Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Amid grumbling in Europe, India ups its purchase of Russian crude oil to new high – Times of India

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NEW DELHI: India has strongly criticised European Union policy chief Joseph Borrell’s call for action against Indian refined products from Russia crude, stating that any such move would be in violation of the bloc’s own regulations.
Another record highIndia’s oil imports from Russia have been hitting record highs almost every month since the West slapped severe sanctions against Russia for its invasion of Ukraine. Russia remained the top oil supplier to India for the sixth-straight month in April, followed by Iraq and Saudi Arabia.

While some countries, including member states of the EU, have shunned purchases from Moscow, India has been on a Russian oil-buying binge.

India imported about 1.9 million barrels per day (bpd) of Russian oil in April, about 4.4% higher than the previous month. This accounts for about two-fifths of the nation’s overall purchases, said a Reuters report citing data obtained from trade sources.

Oil imports from Russia also rose as Indian Oil Corp, the country’s top refiner, raised the size of its annual import deal with Rosneft.

Higher imports from Russian raised the share of oil from the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) countries – Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Russia – to 43.6% of an overall 4.81 million bpd imported by India last month.

Circumvention of sanctions: BorrellOn May 16, Borrell said that Brussels was aware that Indian refiners are buying large volumes of Russian crude oil and processing it into products for sale in Europe.

“If diesel or gasoline is entering Europe … coming from India and being produced with Russian oil, that is certainly a circumvention of sanctions and member states have to take measures,” said Borrell.

Its not Russian oil anymore: JaishankarResponding to a question at a media briefing on Borrell’s comments, external affairs minister S Jaishankar said the top EU official should take a look at the regulations that have been passed by his own organisation.

“I really don’t see the basis for your question because my understanding of the (European) Council regulations is that if Russian crude is substantially transformed in a third country, then it’s not treated as Russian any more,” Jaishankar said.

“I would urge you to look at Council regulation 833/2014,” Jaishankar added, referring to a EU regulation aimed at dealing with issues relating to ban on the import of crude oil and petroleum products from Russia.

Balancing actThe West has been looking on uncomfortably as India’s economic engagement with Russia has been on a major upswing in the last one year, largely due to its procurement of discounted Russian oil.

Despite subdued criticism from many quarters, India has strongly and unapologetically defended its position stating that it will look out for its own interests first.

India has also not voted in favour of any UN resolution that condemns the Russian invasion of Ukraine, though it has repeatedly issued statements condemning the war and has been pushing for resolution of the conflict through dialogue and diplomacy.
(With inputs from agencies)

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