Sale of Russian oil to India complicates Biden’s efforts | Health, Medicine and Fitness
By CHRIS MEGERIAN and ASHOK SHARMA – Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) – President Joe Biden’s campaign to unite the world against the Russian invasion of Ukraine is being contested not only by adversaries like China, but also by the world’s most populous democracy, India.
An Indian government official said on Friday the country would increase its imports of Russian oil, allowing it to boost its energy supplies at a discount as its economy struggles to recover from a slump. the coronavirus pandemic. The official, who was not authorized to speak to reporters and spoke on condition of anonymity, said the latest purchase was 3 million barrels.
Although India is not alone in buying Russian energy – several European allies such as Germany have continued to do so – the decision conflicts with Biden’s efforts to isolate the Russian economy with sanctions.
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The increased oil flow could further strain the relationship between Washington and New Delhi, which has already been tested by India’s recent purchase of advanced Russian air defense systems.
The White House is still considering whether to impose sanctions on India for this purchase. The issue is being looked at with a “different twist” after Russia invaded Ukraine, according to a US official familiar with the Biden administration’s deliberations. The official spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss internal decision-making.
The oil deal is a reminder of how the war in Ukraine has created a complicated geopolitical balancing act for Biden. Even as he tries to rally countries to oppose the Russian invasion, he also sees India as a key partner for Countering China’s Growing Influence in Asia.
Russia has long been a sticking point in US-India relations, but the White House believes the two democracies have more in common than what divides them.
India is a member of the Quad, an international partnership that also includes the United States, Australia and Japan, and the leaders of the four nations are due to meet this year in Tokyo.
At the summit, Biden described the struggle between democracy and autocracy as the “defining challenge of our time.” Modi said India “stands ready to join other democracies in this noble endeavour”.
The White House has publicly warned China against on the Russian side during the war in Ukraine, but she was more cautious when discussing India’s role.
Asked Wednesday how the United States was working with India, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said “we are keeping in touch through multiple channels.”
Asked the day before that India was considering buying Russian oil at a discount, PSAKI said the US message to “any country” was to “think about where you want to be when the history books are written”.
Imports account for 85% of India’s oil needs, and its aggregate demand is expected to jump 8.2% to 5.15 million barrels per day this year.
Indian media have reported that Russia is offering a 20% discount on oil purchases below world benchmark prices.
“We are exploring all possibilities in the global energy market,” Indian External Affairs Ministry spokesman Arindam Bagchi said on Thursday. “I don’t think Russia has been a major oil supplier to India.”
India’s relationship with Russia revolves more around defense than energy. Russia supplies only a small fraction of India’s oil, but most of its military equipment.
“It’s critical for India’s military preparedness, especially since they have an ongoing border crisis with China,” said Richard Rossow, an expert on US-India relations at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. , based in Washington. Twenty Indian soldiers and four chinese soldiers died less than two years ago an ongoing territorial dispute in eastern Ladakh.
India abstained in a UN Security Council vote condemning the invasion of Ukraine, and the Russian Embassy in New Delhi responded by saying it “highly appreciates the independent stance and balanced from India”.
Ken Juster, former US ambassador to India, said the South Asian nation “believes in strategic autonomy” and is unlikely to align perfectly on either side of the East-West conflicts. ‘Where is.
However, he expects New Delhi to come under additional pressure as the war in Ukraine continues.
“India will face an increasingly difficult situation as Russia’s atrocities become more apparent and widespread,” he said. “It will be difficult for any country not to condemn this.”
Biden described the situation as a work in progress.
A little after The Russian invasion has begunBiden was asked if India was “fully in sync” with the US on Russia.
He replied that “we are in consultation” with India, adding that “we have not fully resolved this”.
Sharma reported from New Delhi. AP writer Aamer Madhani contributed from Washington.
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