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'Always Exploring Options': MEA on Buying Oil From Russia Despite US Warning

The US had previously warned India against engaging in the oil trade with Russia.

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India
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Amid reports of India looking to buy Russian oil at a discounted rate, the Ministry of External Affairs on Thursday, 17 March, said that it is “always exploring possibilities” in global energy markets for oil imports.

Upon being asked if India would take up Russia's offer to buy cheap crude oil, even as the country faces global condemnation for waging war on neighbouring Ukraine, MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said:

“India does import most of its oil requirements. So we are always exploring all possibilities in global energy markets because of the situation of importing our oil requirements. I don’t think Russia has been a major supplier."

“We are a major oil importer and we are looking at all options at all points, we need the energy,” he stated.

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This comes amid Indian media reports that the Indian Oil Corporation (IOC), the nation’s top oil firm, has bought as much as 3 million barrels of crude oil from Russia at a steep discount.

The US had previously warned India against engaging in trade of oil with Russia.

What Had the Govt Said on Buying Oil From Russia? What Has the US Said?

Speaking in Parliament on Tuesday, Oil Minister Hardeep Singh Puri had said that the government had been holding discussions at the "appropriate level of the Russian federation" regarding the purchase of oil.

"Discussions are currently underway. There are several issues to be considered, like how much oil is available," he had said.

Speaking at a media conference on Tuesday, Jen Psaki, the press secretary of the White House, had registered the US's disapproval of India's stance on the oil trade.

"Think about where you want to stand when history books are written at this point in time. Support for the Russian leadership is support for the invasion that is obviously having a devastating impact."

As of now, government data shows that India, which is the world's third-largest crude oil importer in the world, buys only around three percent of Russia's oil.

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