NEW DELHI : India’s old ally Russia may be all set to sell India 3.5 million barrels of its crude at deep discounts, people in the know have told . As a part of the deal, Russia will also take care of shipping and insurance for delivering the crude to India.
So far, India has abstained from taking any stand in the Russia-Ukraine war except that of resolution via dialogue. The White House earlier had said that if India were to take up the Russian offer of discounted oil, it would not violate sanctions deployed by Washington.
Oil Minister Shri Hardeep Puri had told the Rajya Sabha that India was looking into a Russian offer of discounted oil. Though the amount being discussed presently with Russia for crude is not very large, a discount will also help lower the cost for India, report came that the said oil will be delivered over a few months.
The Centre is yet to work out the payment mechanism, however, a Rupee-Rouble arrangement has been reported. A final decision on the issue is expected over the next few days with other options also on the table.
India depends on imports to meet 85% of its oil need. At 3.6 million tonne, Russian crude accounted for 2% of 176 million tonnes imported by India between April 2021 and January 2022.
Officials of the Biden administration have shown an understanding of India’s position and have told lawmakers that New Delhi has a major dependence on Russian military supplies for its national security.
However, Indian-American Congressman Dr Ami Bera expressed disappointment over reports that India is contemplating buying Russian oil at a steeply discounted rate.
“If reports are accurate and India makes this decision to buy Russian oil at a discounted price, New Delhi would be choosing to side with Vladimir Putin at a pivotal moment in history when countries across the world are united in support of the Ukrainian people and against Russia’s deadly invasion,” he said.
In what has turned out to be a volatile streak, oil has tumbled into a bear market after losing more than 20% since closing at the highest level since 2008 just over a week ago. Caught between Chinese lockdown, Russia-Ukraine war & Iran nuclear talks, oil futures in New York declined for a second session and closed below $97 a barrel while Brent settled below $100.