Modi's India Busting Western Sanctions, Funding Russia's War On Ukraine

India, a western ally, is openly buying Russian coal, oil and weapons worth tens of billions of dollars at deep discounts. These actions amount to busting western sanctions and financing President Vladimir Putin's war on Ukraine. Many smaller developing countries, including Bangladesh and Pakistan, are abiding by these sanctions and suffering from the consequences in terms of high prices of fuel and food. Why these double standards? Do these policy contractions serve the broader US interests in the Asia region? 

India's Russian Imports Soaring Since the Start of Ukraine War. Source: Reuters

India's Russian coal imports are up 6-fold from May 27 to June 15, 2022, according to Reuters. Delhi's Russian oil buying has jumped 31-fold in this period.  Bulk shipments of Russian thermal coal to India began in the third week of May, 2022. 

India is defying western sanctions to buy millions of barrels of discounted Russian crude oil, hiding their origin and exporting refined petroleum products with a big markup to make a huge profit. China has yet to increase its oil imports from Russia, according to news reports. Meanwhile, India's neighbors Bangladesh and Pakistan are abiding by western sanctions and paying much higher market prices to buy oil for their domestic needs, and hurting their people. Such double standards are not going unnoticed. 

India's Refined Petroleum Exports.Source: MarketWatch


India is importing large amounts of deeply discounted Russian crude, running its refiners well above capacity, and capturing the economic rent of sky-high crack spreads and exporting gasoline and diesel to Europe, according to MarketWatch.  “As the EU weans from Russian refined products, we have a growing suspicion that India is becoming the de facto refining hub for Europe,” said Michael Tran, global energy strategist at RBC Capital Markets, in a Tuesday note. Here’s how the puzzle pieces fit together, according to Tran:

"India is buying record amounts of severely discounted Russian crude, running its refiners above nameplate capacity, and capturing the economic rent of sky-high crack spreads and exporting gasoline and diesel to Europe. In short, the EU policy of tightening the screws on Russia is a policy win, but the unintended consequence is that Europe is effectively importing inflation to its own citizens. This is not only an economic boon for India, but it also serves as an accelerator for India’s place in the new geopolitically rewritten oil trade map. What we mean is that the EU policy effectively makes India an increasingly vital energy source for Europe. This was historically never the case, and it is why Indian product exports have been clocking in at all-time-high levels over recent months". 

Bangladesh and Pakistan are afraid to buy Russian oil for fear of western sanctions while American ally India feels free to do so.  Pakistan's Imran Khan sought to buy Russian oil and gas before he was removed from power in early April. Pakistani Finance Minister Miftah Ismail told CNN's Becky Anderson in a recent interview, “It is very difficult for me to imagine buying Russian oil. At this point I think that it would not be possible for Pakistani banks to open LCs or arrange to buy Russian oil". Similarly, Bangladeshi foreign minister AK Abdul Momen said, “Russia has offered to sell oil and wheat to us, but we can’t do it out of fears of sanctions. We asked [India] how they did it [import oil from Russia]. They [India] said they have found some tricks,” Momen added. 

The West, particularly the United States, is turning a blind eye to India's actions when it comes to busting sanctions on Russia. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is openly funding the war in Ukraine by buying weapons and energy from Russia. At the same time, India's smaller neighbors feel intimidated by the threat of western sanctions if they follow Modi's example. Such double standards are not going unnoticed. 

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Comments

Riaz Haq said…
#Europe, #US, #G7 court #India to join efforts to punish #Russia. #Biden views India as too essential a partner to contain #China to seriously consider sanctioning India for increasing its trade with Russia. #ModiInGermany #Modi #Ukraine https://www.nytimes.com/2022/06/27/world/europe/europe-and-the-us-court-india-to-join-efforts-to-punish-russia.html


As Ukraine’s allies seek to broaden the coalition of nations against Russia, the United States and Europe are working to persuade India to abandon its neutral stance in the war in Ukraine.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday will join the Group of 7 summit in Germany, where Ukraine has been the focus. So far, U.S. overtures to persuade Mr. Modi to stop buying Russian oil have failed. Its purchases of Russian crude have doubled since the conflict’s start.

Four other nations with close relations to Russia — Argentina, Indonesia, Senegal and South Africa — were also invited to the summit.

Mr. Modi has maintained a neutral stance on the war, calling for a resolution through diplomacy and dialogue. But India’s increasing trade with Russia has undercut U.S.-led efforts to starve the Kremlin of oil revenue.

Political observers say that the Biden administration probably views India as too essential a partner in its plans to contain China for it to seriously consider sanctioning India for increasing its trade with Russia.

Mr. Modi is scheduled to participate in sessions on climate, energy, health, food security and gender equality. During the summit, President Biden announced plans for an infrastructure fund, with G7 countries putting up billions of dollars for development projects in India and elsewhere as a counterweight to China’s expansive Belt and Road Initiative.

The meeting at Schloss Elmau, a retreat in the Bavarian Alps, comes amid a worsening situation in Ukraine that has not only set off a geopolitical crisis, but also challenged energy and food security, particularly in developing countries.

While the U.S. and Europe are working to reduce their dependence on Russian energy, India and China have drastically increased their purchases, taking advantage of crude discounts of $30 per barrel.

When he was re-elected in 2019, Mr. Modi promised to double the size of India’s economy by 2024. His government said India’s growth depends upon reliable and affordable fuel supplies, and that sanctions on Iranian oil have left India with few other options.

As India increases its purchases of Russian oil, Europe has continued to buy the majority of Russian natural gas exported in recent months. Indian officials have criticized what they characterize as the hypocrisy of the West.

“Punishing India for getting a good deal, and doing it legally, is not on their immediate agenda,” said Samir N. Kapadia of the Vogel Group consultancy in Washington.

“However,” he added, “I don’t believe these record import levels will go unnoticed.”
Riaz Haq said…
Dr. Audrey Truschke
@AudreyTruschke
I understand the diplomatic reasons for saying this. But the unvarnished reality is that India is a weak partner for the US, and it’s becoming weaker by the day. #USIndia
Quote Tweet
Secretary Antony Blinken
@SecBlinken

United States government official
· 10h
Met with India’s @DrSJaishankar at the @G7 Summit to underscore the importance of #USIndia cooperation. As strong partners, we’ll continue working closely to address global economic challenges and strengthen security, prosperity and clean energy in the Indo-Pacific.

https://twitter.com/AudreyTruschke/status/1541804842011738113?s=20&t=I6MtIFNJAJPP3LWm2mBwOg
Riaz Haq said…
#India’s crude #oil imports from #Russia jumps 50 times; now accounts for 10% of all import. Russia surpassed #SaudiArabia to become India’s second-biggest oil supplier behind Iraq as refiners crowded Russian crude oil that is available at a deep discount https://www.hellenicshippingnews.com/indias-crude-oil-imports-from-russia-jumps-50-times-now-accounts-for-10-of-all-import/

Russia has now emerged among the top 10 suppliers of crude oil to India. From all the crude oil purchases from overseas, India’s imports from Russia have climbed more than 50 times since April.

With that, Russian oil imports now account for 10% of India’s total crude imports basket. Prior to the Ukraine war, Russian imports were just 0.2% of all the oil imported by India.

An official told reporters, that Russian oil now makes up 10 percent of India’s oil import basket in April. It is now among the top 10 suppliers, as reported by PTI.

Notably, about 40% of Russian oil has been bought by private refiners namely Reliance Industries and Rosneft-backed Nayara Energy.

In May, Indian refiners purchased approximately 25 million barrels of crude oil from Russia.

Also, last month, Russia surpassed Saudi Arabia in becoming India’s second-biggest oil supplier behind Iraq as refiners crowded Russian crude oil that is available at a deep discount in a multi-year high Brent crude and US WTI scenario following the Kremlin’s invasion of Ukraine.

Saudi Arabia is now the third-largest crude oil supplier for India.

India is the third-largest oil consumer in the world with 85% of which is imported, after China and the US.

Due to the conflict with Ukraine, there have been fewer buyers for Russian Ural crude oil as some foreign governments and companies have exited the country’s energy exports which led to a decline in the price.

As per the report, Indian refiners have taken advantage of this and purchased Russian crude oil at discount as high as $30 per barrel.

India has continuously defended its decision for crude oil purchases from Russia even when major western economies issued several sanctions on President Vladimir Putin-led country condemning their invasion of Ukraine.

On May 4, in a press statement, the Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas said India’s India’s energy needs are enormous with daily consumption of around 5 million barrels and a refining capacity of 250 MMTPA. For energy security and to fulfill its objective of providing energy justice to each of its citizens, Indian Energy companies buy from all major oil producers in the World. On average, India has the unique distinction of servicing 60 million visitors at its petrol pumps every single day. Despite challenging times, it is important for the Government to ensure access to affordable energy for our citizens.

According to the ministry, India’s top 10 import destinations are mostly from West Asia. In the recent past, the USA has become a major crude oil source for India, supplying almost $13 bn worth of energy imports, with almost 7.3% of the market share of crude oil imports.

The ministry had explained that Indian Energy companies have been sourcing energy supplies from Russia, on a sustained basis, over the past several years. Yearly figures may have varied due to a variety of reasons, including operational necessities. If suddenly, now, as a huge importer of crude oil, India pulls back on its diversified sources, concentrating on the remaining, in an already constrained market, it will lead to further volatility and instability, jacking up international prices.

“Despite attempts to portray it otherwise, energy purchases from Russia remain minuscule in comparison to India’s total consumption,” the ministry had said.
Source: Livemint

Riaz Haq said…

Suhasini Haidar
@suhasinih
How imports of Russian oil have soared: DataPoint
@the_hindu
by
@VigneshJourno

https://twitter.com/suhasinih/status/1542008749287608322?s=20&t=8AhCGl0X8kmICmnkHwbl_Q
Riaz Haq said…
#India's Top Cement Maker Paying for #Russian #Coal in #Chinese #Yuan. India tried setting up an #INR payment mechanism for #trade with Russia, but that has not materialized. Chinese businesses have used the yuan in trade settlements with Russia for years https://money.usnews.com/investing/news/articles/2022-06-29/exclusive-indias-top-cement-maker-paying-for-russian-coal-in-chinese-yuan

India's biggest cement producer, UltraTech Cement, is importing a cargo of Russian coal and paying using Chinese yuan, according to an Indian customs document reviewed by Reuters, a rare payment method that traders say could become more common.

UltraTech is bringing in 157,000 tonnes of coal from Russian producer SUEK that loaded on the bulk carrier MV Mangas from the Russian Far East port of Vanino, the document showed. It cites an invoice dated June 5 that values the cargo at 172,652,900 yuan ($25.81 million).

Two trade sources familiar with the matter said the cargo's sale was arranged by SUEK's Dubai-based unit, adding that other companies have also placed orders for Russian coal using yuan payments.

The increasing use of the yuan to settle payments could help insulate Moscow from the effects of western sanctions imposed on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine and bolster Beijing's push to further internationalise the currency and chip away at the dominance of the U.S. dollar in global trade.

