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Russia emerged as a major supplier to India for the first time in 2022-23 (FY23) after it started giving oil at discounted rates amid the Ukraine war. Representational image

US not mulling sanctions against India over Russian oil purchase

US Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Karen Donfried on Wednesday said the US is not considering any move to sanction India over its oil purchase from Russia.

She said the ties between the two countries are most consequential and they both share a commitment to uphold the order based on international rules and have respect for territorial integrity and sovereignty even as the policy approach of India and US may differ.

Also read: India needs low-cost energy, Jaishankar defends move to import Russian oil

Meanwhile, the US Assistant Secretary of State for Energy Resources, Geoffery Pyatt, echoed similar views, stating that the US was “comfortable” with India’s approach on Russian oil purchase “but we value the dialogue that we continue to have on the issue”. He also said that energy security had been part of most bilateral discussions lately.

Defending the price cap imposed on Russian oil, the senior US diplomats said it was an opportunity for India, even though it is not participating in it, to negotiate a better price.

In December last year, US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said the price cap “will lock in the discount on Russian oil” and would enable countries like India and China to bargain for steep price cuts.

Also read: Indias Russian oil imports jump 50 times; now accounts for 10% of all import: official

The idea of the price capping was to squeeze the revenue of Russia that is fuelling the war in Ukraine and the US diplomats indicated that they believe the sanctions are having their intended impact.

India has been buying increasing quantity of cheap Russian oil over the last months and refining it into fuel for Europe and the US. Fuel refined in India is not considered to be of Russian origin.

India shipped about 89,000 barrels a day of gasoline and diesel to New York last month, the most in nearly four years, according to data intelligence firm Kpler, reported news agency Bloomberg. Daily low-sulfur diesel flows to Europe were at 172,000 barrels in January, the most since October 2021, Bloomberg reported.

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