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'A Bully': Biden Slammed in India for Telling Modi That Buying Russian Oil Not in Delhi's 'Interest'

© Andrew HarnikPresident Joe Biden listens to reporter's questions during a meeting on efforts to lower prices for working families, in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Monday, Jan. 24, 2022.
President Joe Biden listens to reporter's questions during a meeting on efforts to lower prices for working families, in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Monday, Jan. 24, 2022.  - Sputnik International, 1920, 12.04.2022
While the US has been critical of India's energy imports from Russia, clarifying however that such an action doesn't 'violate' the sanctions which Washington and its western allies have imposed against Moscow over its special military operation in Ukraine. India has refused to pick sides in the ongoing crisis in Ukraine.
US President Joe Biden is facing massive criticism in India after his virtual call with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday. In the call, Biden told Modi that buying Russian oil wasn’t in India’s “interest”, as per American officials.
“Who’re you to determine Hindustan’s (India's) interest? On the one hand, you are talking of Ukraine’s sovereignty. On the other hand, you want to dictate terms to the world’s largest (democracy) and a sovereign nation? What a shaky behavior!” an Indian social media user wrote.
A netizen warned that ceding to US’ terms would mean that India was a “servile state” to the US, which it is not. Yet another user described Biden as a “bully with no teeth”.
Another observer wrote that it might be a "grave mistake" on Biden's part to tell Modi what's in India's interest.
“Russian never pointed fingers at India for its interest, then why is the US dictating terms to India? Any guesses?” asked a netizen.

Biden: Increasing Crude Imports From Russia Not in India's 'Interest'

Shortly after the virtual call between Modi and Biden, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters that “the president conveyed that we are there to help them diversify their means of importing oil."
“Again, the imports from the United States are already significant. They are much bigger than the imports they get from Russia… The president conveyed very clearly that it is not in their interest to increase that. But beyond that, I would let the Indian leaders speak for themselves,” she added.
In another briefing on the Modi-Biden call, released by the White House, an unnamed US official remarked that India shouldn’t “accelerate or increase” imports of Russian energy.
“…we don’t think India should accelerate or increase imports of Russian energy,” the US official stated.
As per several reports over the last several weeks, Indian companies bought Russian oil being offered by Moscow at a discounted price.
Before Monday's call with Modi, Biden last month described New Delhi’s response to the Russian military operation as “shaky”.
US Deputy National Security Adviser (NSA) for International Economic Cooperation Daleep Singh was also in New Delhi in the last week of March to warn India of "consequences" if they deepened their commercial ties with Moscow.

India's Crude Purchases From Russia Much Less Than Europe's: Indian FM Tells US

In the face of criticism from the US, New Delhi has consistently maintained that its imports of Russian crude are significantly lower than the European Union imports from Russia.
“If you are looking at energy purchases from Russia, I would suggest that your attention should be focused on Europe... We do buy some energy which is necessary for our energy security. But I suspect, looking at the figures, probably our total purchases for the month would be less than what Europe does in an afternoon,” Indian Foreign Minister S. Jaishankar said during a press conference after the 2+2 talks with his American counterparts in Washington on Monday.
Activists of Hindu Sena, a Hindu right-wing group, hold placards and flags as they take part in a march in support of Russia,  New Delhi, India, March 6, 2022 - Sputnik International, 1920, 24.03.2022
Russia's Special Operation in Ukraine
West Playing 'Double Game' by Calling on Delhi to Stop Trade With Russia, Indian FM Agrees With MP
The fourth edition of the US-India 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue was also attended by Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, and Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin.
About half of Russia’s net exports of crude oil and condensate, and 75% of natural gas head to Europe, the US Energy Information Administration claims.
Amid fears expressed by Germany and other EU nations over sanctioning Russian energy imports, western allies have exempted these products from economic sanctions they have imposed against Moscow over its special military operation in Ukraine.
The US, Canada and Japan among others, meanwhile, have imposed a total ban on Russian energy imports, though the share of Russian imports in their overall energy mix was lower than what EU imports from Moscow.
Indian Petroleum Minister Hardeep Singh Puri last month stated in Parliament that crude imports from Russia constituted just around 1% of New Delhi’s overall energy imports in 2021-22.
“As far as oil imports from Russia are concerned, contrary to what is being played up in the press, these are minuscule", he stated.
“Around 7.3 percent of India’s crude requirements were sourced from the US in March 2020-April 2021,” Puri highlighted, adding that crude volumes from the US could “rise significantly” over the coming months.
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