The sources declined to be identified as they are not authorized to speak to the media. UltraTech and SUEK did not respond to a request seeking comment.

"This move is significant. I have never heard any Indian entity paying in yuan for international trade in the last 25 years of my career. This is basically circumventing the USD (U.S. dollar)," a Singapore-based currency trader said.

The sale highlights how India has maintained trade ties with Russia for commodities such as oil and coal despite the western sanctions. India has longstanding political and security ties with Russia and has refrained from condemning the attack in Ukraine, which Russia says is a "special military operation".

It was not immediately clear which bank opened a letter of credit for UltraTech and how the transaction with SUEK was executed. SUEK did not respond to a request seeking comment.

India has explored setting up a rupee payment mechanism for trade with Russia, but that has not materialized. Chinese businesses have used the yuan in trade settlements with Russia for years.

For Indian trade settlements using the yuan, lenders would potentially have to send dollars to branches in China or Hong Kong, or Chinese banks they have tie-ups with, in exchange for yuan to settle the trade, two senior Indian bankers said.

"If the rupee-yuan-rouble route turns out to be favourable, the businesses have every reason and incentive to switch over. This is likely to happen more," said Subash Chandra Garg, a former economic affairs secretary at India's finance ministry.

India's bilateral trade with China, for which companies largely pay in dollars, has flourished even after a deadly military clash between the two in 2020, though New Delhi has increased scrutiny on Chinese investments and imports, and banned some mobile apps over security concerns.

An Indian government official familiar with the matter said the government was aware of payments in yuan.

"The use of the yuan to settle payments for imports from countries other than China was rare until now, and could increase due to sanctions on Russia," the official said.

---
Business units of Russian coal traders in Dubai have become active hubs for facilitating deals with India in the recent weeks, as Singapore has grown wary of provoking western nations that invoked sanctions against Russia, said multiple coal traders based in Russia, Singapore, India and Dubai.
Riaz Haq said…
Sanctions-Ravaged Russia Offers Opportunities for Indian Firms
Putin says Indian retailers in talks to open stores in Russia
India has already been snapping up cheap Russian crude oil

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-06-30/sanctions-ravaged-russia-offers-opportunities-for-indian-firms#xj4y7vzkg

June 29, 2022 at 8:00 PM PDT


Indian companies are looking to bolster their operations in Russia, eyeing the opening left by the exodus of European, American and Japanese companies after the country’s invasion of Ukraine.

From drugmakers to consumer good firms, a number of Indian companies are either bagging new projects or are gearing up to pitch for more contracts as Moscow seeks fresh partners and vendors to fill the void. Indian retailers are also in talks to open stores in Russia, President Vladimir Putin told a BRICS business forum last week.

Riaz Haq said…
“The Pak-Arab Refinery says it can utilise 15-30 percent Russian crude oil by blending it with the crude oil it imports from the UAE and Saudi Arabia for refining purposes. Byco says Russian crude oil specifications vary from field to field and most of it is acceptable except Ural crude oil, which has a large percentage of sulphur. In short, most of the Russian crude oil is acceptable.”

https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/970302-refineries-views-on-russian-oil-import-sought


At present, refineries open LCs in dollars which are confirmed by foreign banks and information about every transaction in dollars goes to the New York bank. So for the import of Russian oil, refineries cannot make any transactions amid sanctions against Russia. However, refineries say in case the government manages to import the Russian crude oil under any transaction mode, then they can use the Russian crude oil for producing mogas, diesel, and other petroleum products. “Can the government, which is ready to reenter the IMF programme, avoid the sanctions? This is the biggest question that refineries have no answer to.”

In the past, Byco imported two Russian crude oil cargoes but at that time there was no Russia-Ukraine war and there were no sanctions on Russia. According to official and industry sources, Russia used to sell its crude oil through trading companies such as Trafigura, Vitol and others. The said fuel trading companies used to store the Russian oil in Fujairah. From there, it was purchased. Now under the new scenario, the situation has entirely changed. In the presence of the US, the UK and EU sanctions, the refineries will have to import the crude oil from Russia not through the trading companies and this is how the insurance and freight charges for importing crude directly from Russian ports will also matter in the landed cost of Russian product.

According to industrial sources, China is the biggest importer of Russian crude oil and then comes India. India has been using the Russian crude oil for many decades. Under the scenario, it is importing the crude either under the Indian Rupee-Ruble transaction arrangement or a barter deal.

China and Russia are trading in their own currencies. The US and other big western economies have protested against India. However, India rejected their plea saying its economy heavily depends upon fuel from Russia. They said that it is India that also managed to get a waiver from the US sanctions on Tehran for importing fuel from Iran. Since the economic muscle of India is very strong as its reserves stand at $650 billion and is a lucrative market for Russia, the US and EU countries cannot afford to annoy India.

However, Pakistan, they said, is aspiring to be in the IMF programme with only $10 billion in reserves and massive unsustainable external loans. They said that in case Pakistan imports Russian oil, it may face the wrath of the US. The US may influence Saudi Arabia to cut oil facilities Pakistan is presently getting. They also suggested that for importing the Russian oil, the government should also take a nod from the IMF.
Riaz Haq said…
India and the United States: Two Countries That Can’t Live With Each Other or Without Each Other


https://www.nytimes.com/2022/07/11/books/review/a-matter-of-trust-meenakshi-ahamed.html


A MATTER OF TRUST
India-US Relations From Truman to Trump
By Meenakshi Ahamed

Indian leaders’ admiration for the Soviet Union, their refusal to condemn its invasions of Hungary (1956), Czechoslovakia (1968) and Afghanistan (1979), and its reliance on Soviet arms made for a Cold War relationship between India and the United States that was correct at best and, not infrequently, downright hostile. The low point was undoubtedly 1971, when, in response to the Pakistani Army’s assault on East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) and Chinese and American support for Pakistan, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi signed a friendship treaty with the Soviet Union. As a gesture of support for Pakistan, Richard Nixon dispatched the aircraft carrier Enterprise to the Bay of Bengal. Anti-Americanism in India soared.

Nixon, who loathed Mrs. Gandhi, often referring to her in words unprintable here, backed Pakistan, which had been a steadfast ally during the Cold War and, in 1971, was helping to arrange Henry Kissinger’s secret and transformative trip to Beijing. It didn’t matter that Pakistani troops were committing rape, mass killings and pillage in East Pakistan, forcing three million Bengalis to flee to India. India’s defeat of Pakistan, which culminated in East Pakistan’s independence, confirmed Nixon and Kissinger’s conviction that India had used the occasion to achieve its longstanding goal of truncating Pakistan.

.....A series of able, sympathetic American ambassadors, notably Chester Bowles and John Kenneth Galbraith, adroitly navigated the often turbulent diplomatic waters and became beloved figures in India because of the genuine affection they had for it.

By contrast, Nehru’s reflexively anti-American defense minister, Krishna Menon, seemed to make it his mission to alienate American leaders with his hectoring, arrogance and prickliness. Mrs. Gandhi, aloof, quick to take offense, slow to forgive slights, and thus remarkably similar to Nixon, aggravated his insecurities, and stoked his rage. (Another photograph in Ahamed’s book captures their mutual disdain.) George W. Bush admired India’s democracy and probably did more to forge today’s India-United States strategic partnership than any other president. A particularly significant achievement was the 2008 agreement on civilian nuclear cooperation, which cleared the path for India to purchase American nuclear fuel and technology. Because India had not only steadfastly refused to sign the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty but had also become a nuclear-armed state, many barriers had to be overcome to clinch the deal, and Ahamed’s explanation of the intricacies is masterly. So is her explication of Prime Minister Narasimha Rao’s 1991-96 economic reforms, which unshackled India’s regulation-bound economy, boosted growth rates and laid the foundation for increased trade with, and investment from, the United States.
Riaz Haq said…
A MATTER OF TRUST
India-US Relations From Truman to Trump
By Meenakshi Ahamed

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/07/11/books/review/a-matter-of-trust-meenakshi-ahamed.html

Barack Obama preserved the gains made under Bush and was a hit with Indians, but he promised more than he was able — or willing — to deliver. Trump left Modi momentarily, and uncharacteristically, speechless by asking him why India regarded China as a threat when, on Trump’s mental map, the two countries didn’t even share a border. Undaunted, Modi played to Trump’s vanity by arranging for one million Indians to welcome him during his February 2020 trip to the prime minister’s home state, Gujarat.

India and the United States are fellow democracies (though democracy has seen better days in both countries of late). But one of the themes in “A Matter of Trust” is that this commonality hasn’t prevented the collision of interests and acrimony created by India’s alignment with the Soviet Union, and later Russia; the American embrace of Pakistan; and India’s determination to become a nuclear power, despite Washington’s dogged opposition.

The divergence of interests continues. In 2018, India, unmoved by American opposition, signed a $5 billion deal to buy Russia’s top-shelf S-400 air defense system. Similarly, India has refused to publicly condemn, let alone impose sanctions on, Russia following its Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine.

A shared suspicion of China, deepening military and economic ties, and the Indian diaspora’s influence will probably make for increasing comity between the two countries. But each will inevitably fail to meet the other’s expectations. Those wishing to understand the complicated relationship between these two countries will find Ahamed’s perceptive, evenhanded book the best available on the topic, both a pleasure to read and deeply informative.

Riaz Haq said…
INDIA IS A SWING STATE — COOPERATE WITH IT ACCORDINGLY
SHARINEE L. JAGTIANI AND AMEYA PRATAP SINGH

https://warontherocks.com/2022/07/india-is-a-swing-state-cooperate-with-it-accordingly/

Since the high point of its relationship with the West in the early 2010s, India has underperformed on its economic potential, backslid on democratic values, and remained unwilling to commit to more formal security arrangements. This year, India’s diplomatic response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine further dashed hopes in many Western capitals that New Delhi was moving inexorably toward full membership in the Western security community. But this does not mean the West should give up strengthening its partnership with India. Rather, it provides an opportunity for the West to engage with India on more realistic terms.

India’s non-alignment is not, as some policymakers hoped, simply a relic of the Cold War. Rather, it represents a fundamental and enduring aspect of New Delhi’s worldview. By taking India’s status as a global swing state into account and acknowledging its security preferences, the West can still cooperate with it on a mutually productive footing.


This begins with helping India wean itself away from Russian technology, while recognizing that this will not lead India to abandon its commitment to strategic autonomy. Western states should continue to integrate India into loose security arrangements in the Indo-Pacific. These can help New Delhi offset China’s military superiority and offer Western states greater influence, access, and defense integration in India’s maritime neighborhood. Western partners should also embrace India’s role as a continental power and support its deterrence capabilities on the Sino-Indian border. Maintaining the status quo there is a crucial part of any Western strategy to contain China. Finally, India can help Western economies diversify their manufacturing and supply chains away from China. New Delhi does not want to hurt its economy by sanctioning Russia, but this does not mean it wouldn’t willingly participate in policies that strengthen its economy at China’s expense.
Riaz Haq said…
INDIA IS A SWING STATE — COOPERATE WITH IT ACCORDINGLY
SHARINEE L. JAGTIANI AND AMEYA PRATAP SINGH

https://warontherocks.com/2022/07/india-is-a-swing-state-cooperate-with-it-accordingly/


Befriending a Swing State

Taking India’s position as a “global swing state” seriously requires understanding New Delhi’s deep-rooted commitment to the principle of strategic autonomy. This principle is not specific to the Cold War or simply desire for neutrality. Instead, it is fundamental to the way India understands and manages risk in international politics.

