Moscow has reportedly offered crude oil and other commodities at a discount to New Delhi, at a time when the Russian economy has been hit hard by sanctions imposed by the US and its allies over President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. As the West seeks to isolate Putin, US officials have acknowledged India’s dependence on Russia for military hardware but said they would like to see New Delhi distancing itself from Moscow.
Asked about reports that India had taken up the Russian offer of crude at discounted rates, Bagchi did not deny the development but said: “India does import most of its oil requirements… So we are always exploring all possibilities in global energy markets because of this situation that we face of importing our oil requirements.”
Noting that Russia has not been a major supplier of oil for India, Bagchi said: “On imports of energy from Russia – let me just highlight that a number of countries are doing so, especially in Europe, and for the moment I’ll leave it at that.”
“We are a major oil importer and we are looking at all options at all points, we need the energy.”
State-run Indian Oil Corporation has reportedly bought three million barrels of crude oil that Russia offered at a steep discount on prevailing global rates. European powers such as Germany have faced criticism for continuing to procure energy from Russia while putting pressure on other countries to reduce oil purchases and economic ties with Russia.