Prime Minister Narendra Modi was on Thursday praised by finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman as she spoke of the Russia-Ukraine war and its aftermath, leading to a fuel crisis worldwide. The surge in oil prices has remained a global concern amid the war between two countries, which started on February 24.
“In a situation where the global prices were going beyond anyone’s affordability, and we take a call – in November, and in June, again – of reducing the crude oil prices… to some extent. Of course, it can’t be to an extent as some of us would want it to be,” she said during an event.
“And…at that stage, to take a very strong political decision, I respect the prime minister for the courage on this – ‘Get it from Russia… because they are willing to give you that discount’,” the finance minister shared, recalling PM Modi’s decision to continue reliance on the Russian oil despite global pressure.
Soon after the start of the war, the United States and other countries worldwide had slapped multiple sanctions on Moscow as a measure of deterrence. India, however, continued to purchase oil from Russia, one of the largest global exporters.
The country’s entire import “had 2 percent of the Russian component, and it was ramped up to 12-13 percent within a couple of months,” Sitharaman underlined on Wednesday. Several questions and challenges emerged at the time, including political implications, and reducing burden on state exchequer, she said. “And that’s where I give credit to the statesmanship of PM Modi where we managed to keep the ties with all countries yet managed to get the Russian crude oil.”
“While there have been sanctions, countries are fighting their way to get the same Russian oil,” she added.
A couple of months ago, foreign minister S Jaishankar had – during his visit abroad – had countered the criticism on India’s energy reliance on Russia despite the pressure from the West. His remarks drew wide praise.
(With inputs from ANI)