from Russia and New Delhi is not violating US sanctions.
This came after Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a virtual meeting with US President Joe Biden wherein both the leaders exchanged views on several regional and global issues.
During Monday’s press conference, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said the call between the two leaders was “constructive and direct”.
“This was a constructive call, it was a productive call. It’s a relationship that is vitally important to the United States and to the president. I would not see it as an adversarial call,” The White House spokesperson added.
Answering a question on whether Biden pushed India to limit Russian energy, Psaki said, “Energy imports are not banned and they don’t violate our sanctions. We certainly recognise that every country is going to take a step in their interest.”
However, Psaki during a press briefing, said Biden told PM Modi that it’s not in India’s interest to increase every import from Russia.
Following Western sanctions on Russian entities in the wake of the Ukraine war, India purchased at least 13 million barrels of Russian crude oil at a discounted rate. This marked a sharp uptick from last year when India imported around 16 million barrels in 2021.
India, the world’s third-largest oil consumer and importer, imports 80 per cent of its oil, but only about 2 per cent to 3 per cent of those purchases come from Russia.