India Talking to US to End Reliance on Russian Oil?
India-West News Desk
WASHINGTON, DC – The US, according to the State Department is holding “deep talks” with India over the latter’s reliance on Russian arms and oil, CNN said on September 20.
The news channel quoted an official as saying, “India is heavily, heavily dependent on Russia, and that’s something that they did to themselves over some 40 years: first their military and then their energy dependence. So, we have been in deep conversation with India about the fact that we want to help them have options to diversify here.”
India has emerged as the second-largest buyer of Russian crude after China.
Russian oil accounts for 12 percent of the country’s total oil purchase against less than 1 percent before the war. Moscow has been offering oil under heavy discounts as rising energy prices follow the West’s sanctions and India is reported to have saved around $43 million in bills. In 2021-22, the country’s oil import bill ballooned to $119 billion, stretching government finances and weighing on the post-pandemic economic recovery.
India meets 83 percent of its oil needs through imports, making it vulnerable to external shocks.
The US official also said Indian representatives are starting to look at other markets to meet their demands as they try to become less dependent on Moscow for arms purchases.