NATO represents a trans-Atlantic approach to collective security that prioritizes clearly signaling commitments and taking firm stances against rivals. Indian policymakers have resisted applying a similar approach to China. They see bloc-like formations as narrowing the strategic options for middle and regional powers like theirs. For these reasons, ambiguity has been an asset for India in managing many of its difficult relationships. While India has been called the “weakest link in the Quad,” its resistance to any form of alliance-like language or commitments that would unsettle Beijing has allowed it to maintain economic ties with China since the 1990s. These have not only contributed to a relative peace between the two rivals for decades but also helped India advance its unique development goals. Even today, India and China continue to maintain strong trade relations despite the border clashes of June 2020.

For the first Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, nonalignment was a moral choice and an opportunity for managing great power conflict and creating conditions for peace. The current Bharatiya Janata Party’s government does not consider strategic autonomy in similar terms, but it still thinks of flexibility in decision-making as crucial to Indian security, especially at a time when the world order is shifting. Modi has not endeavored to use India’s neutral position to broker peace between warring factions, as Nehru did during the Korean crisis in 1950. Instead, he has been trying to manage the negative implications of the War in Ukraine on India’s economy and its global reputation. The Bharatiya Janata Party’s vision of strategic autonomy is inward-looking and unapologetically self-interested. This means that, contrary to some Western expectations, India does not want its rivalry with China to be subsumed into the U.S.-China strategic rivalry, nor does it want to subordinate its relationship with Russia in favor of U.S. interests. But that does not mean there are no opportunities for cooperation.

The Limits of Leaving Moscow

In the short term, Western partners can help lessen India’s defense dependency on Russia, but they should not expect this to lead India to abandon Moscow. With the twin threats of China and Pakistan on its northern frontiers, this would be too risky. The Russian-Indian defense relationship is deep and time-tested. It is reinforced by market forces and mutual trust between policymakers. Moreover, Moscow offers India affordable military equipment and respects its desire for technology sharing and domestic capacity building. Indeed, the affordability of Russian defense supplies, along with Moscow’s willingness to aid Indian manufacturing, has been an important part of the relationship.

Even if Western partners are looking to disrupt Russia’s defense trade, they would have to overcome issues of interoperability with India’s current Russian equipment. Sameer Lalwani of the Stimson Center estimated that the share of Russian-origin weapons and platforms (including conventional and nuclear submarines, aircraft carriers, and fighter jets) across Indian armed forces was as high as 85 percent. As Vasabjit Banerjee and Benjamin Tkach predict, this means India will “[seek] out countries that manufacture spares and upgrades for Russian-origin weapons.” It is unclear how willing Western partners would be to help India modernize its current stock of Russian-origin weapons and platforms.

Riaz Haq said…
INDIA IS A SWING STATE — COOPERATE WITH IT ACCORDINGLY
SHARINEE L. JAGTIANI AND AMEYA PRATAP SINGH

https://warontherocks.com/2022/07/india-is-a-swing-state-cooperate-with-it-accordingly/


Additionally, Western partners are only slowly overcoming their reticence to share sensitive defense technology with a non-NATO ally. For instance, U.S. efforts to co-produce the javelin missile with India under the Defense Technology and Trade Initiative failed in 2010 due to American reservations over intellectual property. However, Lockheed Martin has recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding with an Indian Company Bharat Dynamics to revive this process, indicating a newfound readiness to share technology with India. But whether Lockheed Martin’s agreement with Bharat Dynamics will bear fruit and become a precedent for defense trade more generally remains to be seen. The United States and its allies certainly “can offer India more — diplomatically, financially, and militarily — than can Russia.” But the West will need to match the tenor and nature of India’s defense ties with Russia to do so. In any case, defense exports represent a limited opportunity to positively affect India’s security preferences.

Collective Security in the Indo-Pacific

The West can also engage India while respecting its desire for autonomy by continuing to integrate it into loose or minilateral security arrangements such as the Quad. New Delhi has shown that it is unwilling to declare China an enemy or join a NATO-like security arrangement. However, its participation in a growing number of joint military exercises in the Indian Ocean region shows that India is prepared to join Western countries in protecting its maritime interests.

In this narrower geographical scope, where its interests are more closely affected, New Delhi can help Western partners protect important maritime chokepoints. In case of a war with China, India is unlikely to send ships to the Taiwan strait. However, India and the United States have had a logistics agreement in place since 2017 that has facilitated the refueling of ships and tankers. Partnership with India can also provide Western states access to the Indian Ocean Region, where New Delhi now welcomes involvement from extra-regional powers to offset China. Historically, India has sought to deny great powers access to its neighborhood. However, as New Delhi finally confronts its inability to match China’s maritime strengths and economic heft, this is beginning to change. Japan and India are already collaborating to counter Chinese influence in Sri Lanka — similar models could bring this form of cooperation to other parts of the Indo-Pacific.

Opportunities for strategic collaboration also exist along India’s 2100-mile-long disputed border with China. Any Western strategy of containment should seek to bolster India’s standing here. Not only is stopping the Chinese from changing the status quo on the Sino-Indian border important to upholding the norm of territorial sovereignty generally, but the prospect of a two-front war would also deter Chinese adventurism across the Taiwan Strait. Indo-U.S. forces will carry out joint defense exercises in Alaska later this year to increase “jointness, interoperability, and coalition interoperability.” Similar efforts to help India counter China’s infrastructure upgrades and growing military capacity in the Tibetan plateau would simultaneously enhance the Indo-U.S. partnership and strengthen U.S. containment.
Riaz Haq said…
INDIA IS A SWING STATE — COOPERATE WITH IT ACCORDINGLY
SHARINEE L. JAGTIANI AND AMEYA PRATAP SINGH

https://warontherocks.com/2022/07/india-is-a-swing-state-cooperate-with-it-accordingly/

The program for Indo-Pacific Maritime Domain Awareness announced at the Quad leaders’ May 2022 meeting is an important step toward further cooperation. It seeks to provide a “near-real-time, integrated, and cost-effective maritime domain awareness picture” in order to allow Quad members and partners to “fully monitor the waters on their shores and, in turn, to uphold a free and open Indo-Pacific.” The initiative is likely to support greater transparency in the region and shine a light on illegal Chinese fishing as well as aggressive naval expansion. As Zack Cooper and Gregory Poling wrote for War on the Rocks, the “maritime domain awareness initiative combines public goods provision with the Quad’s natural strengths: security cooperation and capacity building”.

However, New Delhi still worries that the initiative reflects Washington’s Pacific-focused vision of the Indo-Pacific, rather than India’s concern with the Western Indian Ocean. Additionally, while India is prepared to work with the United States, it is hesitant about having this cooperation described in overly securitized or anti-Chinese terms. For instance, Gen. Charles Flynn, Commander of the U.S. Pacific Army, said that India could become a useful military “counterweight” to China in the region. U.S. State Department Secretary for South and Central Asia, Donald Lu, in a recent interview suggested that India becoming a “global security power” was “in the interest of the United States”. He further described his vision of India being “militarily ready … to project that power far beyond India’s borders” in defense of the “common view of the security of Asia.” U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan has said that the United States is playing the “long game” with India and would judge it “over the fullness of time.” Such comments by American diplomats and military officials continue to suggest an inevitable alignment of Western security interests with India rather than reflecting India’s own desire for autonomy.

Trade and Supply Chain Resilience

Since the United States is already one of India’s largest trading partners, strengthening relations on this front is a productive avenue for India-U.S. engagement. India has favored an “Act East Policy” to build closer economic ties with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and other important Southeast Asian countries. Its withdrawal from Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, however, shows that this approach has failed. India has, however, recently abandoned its earlier skepticism toward free trade agreements and begun tilting Westward in its trade ties. India is currently negotiating bilateral free trade agreements with the United Kingdom, the European Union, Australia, Canada, and the United Arab Emirates. Throughout these negotiations, India has also been more willing to align its domestic industry standards to global benchmarks on compliance, transparency, market access, labor, and the environment. The rhetoric of self-sufficiency notwithstanding, economic partnership with the West now has unprecedented support in New Delhi.

Riaz Haq said…
INDIA IS A SWING STATE — COOPERATE WITH IT ACCORDINGLY
SHARINEE L. JAGTIANI AND AMEYA PRATAP SINGH

https://warontherocks.com/2022/07/india-is-a-swing-state-cooperate-with-it-accordingly/


That said, a comprehensive agreement on free trade with Washington has remained elusive. Talks failed in 2020, and since then the United States has made an executive decision not to sign any other new free trade agreements. Claiming that India did not allow sufficient access to the agricultural and dairy sector and also levied prohibitively high tariffs on the import of medical devices, the Trump administration also revoked India’s eligibility for concessions under the Generalized System of Preferences. This is a missed opportunity since trade is one area where India’s “swing” westwards is most apparent. Citing India’s existing Free Trade Agreement with Japan and ongoing talks with Australia, Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal has urged the Biden administration to reflect on the potential value of stronger trade relations between both countries.

The benefit of deeper trade ties with India from a strategic standpoint is clear. This would allow Western democracies, businesses, and their supply chains to diversify and build greater resilience. One of the key lessons of the war in Ukraine is that Western dependence on belligerent actors can be weaponized to blunt the effect of sanctions, as the West has been forced to belatedly scramble to find alternatives for Russian oil. The United States should be more proactive in seeking alternatives to China as the “world’s factory”. Countries like India, which have a young and extensive labor force and large domestic markets, offer many of the advantages that China did in the 1990s. Moreover, if this shift was framed in terms of putting a premium on democracy and transparency, it would allow the West to speak to India more openly about concerns over authoritarianism and protectionism. India may be willing to join such a counter-coalition to reduce dependence on China and prevent the weaponization of economic statecraft in the Indo-Pacific, because, unlike with sanctions on Russia, it would be a direct beneficiary.

The Indo-Pacific Economic Framework launched at the last Quad Summit is another step in the right direction. The framework came about as a strategy to replace the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership that the United States withdrew from under President Trump. The Biden Administration hopes the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework will provide flexibility of choice for its 13 members, which constitute 40 percent of the global GDP. Members will launch separate bilateral negotiations with each other based on an “à la carte approach” under the framework. Sullivan clarified that this was “not a traditional free trade agreement” and therefore would not require congressional approval.

