Straight Talk : Hardeep Singh Puri Clears The Air On The Furore Over India Buying Russian Oil

Picture : Twitter/ ANI

Union petroleum and natural gas minister Hardeep Singh Puri on Monday reiterated that India is under no moral conflict to stop buying oil from Russia.

In a report by PTI, Responding to a question by CNN’s Becky Anderson who questioned Puri on whether India had “qualms” over purchasing so much from Russia, the minister said: “Absolutely none, there is no moral conflict, if somebody wants to take an ideological position…We don’t buy from X or Y, we buy whatever is available. I don’t do the buying, it’s the oil companies who do the buying.

Puri defended India’s purchases stating that India only bought 0.2 per cent, not 2 per cent of Russian oil and it buys in a quarter what Europe buys in one afternoon.

Asked whether India is benefitting from discounted rates of Russia, Puri said, “Let me first try and correct your perspective, we ended the financial year 2022, the purchases of Russian oil were not 2 per cent, it was 0.2 per cent. Moreover, we still buy a quarter of what Europe buys in one afternoon. So, let’s be very clear about what the perspective is.”

Asked about India’s backup plan if the West decides to tighten the oil ban from Russia, Puri said “We have many backup plans, I don’t look at the way you are looking at it. We have healthy discussions going on with the US and Europe. We don’t feel any pressure, Modi’s government doesn’t feel the pressure. We are the fifth largest economy in the world, we are the one country, which is making the transition. When you have an increase in the oil prices, they have consequences – one of it is – there will be inflation and recession, another is we will make the transition in green energy. ”The union minister also cleared the air about Russia being the largest supplier of oil to India.

“Russia is not the largest supplier of oil to India, Russia supplied only 0.2 per cent. Now, it is one of the top four or five suppliers and in fact, the largest supplier last month was Iraq. So, there is no misunderstanding anywhere,” said Puri.

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