Western countries have thousands of faults, but they have one strong trait due to which they have been dominating the global narrative for the last many decades. They are relentless when it comes to getting their work done. Their constant attempt to heckle India regarding Russian oil is a prime example of that.
India will prioritise its own interest
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has again made it clear that there will be no compromise on India’s energy security. Arindam Bagchi, a Foreign Ministry spokesperson also said that there is a negligible chance of India coming under any kind of pressure. Last month Janet Yellen, a bureaucrat in charge of US treasury, had said that US’ talks with India on capping the price of Russian oil were encouraging. Quashing any chances of any pressure on India, Bagchi said, “I certainly would not be able to agree on the idea that there is pressure on such issues”
Bagchi explicitly said that only India’s sovereign requirement will guide its policies and nothing else. Quote, “Our decisions on what we do regarding purchase of oil or other things related to that will be guided by our energy security requirements, our perspective will be guided by energy security,”.
Developments in India-Russia trade
The ongoing Eastern Europe crisis has become a bone of contention for the western countries trying to take India on their side. However, it is nothing less than a boon for India. India’s oil trade with Russia has reached historical heights.
For instance, Russia has pushed Saudi Arabia to become the second largest oil supplier to India. Now, it is after Iraq’s position as a numero uno oil supplier to India. Iraq is also trying to avoid the mistakes Saudi Arabia committed. To counter Russian oil’s expansion in the Indian market, it is now offering to supply oil $9 per barrel cheaper than that of Russia. India is happily enjoying the benefits of this competition and in July it became the biggest buyer of Russian oil, sidestepping China.
Oil is just the tip of the iceberg
Russia is not just supplying oil, but its exports of refined products to India have also tripled in the past few months. Russians exported more than 1 lakh barrels per day (bpd) of refined products over recent months.
Fuel oil comprises 70 per cent of this basket, while the remaining 30 per cent is dominated by bio fuels and secondary refinery feed stocks. It is a remarkable shift, considering the fact that over the last 3 years, we imported only 30,000 bpd on average from the Putin-led country. Additionally, in July, India also became the largest buyer of Russian coal.
US trying to pressurize India
It is amply clear that the free market global economy is in action here. Buying Russian products is advantageous for India and so it is buying it. This is what classical economists wanted. But, countries established on this fundamental principle do not actually want it.
America and its allies have been trying to pressure India to not buy Russian oil. These people and their media propagandists went on to even claim that India engaging in trade with Russia is actually funding a war. Now, that allegation deserved to be countered and Foreign Minister S. Jaishankar did it in his own merry way. Right in their face he told them that Europeans and Americans are buying way more energy from Russia than India.
Tactics won’t work
Then America started to pressurise India through supporting its stands on China and increasing ties on many levels. During the G7 Summit, Biden even went out of the way to please PM Modi. But, India treated Russia and the West with separate sticks. Soon, winters got closer and these countries realised their own looming existential crisis. So, they found a middle way and told India and other consumers to not pay Russia beyond a specific price range.
But, India has already moved on. Russian Central Bank will soon deposit Rupee in its Forex Reserve. Frankly, western countries should now even stop trying. India has not supported the war but it won’t hamper its economic prospects for needless moral posturing.
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