At first glance, this may seem to accommodate India’s economic preferences as a developing economy and its general dislike for collective trading agreements. But on closer inspection, there are some evident limitations. Since the Biden administration has promised to protect domestic workers and producers, which requires shielding them from foreign competition, the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework offers no direct market access to the United States. Indeed, Washington could not offer or demand market access without congressional approval. It expects participants “to adjust their economies in lines with a range of new rules on clean energy, taxes, data protection etc. without offering increased market access in return.” As a result, the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework lacks the tangible rewards of a traditional free trade agreement and risks being seen in the region as a tool of U.S. hegemony. India remains enthusiastic about a mutually beneficial economic initiative to counter Chinese influence. But it is unclear how well the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework would serve this goal.

Riaz Haq said…
INDIA IS A SWING STATE — COOPERATE WITH IT ACCORDINGLY
SHARINEE L. JAGTIANI AND AMEYA PRATAP SINGH

https://warontherocks.com/2022/07/india-is-a-swing-state-cooperate-with-it-accordingly/


Conclusion

The war in Ukraine has shown that, when it comes to India’s ties with the West, a revision of expectations is overdue. India’s importance for maintaining the balance of power in the Indo-Pacific makes it impossible to overlook as a partner. Additionally, despite underperforming over the last decade due to global headwinds, India is expected to be the world’s fastest-growing big economy this year. As a result, Western partners should focus on those aspects of trade and continental and maritime security where shared interests offer a strong foundation for cooperation, rather than hope India will continue on a mythical, teleological journey toward becoming Japan. India can be expected to tacitly help balance China’s rise. But it is likely to collaborate with its Western partners as a global swing state, in ways that align with its own geographic and security concerns.
Riaz Haq said…
#India under spotlight for 'laundering' Russian #oil. #US officials believe #Russian crude is being refined in #India and then exported to US & #Europe, circumventing #sanctions that have been imposed on Russia for its invasion of #Ukraine.- Nikkei Asia
https://asia.nikkei.com/Business/Energy/India-under-spotlight-for-laundering-Russian-oil

U.S. State Department Senior Adviser for energy security Amos Hochstein said in a Senate hearing on June 9 that he advised Indian officials to refrain from buying Russian oil. "I would ask two things. One, don't go too far. Don't look like you're taking advantage of the pain that is being felt in European households and the United States. Second, make sure you negotiate well, because if you don't buy [the oil], nobody else [will]," he said.

While it is difficult to identify the source of crude once it has been processed, the numbers tell their own story. According to financial information provider Refinitiv, nearly 24 million barrels of Russian crude oil arrived in India in May, more than eight times the amount a year earlier. In June, the number remained high at more than 20 million barrels.

Imports of Russian oil have surged since Moscow launched its invasion of Ukraine in February. Sales in India are estimated at close to $1.9 billion in May alone, making it an important source of income for Putin's government.

Around 26 million barrels of Russian oil are believed to have arrived in Sikka alone between April and June, 5.3 times more than the level a year earlier. Russian oil comprises 20% of the total delivered to Sikka via sea.

India processes crude oil into exports such as gasoline, diesel fuel and jet fuel. Oil products exported from the port in Sikka totaled around 75 million barrels in the April-June period, with 20% going to Europe or the U.S.



"Oil is not separated and stored in different tanks by source," said an employee at a major Japanese oil wholesaler. "It's almost impossible to precisely locate where imported oil is from."

Reliance Industries declined to comment on the allegations that Russian crude oil might be getting mixed in with raw materials for petroleum products exported to the West.

Indian External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar was more dismissive, saying, "Not even heard about anybody in India thinking along the lines of [buying Russian oil and selling it to somebody else]" at the GLOBSEC 2022 Forum in Bratislava on June 3.

Urals crude is $30 to $40 cheaper per barrel than benchmark Brent crude oil, which is particularly attractive to India, given its concerns over its trade deficit.

China, too, has increased imports of Russian crude by a significant 55% in May from a year ago, according to Reuters. It appears that China is buying undervalued Russian crude oil and gas for its own consumption and to add to what it has been buying from Europe and other countries.

While Russian crude exports are expected to decrease over the long term, purchases by China and India will support its prices.

Furthermore, the shift toward decarbonization has made it hard to invest in oil refineries, which in the short term is putting a squeeze on supplies and prices. Fatih Birol, executive director of the International Energy Agency, told German weekly Der Spiegel that a bottleneck may emerge for products including diesel oil, gasoline and paraffin in Europe.


Riaz Haq said…
#SaudiArabia doubles #Russian oil imports at discounted prices for #power generation for #summer cooling demand and free up the kingdoms own crude for #export. Rising #oil sales to Saudi Arabia show #Biden's challenge in isolating Russia for #UkraineWar https://www.reuters.com/business/energy/exclusive-saudi-arabia-doubles-q2-russian-fuel-oil-imports-power-generation-2022-07-14/

Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest oil exporter, more than doubled the amount of Russian fuel oil it imported in the second quarter to feed power stations to meet summer cooling demand and free up the kingdoms own crude for export, data showed and traders said.

Russia has been selling fuel at discounted prices after international sanctions over its invasion of Ukraine left it with fewer buyers. Moscow calls the war in Ukraine a “special military operation”.

The increased sales of fuel oil, used in power generation, to Saudi Arabia show the challenge that US President Joe Biden faces as his administration seeks to isolate Russia and cut its energy export revenues.

While many countries have banned or discouraged purchases from Russia, China, India and several African and Middle Eastern nations have increased imports.

Biden was on Friday visiting Saudi Arabia and was expected to seek an increase in oil supply to global markets from the kingdom to help to lower oil prices that have aggravated inflation worldwide.

There is little spare capacity for Saudi and others to increase production in the short term. Saudi Arabia has also maintained its cooperation with Russia in the alliance of global producers known as Opec+. The two are the de facto leaders of respectively Opec and non-Opec producers in that group.

Data obtained by Reuters through Refinitiv Eikon ship tracking showed Saudi Arabia imported 647,000 tonnes (48,000 barrels per day) of fuel oil from Russia via Russian and Estonian ports in April-June this year. That was up from 320,000 tonnes in the same period a year ago.

For the full year 2021, Saudi Arabia imported 1.05 million tonnes of Russian fuel oil.

Saudi Arabian and Russian energy ministries declined to comment on the increased imports.
Riaz Haq said…
#Russia seeking #oil payments from #India in #UAE dirhams as #Moscow moves away from the #US #dollar to insulate itself from the effects of Western #sanctions. #Ukraine #energy #EU
https://www.reuters.com/business/energy/exclusive-russia-seeking-oil-payments-india-dirhams-sources-document-2022-07-18/

Russia is seeking payment in United Arab Emirates dirhams for oil exports to some Indian customers, three sources said and a document showed, as Moscow moves away from the U.S. dollar to insulate itself from the effects of Western sanctions.

Russia has been hit by a slew of sanctions from the United States and its allies over its invasion of Ukraine in late February, which it terms a "special military operation".

An invoice seen by Reuters shows the bill for supplying oil to one refiner is calculated in dollars while payment is requested in dirhams.

Russian oil major Rosneft is pushing crude through trading firms including Everest Energy and Coral Energy into India, now its second biggest oil buyer after China.

Western sanctions have prompted many oil importers to shun Moscow, pushing spot prices for Russian crude to record discounts against other grades.

That provided Indian refiners, which rarely bought Russian oil due to high freight costs, an opportunity to snap up exports at hefty discounts to Brent and Middle East staples.

Moscow replaced Saudi Arabia as the second biggest oil supplier to India after Iraq for the second month in a row in June.

At least two Indian refiners have already settled some payments in dirhams, the sources said, adding more would make such payments in coming days.

The invoice showed payments to be made to Gazprombank via Mashreq Bank, its correspondent bank in Dubai.

The United Arab Emirates, seeking to maintain what it says is a neutral position, has not imposed sanctions on Moscow, and the payments could add to the frustration of some in the West, who privately say the UAE's position is untenable and siding with Russia..

The trading firms used by Rosneft have started asking for the dollar equivalent payment in dirhams from this month, the sources said.

Rosneft, Coral Energy and Everest Energy did not respond to Reuters emails seeking comment.

Russia wants to increase its use of non-Western currencies for trade with countries such as India, its foreign minister Sergi Lavrov said in April.

The country's finance minister last month also said Moscow may start buying currencies of "friendly" countries, using such holdings to influence the exchange rate of the dollar and euro as a means of countering sharp gains in the rouble.

The Moscow currency exchange is preparing to launch trading in the Uzbek sum and the dirham.

Dubai, the Gulf's financial and business centre, has emerged as a refuge for Russian wealth.

India, also maintaining a neutral position, recongnises insurance cover by Russian companies and has offered classification to ships managed by a Dubai-based subsidiary of Moscow's top shipping group to enable trade.

India's central bank last week introduced a new mechanism for international trade settlements in rupees, which many experts see as a way to promote trade with countries that are under Western sanctions, such as Russia and Iran.


Riaz Haq said…
India is importing almost 3x as much fertilizer from Russia as it did pre-invasion. “Russia has emerged as the largest supplier of fertilisers to India during April-June this year… [I]mports from Russia were ‘10% cheaper’ than the prevailing prices.”

https://twitter.com/clary_co/status/1550995317864144896?s=20&t=Shlu_Mw4he67BUhCi4MaoA

In development that holds diplomatic significance and brings fiscal savings, Russia has emerged as the largest supplier of fertilisers to India during April-June (Q1, FY23) this year. India imported 7.74 lakh metric tonnes of fertilisers from Russia in the first quarter and this is more than a fifth of the total 36.4 lakh metric tonnes imported from across the globe, according to data shared by Chemicals and Fertilisers Minister Mansukh Mandaviya in a written reply to a question in Lok Sabha on Friday.

https://indianexpress.com/article/india/fertiliser-imports-from-russia-up-8048004/
Riaz Haq said…
JPMorgan says #Russia has had no problem rerouting its #oil #exports from #Europe. Expects Russian production in Q3 to be higher than a year ago. Better-than-expected global production amid signs of a drop in #demand pushing oil #prices lower. #Ukraine https://africa.businessinsider.com/markets/jpmorgan-says-russia-has-had-little-problem-rerouting-its-oil-exports-meaning-the/zsvgs2y?utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter&utm_campaign=share-button

Russia has been able to reroute its oil exports away from Europe without serious disruptions, JPMorgan has said, adding that the expected drop in output "never happened."

Better-than-expected Russian production, along with the release of oil from global strategic reserves, helps explain the recent drop in crude prices, the bank's head of commodities research Natasha Kaneva said in a note to clients.

Russia's oil exports to Europe its biggest market have fallen relatively sharply in 2022, as companies have "self-sanctioned" in the wake of Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine in late February.

However, Russia has been able to shift its exports towards Asia, with India and China in particular stepping up their purchases. More recently, a jump in domestic demand has caused Russian oil production to rise back to prewar levels.

"The market consensus was too pessimistic about Russia's capability to re-route volumes to other buyers," Kaneva and her colleagues said in the note Wednesday. "Russia's exports adjusted towards other buyers without a serious disruption to its production."


