India will continue to buy oil from any country that it has to Union Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas Hardeep Singh Puri said on Friday, ANI reported. He added that no country has told India to stop buying oil from Russia.
The petroleum minister was speaking to reporters in Washington holding meeting with US authorities on clean energy.
New Delhi has increased its oil imports from Moscow significantly since prices of Russian crude oil tumbled to their lowest in March amid the Ukraine war and the sanctions imposed on Moscow by western countries.
Earlier this month, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had said that India’s crude oil imports from Russia have rise to 12%-13% of all its fuel shipments from about 2% in February.
Last month, reports said that the United States has asked India to join the coalition of G7 nations and the European Union in putting a price cap on Russian exports to curb Moscow’s revenues. On multiple occasions since the Ukraine war started, the US has said that it was not in India’s interests to increase energy imports from Russia.
However, speaking to reporters on Friday, Puri said that the government has a moral duty to provide energy to its citizens.
“India will buy oil from wherever it has to for the simple reason that this kind of a discussion cannot be taken to the consuming population of India,” he said.
Puri also said he was confident that India would be able to mitigate with oil producers’ cartel Opec Plus’ plan to cut production, The Hindu reported.
Earlier this week, the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies, together known as Opec Plus, had announced that its members would cut production by 2 million barrels of oil per day, which accounts for 2% of the global supply.
However, Puri on Friday said that India has, in the past, been able to manage price hikes due to supply constraints. He also said it was the sovereign right of the Opec countries to decide on their oil production capacities.
Puri’s comments came days after External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said that India was concerned about the availability and rise in prices of crude oil due to the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, adding that the price of fuel was “breaking India’s back”.