India remained diplomatically silent as Russian President Vladimir Putin started his Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine, which drew international censure and sanctions. Now that the economic sanctions are starting to bite, Moscow is looking to India once more.
An Indian official said Thursday that India, the world’s third-largest oil importer after China and the United States, had agreed to buy 3 million barrels of Russian oil at a steep discount.
India buys oil from Russia, donates to Ukraine
However, the amount may rise in the coming months, reinforcing a growing view that India is committed to maintaining its vast commercial and military relations with Moscow, even as the US and its allies encourage governments across the world to isolate Russia.
Apart from the oil contract, two other Indian officials with knowledge of the topic said the Indian government is looking at methods to sustain commerce with Russia by resurrecting a Cold War-era arrangement known as the rupee-ruble exchange.
The system, which would function similarly to a trade ledger between the two nations, would allow Indian and Russian companies to conduct business without having to use US dollars — the world’s most widely used currency — and thereby reduce the danger of US sanctions.
Some US legislators have chastised India in recent weeks after it repeatedly refused to criticize Russia at the United Nations, according to The Washington Post via MSN. Officials in the Biden administration, on the other hand, have frequently refrained from condemning an Asian company that is considered as a critical component of the government’s anti-China policy.
PM Modi urges immediate ceasefire
According to India’s top envoy to the United Nations, which ensured the safe return of about 22,500 of its citizens from Ukraine, the country also assisted in the evacuation of nationals from 18 other countries, as he expressed concern over the deteriorating humanitarian situation in the war-torn country.
Ambassador Tirumurti said there was an “urgent need” to address the humanitarian needs of the impacted population during a UN Security Council Briefing on Ukraine on Thursday. He emphasized the need for humanitarian activity to be governed by values of humanism, neutrality, impartiality, and independence at all times.
Per NDTV, the Prime Minister stated, “These steps should not be politicized.” Prime Minister Narendra Modi has called for a quick ceasefire, according to Ambassador Tirumurti, who also stressed that there is no alternative to discussion and diplomacy.