India may buy Russian crude past cap if cut by OPEC+ boosts costs - What FM Nirmala Sitharaman said

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said that the surprise OPEC+ oil-output cut and ‘the spillover of all the decisions which are related to the Russia-Ukraine war’ were the biggest threats to India's economic growth.

Edited By Anwesha Mitra
Updated16 Apr 2023
Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman speaks during a panel discussion at a World Bank-organised event on 'Making it Personal: How Behavioral Change Can Tackle Climate Change' in Washington on Saturday.
Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman speaks during a panel discussion at a World Bank-organised event on ’Making it Personal: How Behavioral Change Can Tackle Climate Change’ in Washington on Saturday. (NSitharaman Office Twitter)

As the Ukraine-Russia war continues, much has been said about India's ongoing import of Russian oil. Putting its own interests front and centre, New Delhi has been buying oil from Moscow at a steep discount since global powers imposed sanctions against the Kremlin. Now, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has indicated that the country will explore buying Russian crude oil near or past the price cap imposed by the G-7 if necessary. 

“Yes, because otherwise I’ll end up paying far more than what I can afford. We have a large population and we also therefore have to look at prices which are going to be affordable for us,” Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman told Bloomberg in an interview on Saturday.

While India has not signed any agreement with the Western powers to impose a price cap on Russian oil officials had previously indicated that the country was nlikely to breach sanctions on Russia. A recent surprise OPEC+ oil-output cut however appears to have led to a change of heart.

ALSO READ: India FY23 exports defy global turmoil to hit record high

The Finance Minister said that India needed to constantly look for the 'best deal' since it imports almost 80% of its crude oil requirements. She cited the risk of higher oil prices and the impacts from Russia’s war in Ukraine as the biggest threats to India’s economic growth.

Meanwhile, Russia's oil exports jumped to their highest level in almost three years in March this year in spite of Western sanctions. Moscow's crude exports rose by 100,000 bpd to five million bpd, with India replacing China as the main destination for Russian shipment in Asia. However revenues were down sharply from last year.

(With inputs from agencies)

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