First, you threaten them. They don’t listen. Then you use social coercion. They refuse to accept your relevance. Then the third step is begging. The United States is in third stage of getting its demands accepted. It seems to believe that it has come up with a new magic trick to stop Russian oil trade. That is why it has again pleaded with India to come on its side.
Cap on the price of Russian oil
According to a report, originally published by Bloomberg, the United States is planning to cap the price of Russian oil circulating all around the world. To ensure that at least this plan does not hit a roadblock it will conduct individual discussions with various countries which hold strategic and moral clouts on a global level. Jennifer Granholm, the US Energy Secretary has been handed over the responsibility to convince her QUAD counterparts in the favour of United States’ plan. According to the plan, the Biden administration is trying to ensure that Russia does not rake up more than $60 per barrel in oil revenues. How much loss will it make to the Russian coffers? Well, for the context, non-Russian oil is trading well over $100 per barrel in the international market.
It seems as if Vladimir Putin has psychologically hit the Biden administration. Nothing else explains the use of Putin’s name instead of Russia in the official statement by Granholm. Explicitly stating that the US wants to lower Putin’s profits. Energy Secretary said, “We want to put on the table the option of joining a buyers’ group that will have greater market power to be able to lower the price, and therefore lower the price of Russian oil and lower the profits to Putin,…”
India’s preferential treatment towards Russian oil
This is just one of the multiple initiatives the United States has taken to stop India from buying the Russian Ural at a cheap price. After it started to impose sanctions on Russia, the US and its pseudo-moral allies thought that India will join the sanctions war. But, right from the beginning, India refused to listen to them. Going against the United States’ policy on Russia, India remained strategically neutral when it came to voting against Russia on multiple forums in the United Nations.
Later, it turned out that at the current juncture of time, Russia is more important to India. India had an inflation problem and so it needed cheap oil. India decided to take Russian oil which is available at much lower prices than the international market crude oil. Interestingly, the price rise in the International market is also an artificial one. It has been created by deliberating supplying less amount of oil, apparently at the indirect behest of the United States.
And when India got cheaper oil from Russia, it jumped on to the opportunity. In the year 2021, Russia barely supplied 1 per cent of India’s imported oil needs. Tables have turned and now it is on the verge of replacing Iraq as the top oil supplier to India.
US has failed on multiple occasions
Meanwhile, the US and its allies tried their best to stop it. Firstly, its Deputy National Security advisor asked India to not engage in oil trade with Russia. Our Foreign Minister S Jaishankar had hit back with ferocious intensity. Laying out facts in the public domain, he had categorically stated that the US and its friends were the main importers, not India. White House had to run in to save US’ face. Later, Jen Psaki, the White House Press Secretary said that it is on India to participate in the sanction war.
But, the US kept using other methods to coerce India. Out of nowhere, it started to lecture India on religious freedom and domestic policies. India was not going to hold back. Jaishankar effectively told them to clean their own house before they set out to intervene in the internal affairs of other countries. On its part, India has also decided to deepen ties with Cuba, a country which historically has been the arch-nemesis of the US.
And then, the United States tried to take more subtle routes. Its consulate in India wrote to individual ports to not accept Russian ships. As it turned out, the letter has not been marked as important by the Foreign Ministry to date. On their part officials on the ground have dealt with the letter. How did they deal with it? They said no to the Consulate General of the US.
This is the nth number of time the US has tried to bring India under its fold. These include supporting India in its confrontation with China. But, the US is not doing any favour to India, it is scoring its strategic goals. As usual, India will also prioritise its own interest.
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