Western nations have been critical of India's move to keep buying oil from Russia
Not our business, the German Ambassador said Wednesday on India buying discounted oil from Russia, weeks after the US said it was "comfortable" with New Delhi's approach on Russian oil purchase.
"I have made it clear time and again that India buying oil from Russia is none of our business basically that's something that the Indian government decides and if you get it at a very very low price, you know I cannot blame India for buying it," said Philipp Ackermann, German Ambassador to India.
India, the world's third-largest crude importer after China and the US, has been snapping discounted Russian oil after many Western countries shunned it as a means of punishing Moscow for its invasion of Ukraine.
Western nations have been critical of India's move to keep buying oil from Russia amid the war in Ukraine. India has stood firm by its stand that it will keep buying oil from wherever it gets a good deal.
Russia has said that it welcomes India's decision to not support the price cap on Russian oil announced by the G7 and their allies.
Countering the criticism, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, in December last year, said Europe bought much more fossil fuel than India between February and November. Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24 last year.
"I think first we need to establish the facts very clearly. Between February 24 and November 17, the European Union has imported more fossil fuel from Russia than the next 10 countries combined. The oil import in the European Union is like six times what India has imported. Gas is infinite because we do not import it while the European Union imported 50 billions Euros worth (of gas)," Mr Jaishankar said in December.
India's Russian oil imports climbed to a record 1.4 million barrels per day (bpd) in January, up 9.2% from December, with Moscow still the top monthly oil seller to New Delhi, followed by Iraq and Saudi Arabia, Reuters reported citing data from trade sources.
Refiners in India, which rarely used to buy Russian oil because of costly logistics, have emerged as Russia's key oil client, snapping up discounted crude shunned by Western nations since the invasion of Ukraine last February.
Over the last months, India has been buying more and more cheap Russian oil and refining it into fuel for Europe and the US. Fuel refined in India is not considered to be of Russian origin.
By driving a hard bargain with Russia in procuring crude oil at the lowest price possible, India is furthering the policy of G7 and Washington is "comfortable" with New Delhi over its approach in addressing issues relating to energy security, a top Biden administration official said last week.
US Assistant Secretary of State for Energy Geoffrey R Pyatt also said the Indian companies are "very successfully" negotiating the price for Russian crude oil which enabled Indian refiners to then put the product on the global market at a "very competitive and profitable price".
The German Ambassador also pitched India as an "appropriate candidate" to come up with a solution to stop the Ukraine war.
"India is an appropriate candidate to come up with a solution (to stop Russia- Ukraine war). India has skilled and good diplomacy," Ambassador Ackermann added.