India did not rule out buying discounted crude oil from Russia, saying it looks at all options at all points of time as a major importer of oil.
At a media briefing here, Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi did not give a direct reply to a question on whether India was considering taking up the Russian offer of cheap crude oil.
“India does import most of its oil requirements, it’s met by imports. So we are always exploring all possibilities in global energy markets because of this situation that we face of importing our oil requirements,” he said.
Bagchi said Russia has not been a major supplier of crude oil for India.
“Let me just highlight that a number of countries are doing so, especially in Europe, and for the moment, I will leave it at that.
“We are a major oil importer and we are looking at all options at all points, we need the energy,” he said.
Asked whether the purchase can be made under the Rupee-Rouble arrangement, Bagchi said he was not aware of the exact details on the offers.
He said doing business in currencies Rupee and Rouble were in existence in past and that he was not aware of the current status of the arrangement.
To another question on the impact of western sanctions against Moscow on the India-Russia trade, Bagchi said New Delhi will wait for it.
“We will await details of any unilateral sanctions to examine their impact on our economic exchanges with Russia,” he said.
Asked about India’s position on the Russian aggression against Ukraine, Bagchi said India has been in touch with all sides, including at the highest level.
“We have been talking about the need for dialogue and diplomacy, not hostilities, clearly,” he added.
When his comments were sought on reports that negotiations on resolving the crisis were focussed on Ukraine’s “neutrality”, the MEA spokesperson evaded a direct reply.
“Our basic message has been the need for diplomacy and dialogue, that is the way forward. The exact contours of what kind of an understanding that can be reached, I would leave it to the protagonists involved, rather than comment on our views of what could be and what is on the table, which we are not even aware of,” he said.