"At its peak, the oil market was pricing in the worst-case scenario a 3 million barrel a day loss of Russian production combined with record-high summer demand while, in reality, it never happened."

JPMorgan expects Russia production to produce 9.95 million barrels a day of oil in the third quarter, above the 9.76 million barrels a day produced in the same quarter a year earlier.

It thinks production will slip to 9.5 million barrels a day in 2023, staying relatively strong despite the European Union's ban on most oil imports from the country.

Oil prices have fallen in recent weeks, with global supply stronger than expected and demand likely to weaken in the coming months as the world economy slows. WTI crude, the US benchmark price, was down around 10% over the last month to trade at $98 a barrel Friday.

Russia's oil and gas revenues have helped Putin's government prop up the local currency, the ruble, alleviating some of the pressure on the economy.

However, the economy is still expected to shrink sharply this year. Imports have cratered in a sign of domestic stress.

Yale academics, led by Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, said in a study this week that Western sanctions are "catastrophically crippling" the economy, with domestic production slowing dramatically.
Riaz Haq said…
#India turns to #Russian #fertilizer, showing challenge of isolating #Moscow over #Ukraine. Imports from Russia are up sharply and come on top of record shipments to India of discounted Russian #oil. #Ukraine️war #US #Modi #energy #inflation #economy https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/08/04/india-russia-fertilizer-oil-imports/?tid=ss_tw

India has dramatically increased its imports of fertilizer from Russia in recent months, demonstrating the difficulties the United States and its allies face in isolating Moscow over the invasion of Ukraine.

From April to June, India imported 7.74 million tons of Russian fertilizer, a figure representing about two-thirds of all its fertilizer imports from Russia last year, making the country India’s top supplier, according to information provided in Parliament by the minister of chemicals and fertilizers, Mansukh Mandaviya.

These shipments, including urea and nitrogen-based fertilizers, come on top of record imports of discounted Russian oil. Although Persian Gulf countries remain India’s top suppliers of crude oil, India in July bought about 1 million barrels a day from Russia, a sharp increase since the beginning of the year, according to Bloomberg News. Government data shows that India spent $3.7 billion on Russian oil between January and May, up more than 350 percent from the same period last year.

As the war in Ukraine continues, so does the challenge Western countries face in seeking to stop Russian President Vladimir Putin’s military campaign without hurting the poorest in the world. U.N. Secretary General António Guterres recently warned that vulnerable countries would be on the verge of famine without Russian food and fertilizers.

“There is no option,” agriculture expert Devinder Sharma said of India’s increased fertilizer imports from Russia. “Agricultural production will come under stress without adequate fertilizer supplies.”

Unlike oil, fertilizer is not included in the U.S. sanctions placed on Russia because of the invasion.

For India, this year’s monsoon-season rice crop is crucial after a scorching heat wave in March damaged the country’s staple wheat crop and reduced yields. With food stocks depleted and the climate uncertain, India banned wheat exports this year, saying its food security was “at risk.”

The country has shied away from joining the Western coalition arrayed against Russia, initially because of its dependence on Moscow for weaponry and now because of concerns over energy and food security.

India’s imports of Russian coal and sunflower oil also have jumped. Overall, Russia has become the 10th-largest source of imports to India, according to data from the Indian Ministry of Commerce and Industry, ranking much higher than in previous years. Through May, India imported goods worth $8.3 billion from Russia, nearly triple the value for the same period last year.
Riaz Haq said…
The (Chinese) yuan accounted for 31% of the non-US dollar payments for Russian coal in June and the Hong Kong dollar for 28%. The euro made up under a quarter and the Emirati dirham around one-sixth, the data from the trade source showed.

In June, Indian buyers paid for at least 742,000 tonnes of Russian coal using currencies other than the US dollar, according to a summary of deals compiled by a trade source based in India using customs documents and shared with Reuters, equal to 44% of the 1.7 million of tonnes of Russian imports that month.

https://thewire.in/business/indian-companies-are-swapping-dollar-for-asian-currencies-to-buy-russian-coal-data#:~:text=In%20June%2C%20Indian%20buyers%20paid,of%20Russian%20imports%20that%20month.


Indian companies are using Asian currencies more often to pay for Russian coal imports, according to customs documents and industry sources, avoiding the US dollar and cutting the risk of breaching Western sanctions against Moscow.

Reuters previously reported on a large Indian coal deal involving the Chinese yuan, but the customs data underline how non-dollar settlements are becoming commonplace.

India has aggressively stepped up purchases of Russian oil and coal since the war in Ukraine began, helping to cushion Moscow from the effects of sanctions and allowing New Delhi to secure raw materials at discounts compared to supplies from other countries.

Russia became India’s third-largest coal supplier in July, with imports rising by over a fifth compared with June to a record 2.06 million tonnes.

In June, Indian buyers paid for at least 742,000 tonnes of Russian coal using currencies other than the US dollar, according to a summary of deals compiled by a trade source based in India using customs documents and shared with Reuters, equal to 44% of the 1.7 million of tonnes of Russian imports that month.

Indian steelmakers and cement manufacturers have bought Russian coal using the United Arab Emirates dirham, Hong Kong dollar, yuan and euro in recent weeks, according to customs documents separately reviewed by Reuters.

The yuan accounted for 31% of the non-US dollar payments for Russian coal in June and the Hong Kong dollar for 28%. The euro made up under a quarter and the Emirati dirham around one-sixth, the data from the trade source showed.

The Ministry of Finance, which administers the customs board, did not respond to emails seeking comment confirming the documents. The Ministry of Commerce and Industry declined to comment.

The Reserve Bank of India also did not respond to requests for comment.

The RBI has approved payments for commodities in the Indian rupee, a move it expects to boost bilateral trade with Russia in its own currency.
Riaz Haq said…
#US says #India hid #Russian origin of fuel shipped to the #UnitedStates. US Treasury Dept told India that an Indian ship picked up $oil from a Russian tanker on the high seas, brought it to a port in #Gujarat where it was refined and shipped to US. #Modi https://www.reuters.com/business/energy/us-says-india-hid-russian-origin-fuel-shipped-us-india-cbank-2022-08-13/

The United States has expressed concern to India that it was being used to export fuel made from Russian crude, through high-seas transfers to hide its origin, to New York in violation of US sanctions, a top Indian central banker said on Saturday

The US Treasury Department told India that an Indian ship picked up oil from a Russian tanker on the high seas and brought it to a port in Gujarat on the west coast, where it was refined and shipped on, said Reserve Bank of India Deputy Governor Michael Patra.

US sanctions on Moscow for its February invasion of Ukraine prohibit the import to the United States of Russian-origin energy products including crude oil, refined fuels, distillates, coal and gas.

"The refined output was put back on that ship and it set sail without a destination. In the mid-seas it received the destination so it reached at its course, went to New York," Patra said at an event to celebrate 75 years of India's independence.

The US embassy in New Delhi said it had no immediate comment.

Patra's comments are India's first official public reference to such U.S. concerns. Delhi has not joined the sanctions against Russia or condemned what Moscow calls a "special military operation" in its neighbour.

Patra said he was told the Russian crude was processed and converted into a distillate used for making single-use plastic. He did not identify the Indian vessel or refiner.

"The refined output was put back on that ship and it set sail without a destination. In the mid-seas it received the destination so it reached at its course, went to New York," Patra said at an event to celebrate 75 years of India's independence.

The US embassy in New Delhi said it had no immediate comment.

Patra's comments are India's first official public reference to such U.S. concerns. Delhi has not joined the sanctions against Russia or condemned what Moscow calls a "special military operation" in its neighbour.

Patra said he was told the Russian crude was processed and converted into a distillate used for making single-use plastic. He did not identify the Indian vessel or refiner.
Riaz Haq said…
South Asia Index
@SouthAsiaIndex
Just IN:— "Every barrel of Russian oil delivered to India has Ukrainian blood in it." -Ukraine Foreign Minister.

https://twitter.com/SouthAsiaIndex/status/1559875066967588865?s=20&t=fss3Eobcxi3jzeC-6cPQtQ

--------------

Ukraine's Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba on Wednesday upped the ante on India saying it has "Ukrainian blood" on its hands for buying Russian oil. Several Western nations, including the US and the UK, have urged India to not purchase oil from Russia but India has remained committed to what it calls "Indian interests". On Tuesday, at a 9th India-Thailand Joint Commission Meeting, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said the US and some others may not appreciate India buying Russian oil, but they have accepted it. Jaishankar added that New Delhi has not been defensive about its stand but made them realise that the government had the "moral duty" to ensure that the people got the "best deal".

A day later, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Kuleba held a press briefing and said, "Every barrel of Russian crude oil delivered to India has a good portion of Ukrainian blood in it."

https://www.news9live.com/world/every-barrel-of-russian-oil-delivered-to-india-has-ukrainian-blood-in-it-ukraine-foreign-minister-190074
Riaz Haq said…
The United States has told India that an Indian ship was used earlier this year to export fuel made from Russian crude to New York through high-seas transfers, a top Indian central bank official said on Saturday.


https://www.business-standard.com/article/current-affairs/indian-ship-used-to-move-russian-linked-fuel-to-new-york-us-tells-india-122081700316_1.html#:~:text=The%20United%20States%20has%20told,bank%20official%20said%20on%20Saturday.

The U.S. Treasury Department told India that an Indian ship picked up oil from a Russian tanker on the high seas and brought it to a port in Gujarat on the west coast, where it was refined and shipped on, said Reserve Bank of India Deputy Governor Michael Patra.

U.S. sanctions on Moscow for its February invasion of Ukraine prohibit the import to the United States of Russian-origin energy products including crude oil, refined fuels, distillates, coal and gas.

"The refined output was put back on that ship and it set sail without a destination. In the mid-seas it received the destination so it reached at its course, went to New York," Patra said at an event to celebrate 75 years of India's independence.

The U.S. embassy in New Delhi said it had no immediate comment.

Patra's comments are India's first official public reference to such U.S. concerns. Delhi has not joined the sanctions against Russia or condemned what Moscow calls a "special military operation" in its neighbour.

Patra said he was told the Russian crude was processed and converted into a distillate used for making single-use plastic. He did not identify the Indian vessel or refiner.

"So that's the way war works. It works in strange ways," he said.

India, the world's number 3 oil importer and consumer rarely bought Russian oil in the past. But since the war started, Indian refiners have been snapping up discounted Russian oil, shunned by many Western countries and companies.
Riaz Haq said…
#Biden's effort to isolate #Russia has a big problem: #India. India accounted for less than 1% of Russia's #oil exports prior to the invasion, but was up to 13% by July, helping to offset Russia's lost market share in #Europe. #UkraineRussiaWar #Modi #US https://www.axios.com/2022/09/01/india-russian-oil-military-exercises

Two global powers are undercutting Western efforts to isolate Russia and deplete the Kremlin coffers as they scale up purchases of Russian oil and join Russia this week in major military exercises.

