Russian oil: US climbdown vindicates India’s stand - The Tribune India

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Russian oil

US climbdown vindicates India’s stand

Russian oil

Photo for representation. File photo

INDIA’S decision to buy highly discounted Russian oil despite Western sanctions has paid off in diplomatic as well as economic terms. Amid the Russia-Ukraine war, the US and its allies have realised that they cannot browbeat New Delhi, with its independent foreign policy, into toeing the Western line. US Ambassador to India Eric Garcetti has claimed that Washington allowed New Delhi to buy Russian oil to ‘ensure that the prices did not go up globally’. This is virtually an admission that the US chose not to antagonise its close ally and fellow Quad member. Garcetti’s remarks are in consonance with US Treasury Assistant Secretary Eric Van Nostrand’s statement last month that the US had not asked India to cut Russian oil imports.

Resisting intense pressure, India has managed to strike a fine balance between its growing proximity to the US and its time-tested trade ties with Russia. With India being the world’s third-largest consumer of crude oil — its import dependency is more than 85 per cent — New Delhi’s approach has been guided by national needs. Commendably, India’s crude oil import bill fell to $132.40 billion in 2023-24, down from $157.50 billion in 2022-23. The purchase of Russian oil at a good discount largely helped the country make significant savings.

New Delhi has made it clear that it won’t let its ties with the US and other Western nations impact its enduring engagement with Russia. External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar put it plainly at the Munich Security Conference in February: ‘Different countries and different relationships have different histories... We are not purely unsentimentally transactional...’ This policy of eschewing unidimensional relationships in the emerging multipolar world order is expected to stand India in good stead. Moreover, it seems to have finally dawned on the West that India can’t be taken for granted on any matter with international implications, be it the war in Ukraine or Gaza.

#Russia #Ukraine

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