US Congressman Ami Bera criticizes India for getting oil from Russia


As India has accepted receiving Russian crude oil under a discounted price, the White House immediately took a clear stand on it by saying that India has not violated any codes.

However, a handful of lawmakers in the US are not happy with India’s decision.

Indian American Congressman Ami Bera criticized India for not taking a harsh stance on Russia and for doing business with them even during wartime. He also expressed disappointment that India had abstained from condemning Russia at the United Nations.

“As the senior Indian American Member of Congress, I was deeply disappointed in India’s abstention from the United Nations General Assembly resolution condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Despite India’s long history defending its own border from outside aggression, New Delhi has chosen to remain silent on Vladimir Putin’s unprovoked invasion of a free and sovereign country,” said Bera in a statement released on March 15.

He said it was “even worse” that India was, as per reports, looking to bypass international sanctions and buy oil from Russia at a discounted rate, giving Russian President Vladimir Putin “an economic lifeline”.

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak spoke with Petroleum Minister Hardeep Puri on March 11 to discuss strengthening the Russia-India energy partnership, including a pitch to sell India more oil. The Indian Oil Corporation had bought three million barrels of Russian oil on Monday for May delivery, from commodity trader Vitol, as per a Reuters report.

“If reports are accurate and India makes this decision to buy Russian oil at a discounted price, New Delhi would be choosing to side with Vladimir Putin at a pivotal moment in history when countries across the world are united in support of the Ukrainian people and against Russia’s deadly invasion,” Mr. Bera said.

India — as the world’s largest democracy and a member of the Quad — had a responsibility to act in a way that did not directly or indirectly support Mr. Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, according to Mr. Bera.

While India has strong bipartisan support on Capitol Hill, Russia too tends to unite both sides of the aisle — but in a negative way. This could potentially make lawmakers less enthusiastic for lobbying for a sanctions waiver for India for recently having taken delivery of the S-400 Triumf missile defense system from Moscow.