India may take up offer to buy cut-price Russian crude as West sanctions Moscow

India may take up offer to buy cut-price Russian crude as West sanctions Moscow
Moscow and New Delhi have longstanding, historic ties going back decades.
2 min read
15 March, 2022
India and Russia have longstanding ties going back decades [Getty]

India could take up Russia's offer of oil and other commodities at a discounted rate as Moscow tries to find buyers for its goods amid a boycott and crippling sanctions on its industries.

India imports 80 percent of its oil and petroleum, of which it usually buys only two or three percent from Russia, but with oil prices skyrocketing in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, New Delhi is considering taking up the Kremlin's offer of cut-price crude, according to Indian officials.

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"Russia is offering oil and other commodities at a heavy discount. We will be happy to take that," said one Indian government official as reported by CNN.

The two countries are still working on a rupee-rouble mechanism so that New Delhi can pay for the goods, according to the Economic Times.

India has refrained from condemning Russia's invasion of Ukraine and has instead called for an end to the violence. It has also abstained from votes at the UN criticising Moscow's actions.

Russia is a major exporter of arms, oil, and fertiliser to India, and the two countries have been longstanding partners for decades. India is especially reliant on Moscow for its defence with Russia producing as much as 60 percent of its military hardware.

It is unclear if the US will impose sanctions on India if New Delhi chooses to purchase Russian oil. "As a general matter, we do not preview potential sanctions actions," a US State Department spokesperson told The New Arab.

A US diplomat earlier this month said that the Biden administration could sanction India for the purchase of a missile system from Russia, a deal that New Delhi had concluded with Moscow in 2018. 

Editors note: this piece was altered to include a response from the US State Department