Biden to Modi: Buying more Russian oil is not in India’s interest

Biden to Modi: Buying more Russian oil is not in India’s interest

N Melo
by N Melo
April 12, 2022 0

Biden to Modi: Buying more Russian oil is not in India’s interest

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden asked India’s Narendra Modi on Monday not to accelerate the buying of Russian oil as the U.S. and other nations try to cut off Moscow’s energy income following the invasion of Ukraine. The Indian prime minister made no public commitment to refrain from Russian oil, a source of tension with the U.S.

Meeting by video call, Biden told Modi that the U.S. could help India diversify its sources of energy, according to press secretary Jen Psaki. Even though India receives little of its oil from Russia, it stepped up recently with a major purchase as other democracies are trying to isolate Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Biden to Modi: Buying more Russian oil is not in India's interest
Biden to Modi: Buying more Russian oil is not in India’s interest

“The president also made clear that he doesn’t believe it’s in India’s interest to accelerate or increase imports of Russian energy or other commodities,” Psaki said.

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At a separate State Department news conference with Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar pointedly suggested that Europe, not India, be the focus of Washington’s concern about energy purchases from Russia.

“I suspect, looking at the figures, probably our total purchases for the month would be less than what Europe does in an afternoon,” he said.

While Biden and Modi ended their session with Biden saying they committed to strengthening their relationship, White House officials could not say if India stood with them in fully condemning Putin, saying the choice ultimately rested with Modi’s government. The two leaders will meet in person May 24 in Tokyo for a summit of the Quad, a coalition that also includes Australia and Japan.

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At the State Department news conference, Blinken appeared to seek to cajole India into taking a stronger stance on the conflict in Ukraine, appealing to the country’s interest in upholding the international rules-based order and pointing out that resource-stretched Indians may be affected by both energy and food shortages caused by the war.

“Russia’s aggression stands in stark contrast to the vision that the United States and India share for a free and open Indo-Pacific, and Russia’s actions are having a profound impact not just in Europe and Ukraine, but around the world, for example, causing food insecurity and rising prices,” Blinken told reporters after the meetings concluded.

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