NEW DELHI: Indian Oil Corp. bought 3 million barrels of crude oil from Russia earlier this week to meet its energy needs, resisting Western pressure to avoid such purchases, an Indian government official said Friday.
The official said India has not imposed sanctions against buying oil and will try to buy more from Russia despite requests not to do so from the United States and other countries.
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The official spoke on condition of anonymity as he was not authorized to speak to reporters.
The US, Britain and other Western countries are urging India to avoid buying Russian oil and gas. Indian media claimed that Russia was offering a discount on oil purchases of 20% below global reference prices.
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Those prices have risen in recent weeks, placing a huge burden on countries like India, which imports 85% of the oil it consumes. Its demand is expected to rise 8.2% this year to 5.15 million barrels per day as the economy recovers from the devastation caused by the pandemic.
White House Press Secretary Jennifer Psaki said earlier this week that Indian purchases of Russian oil would not violate US sanctions, but urged India to “think about where you want to be when the history books are written. “.
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Asked by reporters about India’s purchase of oil from Russia, Foreign Ministry spokesman Arindam Bagchi said many European countries import Russian oil and gas.
“India imports most of its oil needs. We are exploring all possibilities in the global energy market. I don’t think Russia has been a major oil supplier to India,” Bagchi said.
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Iraq is India’s top supplier with a 27% share. Saudi Arabia is second with about 17%, followed by the United Arab Emirates with 13% and the United States with 9%, according to the news agency Press Trust of India.