Why it matters: One of those countries is China, which has moved closer to Moscow amid its confrontation with the U.S. The other, though, is India — one of Washington's most valued partners, which has taken a neutral position on Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

How it happened: The EU was by far the top destination for Russian oil prior to February's invasion of Ukraine, but EU countries have cut back their purchases and plan to end nearly all imports of Russian oil by year's end.

Even still, Russia's oil revenues are on track to jump by 38% this year, per Reuters. Asked about that projection this week, a White House spokesperson said it had made clear to countries that this is no time for "business as usual with Russia."
For China and India, it's been far beyond business as usual — they've both dramatically increased their purchases. India accounted for less than 1% of Russia's oil exports prior to the invasion, but was up to 13% by July, helping to offset Russia's lost market share in Europe.
Yes, but: That's due not to politics, but price. Prices from the Gulf have been sky-high, Russia is selling at a discount, and India is trying to keep inflation down and recover economically from the pandemic, Tanvi Madan of Brookings tells Axios.

Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar has called it an "obligation and moral duty" to get the lowest-possible energy prices for Indian consumers. Russia, meanwhile, has praised India for resisting Western pressure.
What to watch: To stop Russia from benefiting from the high oil prices that its invasion helped create, the White House wants to put a price cap on Russian oil. G7 finance ministers will discuss that proposal on Friday.

For it to be effective, they'll need India on board. U.S. Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo visited New Delhi last week and said he'd had "a very constructive conversation" with Indian officials on the cap.
India has thus far been noncommittal. It stands to benefit from lower prices, but will be wary of provoking Moscow — particularly considering its military's overwhelming reliance on Russian arms.

Zoom out: The long-standing military relationship between India and Russia is on display this week at the Vostok war games in Russia's far east, which will also include China and several other countries.

India's troops will be "full-fledged" participants, not just observers, a source briefed on the matter tells Axios. The source noted that India has taken part in similar exercises in the past but doesn't "always publicize it."
Asked about India's participation, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said the U.S. "has concerns about any country exercising with Russia while Russia wages an unprovoked, brutal war against Ukraine."
Between the lines: She avoided any direct criticism of India and dodged a follow-up as to whether the U.S. has pressured India to stop helping Russia, as it has pressured China.

The Biden administration recognizes that India's long-standing relationship with Russia won't fade away overnight, and while it's trying to help New Delhi diversify its arms supply away from Russia, the U.S. priority is deepening coordination in the Indo-Pacific, Madan says.
The bottom line: India is too important to the U.S. strategy toward one top rival, China, to push back too hard as it undermines U.S. policy toward the other.


Riaz Haq said…
As the world lurches through the growing pains of massive geopolitical change, the US’ relationship with India will increasingly take center stage. Washington likes to see itself as providing a geopolitical center of gravity that is inherently attractive to nations like India, especially against regional competitors such as China. As the US is about to discover, however, India and China have a shared ambition about who should dominate the Pacific in the coming century, and it doesn’t include the US. Op Ed by Scott Ritter

https://www.energyintel.com/00000183-21d9-d467-adc7-21fdd54f0000

On Aug. 19, India’s minister of external affairs, Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, gave a speech at a university in Thailand where he stated that relations between India and China were going through “an extremely difficult phase” and that an “Asian Century” seemed unlikely unless the two nations found a way to “join hands” and start working together.

For many observers, Jaishankar’s speech was taken as an opportunity for the US to drive a wedge between India and China, exploiting an ongoing border dispute along the Himalayan frontier to push India further into a pro-US orbit together with other Western-leaning regional powers. What these observers overlooked, however, was that the Indian minister was seeking the exact opposite from his speech, signaling that India was, in fact, interested in working with China to develop joint policies that would seek to replace US-led Western hegemony in the Pacific.

Struggle for Leadership

More than six decades ago, then-US Senator John F. Kennedy noted that there was a “struggle between India and China for the economic and political leadership of the East, for the respect of all Asia, for the opportunity to demonstrate whose way of life is the better.” The US, Kennedy argued, needed to focus on providing India the help it needed to win that struggle — even if India wasn’t asking for that help or, indeed, seeking to “win” any geopolitical contest with China.

Today, the relationships between the US, India and China have matured, with all three wrestling with complex, and often contradictory, policies that are simultaneously cooperative and confrontational. Notwithstanding this, the US continues to err on the side of helping India achieve a geopolitical “win” over China. One need only consider the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, or “Quad,” conceived in 2007, but dormant until 2017, when it was resurrected under US leadership to bring together the US, Japan, Australia and India in an effort to create a regional counterweight to China’s growing influence.

There was a time when cooler heads cautioned against such an assertive US-led posture on a regional response to an expansive, and expanding, Chinese presence in the Indo-Pacific region. This line of thinking held that strong Indian relationships with Tokyo and Canberra should be allowed to naturally progress, independent of US regional ambitions.

These same “cool heads” argued that the US needed to be realistic in its expectations on relations between India and China, avoiding the pitfalls of Cold War-era “zero-sum game” calculations. The US should appreciate that India needed to implement a foreign policy that best met Indian needs. Moreover, they argued, a US-Indian relationship that was solely focused on China would not age well, given the transitory realities of a changing global geopolitical dynamic.

The Asian Century

The key to deciphering Jaishanker’s strategic intent in his Thailand comments lay in his use of the term “Asian Century.” This echoed the words of former Chinese reformist leader Deng Xiaoping, who, in a meeting with former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in 1988, declared that “in recent years people have been saying that the next century will be the century of Asia and the Pacific, as if that were sure to be the case. I disagree with this view.” Deng went on to explain that unless China and India focus their respective and collective energies on developing their economies, there could, in fact, be no “Asian Century.”


Riaz Haq said…
The Asian Century

The key to deciphering Jaishanker’s strategic intent in his Thailand comments lay in his use of the term “Asian Century.” This echoed the words of former Chinese reformist leader Deng Xiaoping, who, in a meeting with former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in 1988, declared that “in recent years people have been saying that the next century will be the century of Asia and the Pacific, as if that were sure to be the case. I disagree with this view.” Deng went on to explain that unless China and India focus their respective and collective energies on developing their economies, there could, in fact, be no “Asian Century.”

While Washington may not have heard the subtle implications of Jainshankar’s words, Beijing appears to have done so. Almost immediately after the text of the Indian minister’s comments was made public, the spokesperson for China’s foreign minister declared that both India and China “have the wisdom and capability to help each other succeed rather than undercutting each other.” The takeaway from this exchange is that while both China and India view their ongoing territorial disputes as problematic, they are able and willing to keep their eye on the bigger picture — the ascendancy of the so-called “Asian Century”.

The fact is that India and China have been working toward this goal for some time now. Both are critical participants in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, which envisions the growth and empowerment of a trans-Eurasian economic zone that can compete with the economies of the US and Europe on a global scale. Likewise, India and China are actively cooperating within the framework of the Brics economic forum, which is emerging as a direct competitor to the Western-dominated G7.

While it is possible for India to navigate a policy path balancing the US and China in the short term, eventually it will need to go all in on China if its aspirations for an “Asian Century” are ever to be met. This narrative is overlooked by those in the US pursuing zero-sum policies with India when it comes to China.

Given the destiny inherent in the collective embrace of an “Asian Century” by India and China, the US could well find itself on the outside looking in when it comes to those wielding influence in the Pacific going forward. One thing is for certain — the “American Pacific Century” which encompasses the period between the Spanish-American War and the post-Cold War era, where US military, political, and economic power reigned supreme, has run its course. Whether or not India and China will be able to supplant it with an “Asian Century” is yet to be seen. But one thing is for certain — the strategic intent is certainly there.

Scott Ritter is a former US Marine Corps intelligence officer whose service over a 20-plus-year career included tours of duty in the former Soviet Union implementing arms control agreements, serving on the staff of US Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf during the Gulf War and later as a chief weapons inspector with the UN in Iraq from 1991-98. The views expressed in this article are those of the author.
Riaz Haq said…
Narendra Modi’s Outreach to Vladimir Putin Risks Putting India in US Crosshairs - Bloomberg

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-09-15/modi-s-outreach-to-putin-risks-putting-india-in-us-crosshairs


Modi so far has managed to thread the needle between the two sides. But “no matter how much India wants to maintain the Russia relationship,” says @horror06 (Indrani Bagchi), “this is going to get more difficult as time goes by”


As Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi meets Russia’s Vladimir Putin and attends a summit with China’s Xi Jinping on Friday, he’ll need to avoid looking too chummy with the US’s two top adversaries.

Modi’s face-to-face meeting with Putin will take place Friday in Uzbekistan, where a host of leaders are gathering for a summit of the Chinese-founded Shanghai Cooperation Organization, a group intended to counter the US-led global system. At that event, he’ll also rub shoulders with Xi, whom Modi hasn’t met in person since late 2019.


With Russia’s war in Ukraine in its seventh month, India has emerged as one of the biggest swing nations. The US and its allies have so far largely avoided pressuring New Delhi over its close ties with Russia, a key supplier of weapons and energy. That’s partly to keep Modi on its side against China in part through the Quad, a grouping that also includes Japan and Australia.

Modi so far has managed to thread the needle between the two sides while advancing India’s own interests. He’s sought cheaper oil and much-needed weapons, to counter Beijing’s aggression along their disputed Himalayan border and more investments from the US and its allies seeking to diversify supply chains away from China.

But whether he can keep that up is another question. The early tolerance for India’s position, along with its insistence that it would take time to unwind its deep security relationship with Russia, is beginning to run into greater resistance as the US and its allies ramp up efforts to impose a cap on the price for Russian oil to cut Putin’s income.



“India’s neutral public positioning on the invasion has raised difficult questions in Washington DC about our alignment of values and interests,” said Richard Rossow, a senior adviser on India policy at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “Such engagements -- especially if they trigger new or expanded areas of cooperation that benefit Russia -- will further erode interest among Washington policy makers for providing India a ‘pass’ on tough sanctions decision.”

So far, the Biden administration has signaled it’s not interested in sanctioning New Delhi over its recent decision to buy the S-400 missile defense system from Russia. Turkey’s purchase of the same system deeply damaged US ties with the NATO ally.

Yet friction points are emerging. India has been pushing back on a price cap on Russian oil suggested by the US as its crude imports surged five times to cross $5 billion in the three months to the end of May.



Last week, the White House approved a $450 million package to upgrade the F-16 fighter jet fleet of India’s historic rival Pakistan -- a move New Delhi opposed.

And India also angered Japan by recently joining the Russia-led Vostok-2022 military exercises held around a group of islands known as the southern Kurils in Russia and the Northern Territories in Japan -- a territorial dispute that dates back to the end of World War II. India ended up scaling back its participation in the war games -- especially staying out of naval drills -- out of deference to Japan, but it left a mark.

One Japanese official, who asked not to be named discussing a sensitive topic, asked whether India would be comfortable if Japanese troops had participated in drills with Pakistan’s military but merely skipped exercises in the disputed region of Kashmir.

