India should not be buying Russian oil: Congressman Ami Bera

American Congressman Ami Bera during an interview, in New Delhi. File

American Congressman Ami Bera during an interview, in New Delhi. File | Photo Credit: The Hindu

The Chairman of the U.S. House of Representatives’ subcommittee for the Asian region and non-proliferation issues, Indian American Congressman Ami Bera, criticised India’s reported consideration of Russian oil purchases at a time when most countries in the world have taken a stand against Russia. He also expressed disappointment that India had abstained from condemning Russia at the United Nations.

“As the senior Indian American Member of Congress, I was deeply disappointed in India’s abstention from the United Nations General Assembly resolution condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Despite India’s long history defending its own border from outside aggression, New Delhi has chosen to remain silent on Vladimir Putin’s unprovoked invasion of a free and sovereign country,” Mr. Bera said in a statement released on March 15. India was one of 35 countries that abstained during a March 2 U.N. General Assembly vote condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and asking Moscow to withdraw. The resolution had passed with a huge majority of 141 countries voting in favour of it.

He said it was “even worse” that India was, as per reports, looking to bypass international sanctions and buy oil from Russia at a discounted rate, giving Russian President Vladimir Putin “an economic lifeline”. Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak spoke with Petroleum Minister Hardeep Puri on March 11 to discuss strengthening the Russia-India energy partnership, including a pitch to sell India more oil, The Hindu had reported. The Indian Oil Corporation had bought three million barrels of Russian oil on Monday for May delivery, from commodity trader Vitol, as per a Reuters report.

“If reports are accurate and India makes this decision to buy Russian oil at a discounted price, New Delhi would be choosing to side with Vladimir Putin at a pivotal moment in history when countries across the world are united in support of the Ukrainian people and against Russia’s deadly invasion,” Mr. Bera said.

India — as the world’s largest democracy and a member of the Quad — had a responsibility to act in a way that did not directly or indirectly support Mr. Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, according to Mr. Bera.

While India has strong bipartisan support on Capitol Hill, Russia too tends to unite both sides of the aisle — but in a negative way. This could potentially make lawmakers less enthusiastic for lobbying for a sanctions waiver for India for recently having taken delivery of the S-400 Triumf missile defence system from Moscow.

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Printable version | Jul 2, 2022 8:59:33 am |