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As India continues to import discounted crude oil from Russia, on which the G7 has sought to impose a price cap, amid Moscow’s war with Ukraine, Philipp Ackerman, the German envoy to India, said he does not blame the Indian government for the import, which he said is ‘none of our business’. He also said a Delhi ‘skilled in diplomacy’ could be key to bringing an end to a conflict that has brought the global community to the brink of a third war.

“India buying oil from Russia is none of our business. If you get it at a low price, I can’t blame India for it. India is an appropriate candidate to come up with a solution (to stop Russia- Ukraine war). India has skilled and good diplomacy,” Ackermann told news agency ANI.

This comes ahead of German Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s visit to India starting Saturday.

On the war in Ukraine, Ackerman said he believed India could play a key role in resolving the conflict at ‘the right time’. He added, however, that for negotiations to take place, both parties had to be prepared to compromise, and referred to Russian president Vladimir Putin’s address to his nation’s Parliament this week to indicate this may not be the ‘right time’.

In his address Putin went on a tirade against the West, whom he blamed for the war in Ukraine and suspended Russia from the New START nuclear treaty with the United States. (ALSO READ: ‘Russia tried to avoid war, West wanted to attack’: Putin slams US-led NATO)

Russia India’s top supplier

In December, India’s crude oil imports from Russia surpassed one million barrels per day (bpd) for the first time, as Moscow remained its top oil supplier for the third month in a row.

Russia supplied 1.19 million bpd in December, totalling to 25 per cent of all crude oil imported by India, while it accounted for only 0.2 per cent in the fiscal year ending March 31.

This was more than the 0.90 million bpd crude oil India imported from Russia in November and the 0.93 million bpd India imported in October 2022. The previous record for most crude oil imports from Russia was in June, when India purchased 0.94 million bpd.

G7’s 60 USD cap

In December, G7 countries have set a cap of a maximum price of 60 USD per barrel for crude oil to ‘prevent Russia from profiting from its war of aggression against Ukraine’.

Jaishankar defends Russian oil import

Amid raised eyebrows in the global community to India’s continuing import of Russian oil, external affairs minister S Jaishankar said the first priority is to secure the ‘best deal for the benefit of the Indian people’, in order to protect them from global economic uncertainty.

“The impact of this [G7 oil cap] is not very clear to us. Our concern is what would it do to the stability and the affordability of the energy markets,” he told the Rajya Sabha in December.

“I would like to clarify – we do not ask our companies to buy Russian oil. We ask our companies to buy oil, what is the best option that they can get. Now, it depends on what the market throws up,” Jaishankar then added.

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