“This isn’t time for war”: Minister Puri said on India’s position on Russia-Ukraine
24 February, 2023 | Pragati Singh
Puri defended India's purchases, claiming that it only bought 0.2% of Russian oil, not 2%, and that it buys a quarter of what Europe buys in one afternoon.
Hardeep Singh Puri, Union Minister for Housing and Urban Affairs as well as Petroleum and Natural Gas, reiterated India’s position in the Russia-Ukraine conflict on Thursday, saying, “this is not the time for war.”
Puri told ANI that “we don’t care where India buys energy from but think India can help in bringing resolution to what’s going on” and added, “India’s position is that this isn’t time for war.” On the eve of the one-year anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Ugo Astuto, the European Union’s ambassador, commented on India’s position in continuing to procure crude oil from Russia and also praised New Delhi’s overall stance on the Ukraine conflict in an interview with a different media organisation.
The Union Minister also stated that India will accelerate its green transition and will pursue biofuels. “We’ve seen a news report that 38 per cent of additional sugar is going for ethanol production. We can see enthusiasm all around,” he added.
“There’s no country which has more potential for electric vehicles than India. Japanese and German manufacturers are bringing new electric vehicles, and there’s green hydrogen potential, CNG. India will go to be the laboratory case where we’ll find all these technologies,” Puri said.
Puri previously stated in November 2022 that India is under no moral obligation to stop purchasing oil from Russia. Responding to a question from CNN’s Becky Anderson, who asked Puri if India had: “Absolutely none, there is no moral conflict, if somebody wants to take an ideological position… We don’t buy from X or Y, we buy whatever is available. I don’t do the buying, it’s the oil companies who do the buying.” “
Puri defended India’s purchases, claiming that it only bought 0.2% of Russian oil, not 2%, and that it buys a quarter of what Europe buys in one afternoon.
Asked whether India is benefitting from discounted rates of Russia, Puri said, “Let me first try and correct your perspective, we ended the financial year 2022, the purchases of Russian oil were not 2 per cent, it was 0.2 per cent. Moreover, we still buy a quarter of what Europe buys in one afternoon. So, let’s be very clear about what the perspective is.”
Puri was asked about India’s backup plan if the West decides to tighten the oil embargo against Russia”We have many backup plans, I don’t look at the way you are looking at it. We have healthy discussions going on with the US and Europe. We don’t feel any pressure, Modi’s government doesn’t feel the pressure. We are the fifth largest economy in the world, and we are the one country, which is making the transition. When you have an increase in the oil prices, they have consequences – one of them is – there will be inflation and recession, another is we will make the transition in green energy.” The union minister also clarified Russia’s status as India’s largest oil supplier.