New Delhi, Apr 1 (EFE).- Indian Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said Friday that her country will continue to buy oil from Russia, despite sanctions and international pressure to isolate Moscow following the invasion of Ukraine.
“If there is fuel available, and available at discount, why shouldn’t I buy it. I need it for my people. So we have already started purchasing,” the Indian minister replied when asked about the issue during a business event.
“We started buying, we received quite a number of barrels, I would think about 3 to 4 days supplies, I will put my national interest first, and I would put my energy security first,” added Sitharaman.
This statement coincides with the state visit to India of Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, who met with representatives of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government Friday to secure its alliances with India.
After a work meeting, Lavrov said that if India wanted to buy any Russian goods, his country would be willing to discuss and reach mutually acceptable ways of cooperation.
In recent days, India has called for not politicizing the purchase of crude oil from Russia despite international sanctions, as it needs to focus on competitive energy sources because unlike other nations, it imports 85 percent of its oil requirements.
According to the Indian Government, it imports some 5 million barrels a day, although Russia has so far been a marginal supplier and covers barely one percent of its needs, as there are no bilateral import agreements on oil between them.
The majority of Indian imports currently come from Iraq (23 percent), Saudi Arabia (18 percent), the United Arab Emirates (11 percent) and the United States (7.3 percent).
India has so far adopted a neutral stance regarding the Ukraine conflict despite calls from the international community, including the United States – one of its biggest allies – to condemn Russia.
The Asian country has continued to maintain regular ties with Moscow, which is one of its main suppliers of military equipment.
Although India has called for a ceasefire and dialogue, in the United Nations it abstained from voting to condemn the Russian invasion or hold it responsible for the consequent humanitarian crisis.
On Thursday British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss visited New Delhi to discuss the international response to Russia, while highlighting the need to tighten sanctions against Russia. EFE