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The U.S. has warned India that it was not in its interest to continue importing crude oil from Russia, media reported, citing government officials and White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki.
According to a Reuters report that cited unnamed White House officials, during a video call on Monday, the U.S. president had expressed concerns about India's position in the world if it continued relying on Russian energy imports.
The same official noted that India had concerns about the increasingly closer ties between Moscow and its regional rival, Beijing.
Al Jazeera, meanwhile, cited White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki as saying President Biden had told Prime Minister Modi that the U.S. could help India diversify its energy suppliers.
"The president … conveyed that we are here to help them diversify their means of importing oil. The imports from the United States are already significant, much bigger than the imports that they get from Russia," Psaki said, adding, "The president conveyed very clearly that it is not in their interests to increase that."
However, per the Reuters report, the U.S. president had stopped short of actually asking India to stop buying Russian crude. The External Affairs Minister in New Delhi, meanwhile, brushed off any concern about India's Russian oil purchases, saying that "Probably our total purchases for the month would be less than what Europe does in an afternoon."
Indeed, an Economic Times report cited Press Secretary Psaki as saying that Russian oil accounts for about 1 to 2 percent of total Indian oil imports. U.S. imports, by comparison, constitute a tenth of the total.
An official White House readout of the call between President Biden and Prime Minister Modi did not mention oil imports at all, with the only reference to the war in Ukraine made with regard to global food security.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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Furthermore, India doesn’t need US help on how to diversity its energy suppliers. As the world's third largest importer of oil, India knows all the major oil suppliers in the world.
Dr Mamdouh G Salameh
International Oil Economist
Visiting Professor of Energy Economics at ESCP Europe Business School, London