India will assess all details and implications before joining a coalition of G7 countries, including the US, that seeks to have price-cap mechanism on Russian oil exports by December, but will continue to source oil from any possible source, including Russia, to protect its citizens, oil minister Hardeep Singh Puri has said.
Talking to a news channel in Milan, where Puri has taken a delegation to and is attending a global summit on liquefied natural gas (LNG), the minister said that India, a responsible country anchored in the rule of law all over, would look at the price cap proposal in details like the participating countries, its ramifications and others before taking a call. However, he added, “I have a moral duty to my consumer. Do you want a democratically-elected government want a situation where the petrol bunk runs dry?
“Look at what’s happening in countries around the world. It’s a question of energy. “So, we are realistic and by the way, those who wanted to do that ideological punitive action — they’re still buying and they’re just going to be buying for a while.”
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The US wants India to join the coalition that is seeking to impose a price cap on Russia oil. US Deputy Treasury secretary Wally Adeyemo, who was in New Delhi towards the end of August, met finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman and argued that the restriction is aimed at squeezing revenue streams for Moscow and softening the global energy prices.
Replying to a query, Puri said, “the Europeans buy more in one afternoon than I do in a quarter. “I’d be surprised if that is not their condition still. But yes, we will buy from Russia, we’ll buy from wherever.”India consumes around five million barrels of crude oil in a day and meets around 85% of its requirements through imports. Iraq is the largest supplier of oil to India. Saudi Arabia, Abu Dhabi and Kuwait are other major suppliers. Though Russia supplied just around 0.2% of total crude imports by India, its share increased after the western world shunned its oil following its invasion into Ukraine late February.
A little over 60 million Indians visit petrol pumps daily. “So that moral conflict question should be asked to those who have addressed it. “There are countries around the world where you can’t get energy for the love of money. “We have extended about four billion dollars of assistance to Sri Lanka, much of it in the energy sector. “So, these are energy, you have to be hard-headed and realistic and do what is doable,” Puri added. “Energy is the lifeline of economies. I think for the next two decades, 25% of the global demand increase is going to come from India and India which today consumes five million barrels of crude oil a day, I see that going up to six seven nine etc,” Puri said.