India explains why it’s importing Russian oil

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Energy purchases are part of the country’s inflation-management strategy, the Finance Ministry says

Indian Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced on Thursday that importing Russian oil is part of New Delhi’s inflation-management strategy, noting that other countries are acting in a similar manner.

According to Reuters, the minister revealed that crude oil shipments from Russia have jumped to between 12% and 13% of all import sources, up from about 2% in February.

“I give credit to the statesmanship of the prime minister to make sure globally that we did keep up the relationship with all countries but yet managed to get the Russian fuel, which is what Japan is doing today, which is what some other countries are doing,” Sitharaman reportedly said.

The finance minister added that India’s inflation management is “an exercise of so many activities, most of which are outside the [purview of] monetary policy.”

The South Asian nation has ramped up imports of Russian oil this year, benefiting from discounted rates. According to the petroleum minister, Hardeep Singh Puri, India will continue to purchase Russian oil despite growing pressure from the West. He explained to CNBC this week that it’s a question of energy security and moral duty to the country’s citizens as India consumes around five million barrels of oil per day.

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