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India to ensure sanctions on Russia’s oil purchases are not violated


According to people familiar with the matter, India will not violate Western sanctions against Russia, including the $60 price cap on buying oil from Moscow.

Government authorities have asked banks and merchants to comply, the people said, refusing to be identified because the information is not public. Indian officials have not officially stated that they will support sanctions and the price cap imposed on Russia by the Group of Seven countries.

India had a detailed discussion with the US and other G-7 countries on the sidelines of the Group of 20 countries meeting recently and they seem happy with the dealings, one of the people said. India and China have emerged as the main buyers of Russian oil since the war in Ukraine began more than a year ago.

Government spokesmen did not respond to text messages outside working hours asking for comment on the matter.

In recent months, import-dependent India has seized the opportunity presented by discounted crude, becoming a key tool in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s effort to fight energy inflation. Just over a year ago, it bought almost no Russian oil; today the South Asian market has become crucial for Moscow, which in turn has displaced other suppliers.

India’s commitment to abide by the price cap and to continue buying crude oil from Moscow comes amid concerns that future flows could be temporarily affected after financiers wary of breaching sanctions reveal more details about purchases demanded.

Western countries led by the US had imposed a price cap of $60 per barrel on Russian oil exports in an effort to limit revenues for the Kremlin and keep some oil on the market.

Earlier this month, a senior US official said the Biden administration will continue to discuss India’s purchases of Russian oil with government officials, but so far is satisfied that New Delhi is buying the crude well below a Western price cap.

Joanna Swanson

Joanna Swanson is Europe correspondent at the Thomson Reuters Foundation based in Brussels covering politics, culture, business, climate change, society, economies and inclusive tech. With specific focus in breaking news, she has covered some of the world's most significant stories.