Top US official on India trip over oil import from Russia

By Express News Service

NEW DELHI:  The US has commenced its efforts to try to wean India off its oil imports from Russia. Elizabeth Rosenberg, Assistant Secretary for Terrorist Financing and Financial Crimes at the US Department of Treasury, will travel to Delhi and Mumbai following President Biden’s call for all-encompassing sanctions on Russia. 

“Assistant Secretary Rosenberg is travelling to New Delhi and Mumbai as a part of a continued Treasury effort to engage with partners and allies around the implementation and enforcement of the unprecedented multilateral sanctions and export controls on Russia for its war on Ukraine,’’ a US Embassy spokesperson told this newspaper.

India imports less than 1 per cent of its crude from Russia, contrary to some countries in the European Union, which have upped imports. “Amid the continuing conflict in Ukraine, India is trying to secure its own interests as all European nations are,’’ said Union Minister of Commerce, Piyush Goyal at Davos recently.

EU countries are importing larger quantities of petroleum products from Russia. Italy, for instance, has increased its imports from Russia, which has exported 450,000 barrels of crude per day to Italy this month — more than four times of what they imported in February and the highest ever since 2013. Italy is slated to overtake the Netherlands as the EU’s largest import hub for seaborne Russian crude.

“In the current situation, when inflation is at an all-time high, causing stress to people all over the world, EU and European countries continue to buy larger quantities than India ever thought of buying,’’ Goyal added. According to sources, Secretary Rosenberg is expected to meet government officials and also members of the petroleum industry in the public and private sector.