India eyes more discount Russian oil
NEW DELHI, March 14 (Reuters) – India may take up a Russian offer to buy crude oil and other commodities at a discount, two Indian officials said, in a sign that Delhi wants to keep its key trading partner on board despite Western attempts to isolate Moscow through sanctions.
U.S. officials have said in recent weeks they would like India to distance itself from Russia as much as possible, while recognising its heavy reliance on Moscow for everything from arms and ammunitions to missiles and fighter jets.
India has not condemned the invasion of Ukraine and abstained from voting at the United Nations calling out Russia’s aggression. Russia calls its actions in Ukraine a “special operation” to demilitarise and “denazify” the country.
One person within India’s security apparatus said the West understood India’s position, given that it needs to keep its armed forces well supplied amid simmering territorial disputes with China.
India, which imports 80% of its oil needs, usually buys only about 2-3% from Russia. But with oil prices up 40% so far this year, the government is looking at increasing this if it can help reduce its rising energy bill.
“Russia is offering oil and other commodities at a heavy discount. We will be happy to take that,” one of the Indian government officials said.
The official added that such trade required preparatory work including transportation, insurance cover and getting the right blend of crude, but once that was done India would take Russia up on its offer.
The officials, who declined to be identified, did not say how much oil was on offer or what the discount was.
The finance ministry did not reply to an email seeking comment.
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