Nirmala Sitharaman, the finance minister, lauded Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday as she discussed how the Russia-Ukraine war and its aftermath caused a global fuel crisis. The battle between two countries, which began on February 24, has kept the rise in oil prices a global worry.
“When the cost of living became unaffordable for everyone, we made the decision to reduce crude oil prices, first in November and then again in June. Of course, it can’t be to an extent as some of us would want it to be,” she stated during an event.
The finance minister recalled PM Modi’s decision to continue relying on Russian oil in spite of pressure from the international community: “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’.”
As a kind of deterrence, the United States and other nations across the world imposed several sanctions on Moscow not long after the war began. But India kept buying oil from Russia, one of the biggest exporters in the world.
Sitharaman emphasised on Wednesday that the total import of the nation “had a 2 percent Russian component, and it was ramped up to 12-13 percent within a couple of months.” Political ramifications and easing the load on the public exchequer were two issues that arose at the time, according to her. “And that’s where I give thanks to PM Modi’s statesmanship because we managed to maintain relations with all countries while managing to obtain the Russian crude oil,” the speaker said.
Despite the restrictions, she continued, nations are competing to obtain the same Russian oil.
Despite pressure from the West, India’s foreign minister S. Jaishankar addressed the criticism of India’s dependency on Russia for energy during a tour abroad a few months ago. His comments were widely praised.