Riaz Haq said…
Narendra Modi’s Outreach to Vladimir Putin Risks Putting India in US Crosshairs - Bloomberg

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-09-15/modi-s-outreach-to-putin-risks-putting-india-in-us-crosshairs


India’s Foreign Ministry didn’t respond to a request for comment. Japan’s Foreign Ministry didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment made outside of office hours.

“The challenge for India is managing a declining relationship with Russia, nurturing a growing relationship with the US and securing its interests on all sides as a growing power,” said Indrani Bagchi, chief executive officer of the Ananta Aspen Centre, a research group on international relations and public policy. “No matter how much India wants to maintain the Russia relationship, this is going to get more difficult as time goes by.”



Modi appears aware of the optics toward the US. He was set to fly into Uzbekistan late on Thursday, missing an official dinner to kick off the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit that would’ve produced plenty of photo opportunities with both Xi and Putin, according to people familiar with the situation, who asked not to be named.



India’s partners in the West will be closely watching the tone of any statements after Modi’s meeting with Putin. One particular area of interest is trade: In the first seven months this year, India’s imports from Russia stood at a little over $13 billion compared with just $2 billion a year earlier, according to Commerce Ministry figures. India’s exports to Russia dipped to $700 million in the same period compared to $950 million a year earlier.

While India’s historical connection with Russia will be tough to break, officials in New Delhi are more wary of China. The “no limits” friendship reached by Xi and Putin earlier this year also may factor into India’s long term strategic planning as tensions with China continue to simmer along their contested Himalayan border despite a recent pull-back of troops.



“Increasingly there are suggestions that Russia will largely follow China, especially after the Ukraine crisis,” said Harsh Pant, a professor of international relations at King’s College London. “And that is going to be one big part of the puzzle that India will have to solve.”
Riaz Haq said…
The big picture: The SCO is a political, economic and security organization designed to counter U.S. influence, which Beijing and Moscow founded in 2001.

https://www.axios.com/2022/09/15/xi-putin-meeting-samarkand


It comprises leaders from India and Central Asia, including Kazakhstan, which was Xi's first stop on his three-day trip to Central Asia. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi attended the summit as well.

-----------

China's President Xi Jinping met with Russia's leader Vladimir Putin in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit Thursday.

Why it matters: Their first in-person encounter since Russian forces launched their Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine marks a show of diplomatic support for the Russian president after Ukrainian troops forced his forces to retreat from much of Ukraine's northeast, even as Putin acknowledged that Beijing may have "questions and concerns" regarding the war.

Xi is aiming to bolster his standing as a geopolitical statesman in his first trip outside China since early in the COVID-19 pandemic before October's Communist Party leaders' meeting, when he's expected to secure a third term in office.
What they're saying: “We highly appreciate the balanced position of our Chinese friends in connection with the Ukrainian crisis,” Putin said in his opening remarks at the meeting, the New York Times reported.

“We understand your questions and concerns in this regard. During today’s meeting, of course, we will explain in detail our position on this issue, although we have spoken about this before," he added.
Putin also referred to Xi as a “dear and longtime friend," adding that Russia supports the One China principle and condemns the U.S.' "provocations" in Taiwan, per the Washington Post.
Xi did not comment on Ukraine or the perceived threat from NATO in his remarks at the meeting.
However, China released a statement after the meeting noting that it was "ready to work with Russia in extending strong support to each other on issues concerning their respective core interests," per the Times.
Worth noting: The Kremlin claimed in a statement ahead of Putin's trip to Samarkand that a senior official from the ruling Chinese Communist Party said during a visit to Russia last week that Beijing "understands and supports Russia," in particular "on the situation in Ukraine."

The state-run Xinhua News Agency said Li Zhanshu, the third-ranking member of the CCP, met with Putin, but it did not mention comments about Ukraine. It said Li pledged to "continue to work with Russia to firmly support each other on issues concerning each other's core interests and major concerns."
The big picture: The SCO is a political, economic and security organization designed to counter U.S. influence, which Beijing and Moscow founded in 2001.


It comprises leaders from India and Central Asia, including Kazakhstan, which was Xi's first stop on his three-day trip to Central Asia. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi attended the summit as well.
Iran announced earlier this week it would join the SCO, underscoring the growing alignment between the U.S.'s top adversaries.
Flashback: Xi and Putin last met in early February in Beijing, where they jointly announced a "no limits" partnership and the arrival of a "new era" of global politics — just weeks before Putin's invasion of Ukraine.

The Chinese leader backed the Russian president in warning against Western "interference" and a NATO expansion — which Putin later blamed in his attempts to try and justifying his forces' unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.
Between the lines: Both Putin and Xi are now in more precarious situations than they were in February. The Russian economy is increasingly isolated by a tough Western-led sanctions regime, and the Russian army has recently suffered major setbacks in Ukraine after a successful counteroffensive by the Ukrainian military.

Riaz Haq said…
Russian President Vladimir Putin told India's Narendra Modi on Friday that he understood New Delhi's concerns about the conflict in Ukraine and wanted it to end "as soon as possible", according to a readout of a bilateral meeting published by the Kremlin.

https://news.yahoo.com/putin-tells-modi-understands-indias-142301013.html

The Indian prime minister told Putin on the sidelines of a regional security bloc summit in Uzbekistan: "I know that today's era is not an era of war, and I have spoken to you on the phone about this." He said democracy, diplomacy and dialogue kept the world together.

But Putin said Kyiv had rejected negotiations and was set on achieving its own objectives "on the battlefield".

"I know your position on the conflict in Ukraine, your concerns that you constantly express," he told Modi on the sidelines of a summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation in Samarkand, Uzbekistan.


"We will do everything to stop this as soon as possible. Only, unfortunately, the opposing side, the leadership of Ukraine, announced its rejection of the negotiation process and stated that it wants to achieve its goals by military means."

Russia controls around a fifth of Ukraine after sending its armed forces into its neighbour's territory from several directions in February.

It says that what it calls a "special military operation" was necessary to prevent Ukraine being used as a platform for Western aggression, and to defend Russian-speakers.

Kyiv and its Western allies dismiss these arguments as baseless pretexts for an imperial-style war of acquisition, and have urged Russia to withdraw unconditionally.

Putin had made similar comments to Chinese leader Xi Jinping on Thursday, saying he understood Beijing's concerns about the conflict.

Russia is trying to forge closer ties with both China and India as Moscow faces isolation and onerous sanctions from the West over its invasion of Ukraine.

Both countries have stepped up their purchases of Russian energy - trading at a discount on world markets as Western countries buy less - and talked about building closer economic ties.

(Reporting by Reuters; Editing by Kevin Liffey)
Riaz Haq said…
Senators seek secondary sanctions on Russian oil purchases that could irk India, China


https://worldoil.com/news/2022/9/20/u-s-senators-seek-secondary-sanctions-on-russian-oil-purchases/

(Bloomberg) — A bipartisan pair of senators is pressing the Biden administration to use secondary sanctions to enforce a cap on the price of Russian oil.

The push comes as the US and Group of Seven nations seek to limit Russian President Vladimir Putin’s ability to fund his war in Ukraine.

Senators Chris Van Hollen, a Maryland Democrat, and Pennsylvania Republican Pat Toomey are working on legislation that would impose secondary sanctions on foreign firms that facilitate the trade of Russian oil and on countries that increase their purchases of the commodity.

The pair worked together before and co-sponsored the Senate version of the Hong Kong Autonomy Act that imposed sanctions on Chinese officials involved in the crackdown on dissent in the territory and was signed into law by Donald Trump.

“We have yet to effectively cut off funding to Putin’s war machine by diminishing Russia’s revenues from energy sales,” Van Hollen and Toomey, who are both members of the Banking Committee, said in a statement. “In order to successfully enforce the price cap, it’s clear the administration requires new authority from Congress.”

The legislation sets up a clash with the Biden administration, which has previously rejected secondary sanctions as a way to enforce the oil price cap. Biden’s team argues that the economic incentives of a cap are sufficient to induce cooperation and secondary sanctions would create tensions with nations such as India, which continue to buy Russian oil.

Buyer Incentives

“I don’t think you need secondary sanctions for this to work,” Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo said in a Sept/ 6 interview with Bloomberg reporters in New York. “The incentives of buyers are aligned with the incentives of the countries that are putting in place the price cap.”

A Treasury Department spokesperson declined to comment. A person familiar with the matter, who asked not to be identified discussing private deliberations, said Treasury had been briefed on the framework.

But Congress has repeatedly steered the administration toward harder-line policies on Russia since its Feb. 24 invasion. The most prominent example was when the administration, under pressure from lawmakers, reversed its opposition to cutting off some Russian banks from the SWIFT financial messaging system.

Bilateral Strains

If passed, the legislation could provoke a major fight with countries such as India and China, which have ramped up their purchases of Russian oil and have reacted coolly to the idea of a price cap. The US has been careful in its interactions with India on the price cap, pitching it as a way to negotiate lower prices from Russia but steering clear of threatening penalties for failing to join the scheme.

Under the two senators’ proposal, the US and its allies would be required to impose a cap on the price of Russian seaborne oil by March 2023. The cap would then be reduced by one-third every year until it reaches the break-even price within three years, depriving Putin of any revenue above the price of production. The president can waive the price reduction if the administration determines it would cause the global price of oil to spike.

The cap would be enforced by secondary sanctions on any firms involved in the sale or transportation of Russian oil, including banks, insurance and re-insurance companies and brokerages.

The legislation, which has not yet been introduced, would also penalize countries found to be importing Russian oil, oil products, gas and coal above their pre-war levels.

Van Hollen and Toomey said secondary sanctions would give the administration the tools it needs to “hold accountable the financial institutions supporting those countries involved in rampant war profiteering from Russian exports.”

Riaz Haq said…
#Russia becomes #India’s 2nd-largest crude #oil supplier after #SaudiArabia. India’s September imports of Russian oil rose 18.5% from August reaching 879,000 barrels per day (bpd) of #Russian oil in September 2022.
https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/industry/energy/oil-gas/russia-becomes-indias-2nd-largest-crude-supplier/articleshow/94628529.cms


India’s September imports of Russian oil rose 18.5% from August after falling for two months, making it the country’s second-largest crude supplier after Saudi Arabia, according to energy cargo tracker Vortexa. The import of 879,000 barrels per day (bpd) of Russian oil in September is the second highest in a month ever for India after June’s 933,000 bpd.

“India may consider importing more Russian crude this quarter as refiners ramp up runs to meet the seasonal rise in domestic demand an ..

Riaz Haq said…
Suhasini Haidar
@suhasinih
Russia is India's second largest oil supplier, contribution to Indian imports now 21% , up from 1% before Ukraine war

https://www.business-standard.com/article/international/russia-bounces-back-to-become-india-s-second-largest-crude-supplier-in-sep-122100100217_1.html

https://twitter.com/suhasinih/status/1577124600399659008?s=20&t=d6vjRJYgQz8UUgURupmObg
Riaz Haq said…
Pakistan, Ukraine, And The Race For Third-Party Ammunition
In the rush to source artillery rounds, Ukraine and its allies turned to Pakistan and an air bridge provided by military cargo planes.

