NSA Jake Sullivan: U.S. has begun talks with India over Russian oil price caps


Senior United States government officials have begun talks with New Delhi on how Russian oil price caps work, National Security Advisor (NSA) Jake Sullivan said Tuesday as he described India as a “key consumer” of Russian oil.

U.S. President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Narendra Modi met in Germany on Monday on the margins of the Group of Seven (G7) Summit. On the issue of India’s recent increase in purchase of Russian oil amid the Ukraine conflict, Sullivan said, “One aspect of that, of course, is intensive engagement with key consuming countries. India is one of those countries. That engagement has begun. We have begun talks with India on how the price cap would work and what its implications would be.”

Sullivan said that while Biden did not speak directly about this issue with Modi on Monday, senior government officials have discussed the topic.

“The President did not speak with Prime Minister Modi about this yesterday, but at senior levels of the U.S. government, we had communications with the Indians yesterday,” Sullivan said. “Before it goes to leader-to-leader level, we need to work through the details with their team at basically the Cabinet-level, which is where it is right now.”

On Monday, PM Modi attended the G7 where he informally met with several world leaders including Biden. “Interacting with @POTUS @JoeBiden and PM @JustinTrudeau during the @G7 Summit,” PM Modi tweeted. 

The G7 is an inter-governmental political forum consisting of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States. In addition, the European Union is a ‘non-enumerated member’. India is often called to these summits as an observer.

U.S. National Security Coordinator John Kirby said on June 25 that Washington wanted other countries, including India, to help them increase the costs and consequences of the Ukraine war on Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Addressing a press briefing, Kirby said the U.S. shares a deep partnership with India but Washington wants to build international pressure on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine. “We’re glad that India is coming (to Germany),” he said last Saturday. “There is a lot to discuss on the agenda with India. We have a very deep partnership with them, even in the defense world.”

Kirby added, “I’ll let Indian leaders speak for themselves here, but obviously, what President Biden is focused on, what the administration is focused on is making sure that the costs keep rising for Putin, that it’s harder for him to wage war. And obviously, we want to see all nations participate in those kinds of efforts.”

India in recent weeks has increased its energy imports from Russia bucking global sanctions on Moscow. U.S. officials conveyed the message to India while there is no ban on energy imports from Russia, they do not want to see a rapid acceleration.

India’s External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar earlier this month hit back at the unfair criticism of Indian oil purchase from Russia that has created a knock-off effect on the world economy. “It’s only Indian money and oil coming to India that funds it, but not the gas coming to Europe? Let’s be a little even-handed out here,” he said at the 2022 GlobeSec Bratislava Forum in Slovakia on June 3.