India Buys Russian Oil, Defended by Finance Minister and MEA

On Friday, India defended its decision to buy oil from Russia despite tough western sanctions imposed on Moscow after its launched a full scale of Ukraine on February 24, 2022.

“We have started buying Russian oil and have bought at least 3 to 4 days of supply. I will put my energy security and my country’s interest first. If supply is available at a discount, why shouldn’t I buy it?” said Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman while speaking at a Businesses event in Mumbai. 

Interestingly, British Foreign Secretary Elizabeth Truss was also present at the occasion when she made the statement. 

External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar also defended India’s decision on buying Russian oil at discounted prices by arguing that even “Europe has bought 15 percent more oil and gas from Russia than it did the month before,” as reported by Business Standard.

He said that “it’s natural for countries to go out into the market and look for good deals for their people.”

Taking a dig at the Western buyers of Russian oil, he quipped, “If we wait for two or three months and look at the big buyers of Russian gas and oil, I suspect the list won’t be very different from what it used to be.”

Responding to Jaishankar, UK Foreign Secretary Elizabeth Truss said that she understands India geopolitical and economic interests and respects its decision to buy cheaper Russian oil.

“India is a sovereign nation, and I am not going to tell India what to do,” she said.

These statements from Indian and British high-level ministers came after US Deputy National Security Advisor Daleep Singh told media persons that the US would like to see a rapid increase in India’s purchase of Russian oil.

During a recent visit to India, Singh even tacitly warned India to desist from getting closer to Russia. He said that given the changed geopolitical scenario in the aftermath of the Ukraine crisis, India shouldn’t expect Russia to come to its aid in case of a new border conflict on Indo-China power. 

He was referring to the Galwan incident in June 2020, when India lost over 20 soldiers during a brutal border skirmish with China in the Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir. At that time, Russia had expressed solidarity with India’s losses. 

Meanwhile, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Friday met Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Delhi for over 40 minutes. In addition to reporting to the Indian Premier about the progress of peace efforts regarding the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict, he reportedly sought deeper Indio-Russian economic cooperation.

At the onset of the conflict, Western countries have put sanctions on Russia, which have completely paralyzed the Russian economy. Russia has already been removed from the international SWIFT banking system. Its stock markets have crashed, and The Economist says that the Russian economy could further sink by over seven percent due to the Ukraine conflict. 

To counter the sanctions, Russia is selling oils at heavily discounted prices.

Further, Russia has also suffered huge military setbacks in its botched invasion of Ukraine. As per intelligence sources, it had planned to overrun Ukraine within days. However, it has been over seven weeks, and Russia has failed to make any significant advances in Ukraine except in some Russian-dominated Eastern regions. 

Worse, Ukraine, with the help of Western support and weapons, has inflicted heavy casualties on the Russian side.

Western estimates show Russia has lost over 20000 men in the last few weeks. If true, then by all accounts, this is the biggest war casualty suffered by Russia since World War II.

Military experts even believe that the Ukrainian invasion has completely paralyzed the Russian defenses, and it has turned towards China for help.

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