BY
ELISABETH GOSSELIN-MALO
| PUBLISHED OCT 6, 2022 7:11 PM

https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/pakistan-ukraine-and-the-race-for-third-party-ammunition


In a plea for assistance in June of this year, Ukraine’s Deputy Head of Military Intelligence, Vadym Skibitsky, told reporters that the conflict with Russia “is now an artillery war that we are losing, [as] Ukraine has one artillery piece to 10-15 Russian artillery pieces and we have almost used up all of our ammunition.” Although the United States and allies in Europe were already delivering shells to Ukraine, they themselves found their stocks also decreasing at an alarming rate. In a surprising development, Pakistan emerged as an important source and an air bridge was established to bring much-needed ammunition to Ukraine.


In a war where artillery has become king, both Russia and Ukraine have been looking for any means to refill their ammunition reserves. Russia's losses of major weapons storage areas, especially to precision strikes from Ukraine's U.S.-supplied High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS), only accelerated its need for fresh ammunition.

Ukraine had burned through its Soviet-era artillery stocks just a handful of months into the war and was gobbling up whatever its allies could give it. These concerns seem to have effectively warranted a boost in the capacity and creativity of both manufacturers and states, as both Russia and Ukraine have turned to unforeseen partners for answers.


For NATO states, employing standard calibers enables them to further share ammunition stores. But several months into the conflict, the West had to think outside the box to replenish Ukrainian artillery stockpiles, which by then comprised of a mix of Soviet-era and NATO calibers and types.

Beginning on August 6, open-source intelligence began to reveal that a U.K. Royal Air Force (RAF) C-17 Globemaster III aircraft (serial ZZ143) was conducting almost daily flights from Romania’s Cluj International Airport or RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus to Pakistan’s Nur Khan Air Base. This development came days after Britain announced it would be supplying Ukraine with more than 50,000 Soviet-type artillery shells. Over the course of 15 days, the C-17 Pakistan-Romania airlift effort completed a total of 12 trips, leading many analysts to assume that the United Kingdom was transporting military supplies for the Ukrainians. No flights have been tracked between these destinations since August 22.

While we don't know exactly what those aircraft were carrying, evidence of 122mm HOW HE-D30 artillery shells manufactured by the Pakistan Ordnance Factories (POF) in Ukrainian hands subsequently emerged. In one video gone viral on social media, seen below, where the POF 122-mm shells are seen being unpacked, it is possible to identify them based on several elements including the specific British-style steel-box packaging typically used by the company and the LIU-4 type fuzes that are also distinctive to POF’s Soviet-type 122mm artillery.

Riaz Haq said…
Pakistan, Ukraine, And The Race For Third-Party Ammunition
In the rush to source artillery rounds, Ukraine and its allies turned to Pakistan and an air bridge provided by military cargo planes.

https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/pakistan-ukraine-and-the-race-for-third-party-ammunition

While no flights have been tracked between these destinations since August 22, it appears that the Pakistan-made projectiles are now in the hands of Ukrainian troops. In a video gone viral on social media, where the POF 122-mm shells are seen being unpacked, it is possible to identify them based on several elements including the specific British-style steel-box packaging typically used by the company and the LIU-4 type fuzes that are also distinctive to POF’s Soviet-type 122mm artillery.

Since the appearance of this footage on the battlefield, no formal confirmation has been given by either Pakistani or British authorities. When reached for comment, a senior POF employee told The War Zone that “he was told not to answer any of the questions related to this matter.” Similarly, the only remark the U.K. MoD has given on the issue is that the country “remains steadfast in its support for Ukraine and it is working with a range of allies and partners to ensure it has what it needs to defend itself against Russia’s brutal invasion.” More recently, the RAF’s C-17 aircraft has been active but only within Europe making regular trips from and to Poland’s Rzeszow Air Base, which serves as an entry point to ship military aid into Ukraine.

The POF’s 122mm HOW HE-D30 projectiles are semi-fixed ammunition for howitzers, with a maximum range of 9.5 miles and a muzzle velocity (the speed at which projectile leaves the barrel) of 2,270 feet per second (690 meters/s.) The complete weight of the round, taking into account the projectile and shell, is about 28 pounds.

It is important to note that the entry of Pakistani ordnance into the conflict would never turn the tide of the war, given also that the number of rounds sent remains unknown. But it may have played a significant role in bridging the gap between the delivery of more Western artillery systems and Ukraine's wind-down of using Soviet-era ones.


Although it may be surprising to see British authorities turn to POF for these supplies, the two actually share a long-standing history. The POF was established in 1951 by the Pakistani government with collaboration from the British Royal Ordnance Factory (an ensemble of U.K. munition factories established during and after World War II). Public British Parliament documents further show that in the 1970s, under licensed production deals, Britain provided training for the engineers and POF staff as well as a technology transfer for the manufacturing of 105mm L64 Tungsten ammunition. The POF is also one of the main manufacturers still producing large amounts of Soviet-style artillery ammunition.

--------

The story of Pakistani artillery shells making their way to Ukrainian artillery is something of a metaphor for how the push to supply Kyiv with the weapons it needed to hold off the Russian war machine. These efforts, which appear to have been clandestine, at least in part, look to have been an 'all hands on deck' scramble. Old relationships, modern airlifter logistics, plenty of money, and the will to make it happen proved integral in helping save Ukraine from being completely overrun by Russian forces.
Riaz Haq said…
NEW DELHI, Oct 27 (Reuters) - India's oil imports from the Middle East fell to a 19-month low in September while Russian imports rebounded although refining outages hit overall crude imports, data from trade and shipping sources showed.

https://www.reuters.com/business/energy/indias-russian-oil-binge-sends-middle-east-imports-19-mth-low-trade-2022-10-27/

Iraq remained the top supplier while Russia overtook Saudi Arabia as the second biggest after a gap of a month, the data showed.

India's total oil imports in September fell to a 14-month low of 3.91 million barrels per day (bpd), down 5.6% from a year earlier, due to maintenance at refiners such as Reliance Industries (RELI.NS) and Indian Oil Corp (IOC.NS), the data showed.

India's imports from the Middle East fell to about 2.2 million bpd, down 16.2% from August, the data showed, while imports from Russia increased 4.6% to about 896,000 bpd after dipping in the previous two months.

Russia's share of India's oil imports surged to an all-time high of 23% from 19% the previous month while that of the Middle East declined to 56.4% from 59%, the data showed.

The share of Caspian Sea oil, mainly from Kazakhstan, Russia and Azerbaijan, rose to 28% from 24.6%.

India has emerged as Russia's second biggest oil buyer after China, taking advantage of discounted prices as some Western entities shun purchases over Moscow's invasion of Ukraine.

"The discount on Russian oil has narrowed now but when you compare its landed cost with other grades such as those from the Middle East, Russian oil turned out to be cheaper," said a source at one of India's state refiners.

Imports for Saudi Arabia fell to a three-month low of about 758,000 bpd, down 12.3% from August, while imports from Iraq plunged to 948,400 bpd, their lowest level in a year, the data showed.

Imports from the United Arab Emirates declined to a 16-month low of about 262,000 bpd.

Higher intake of Caspian Sea oil has hit the share of other regions in India's imports in April-September, the first half of the fiscal year, and also cut OPEC's market share in the world's third biggest oil importer and consumer to its lowest ever.

In the first half of this fiscal year, Indian refiners also reduced purchases of African oil, mostly bought from the spot market. However, supply from the Middle East rose from a low base last year when the second wave of the coronavirus cut fuel demand.
Riaz Haq said…
#Russia Becomes #India’s Top Crude Oil Supplier, Overtaking OPEC Heavyweights #Iraq & #SaudiArabia. India received record-breaking 946,000 barrels per day (bpd) of #Russian crude in October. #UkraineWar #Modi #Putin | OilPrice.com https://oilprice.com/Latest-Energy-News/World-News/Russia-Becomes-Indias-Top-Crude-Oil-Supplier.html #oilprice

Before the Russian invasion of Ukraine, India was a small marginal buyer of Russian crude oil. After Western buyers started shunning crude from Russia, India became a top destination for Russian oil exports alongside China.

Indian refiners haven’t expressed hesitation to deal with Russia—their primary incentive to buy has been the much cheaper Russian oil than international benchmarks and similar grades from the Middle East and Africa.

According to Vortexa’s estimates, India—the world’s third-largest crude oil importer—shipped in a record 946,000 bpd of crude from Russia last month, up by 8% compared to September. Total Indian imports increased by 5% month on month in October, Vortexa data cited by the Economic Times showed.

Of note was that Russia surpassed both Iraq and Saudi Arabia to become the number-one crude oil supplier to India. Russian crude accounted for 22% of all Indian imports last month, while Iraq’s share was at 20.5% and Saudi Arabia’s—at 16%.

Going forward, there will be a lot of uncertainties among buyers over Russia’s oil exports when the EU embargo enters into force on December 5.

Indian Oil Corporation and Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL), two of the biggest state-owned importers of Russian crude oil in India, have reportedly stopped looking for spot Russian crude oil supply set to arrive after December 5, as they await more clarity on the EU sanctions regime ahead of the deadline, including on the possibility of secondary sanctions on buyers of Russian crude.

India will also further diversify its oil imports to better prepare for future OPEC+ production cuts that raise oil prices and tighten supply, its Petroleum Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said last month.
Riaz Haq said…
Russia’s gross international reserves (GIR) were up by $3.6bn in a week to $571.2bn as of August 5, the Central Bank of Russia (CBR) reported, at the same time as individuals are buying record amounts of foreign currency.

https://www.intellinews.com/russia-s-international-reserves-up-3-6bn-in-one-week-to-571bn-253235/

Russia’s international reserves increased by 0.6% (or $3.6bn) in one week, the central bank reported on August 11. The CBR stopped reporting the monthly reserves figures at the end of January when total GIR stood at $630.2bn. (chart)

"International reserves amounted to $574.8bn as of August 5, up by $3.6bn, or by 0.6%, in one week due to positive revaluation," the regulator said on its website.

Foreign exchange is pouring into the CBR coffers after the current account surplus of Russia's balance of payments hit a new all-time high of $166bn in the first seven months of this year – triple its level in the same period a year earlier that was already a record high. Sanctions intended to reduce Russia’s revenue from energy exports have backfired, and after they sent prices soaring the Kremlin is earning more money than ever. Ironically, the highly effective bans on exports of equipment and technology to Russia have worked against the leaky energy sanctions as they have dramatically reduced imports to Russia that have only bolstered the current account surplus further.

Some $300bn worth of gold and foreign currency CBR reserves were frozen shortly after the invasion of Ukraine in February, but the soaring revenues from oil exports will cover a large share of that money by the end of this year, say economists.

Russians buy record amounts of FX on MOEX

The crisis-scarred population have also been reacting to the sanctions on currency transactions by moving their cash savings out of the traditional dollars and euros into other currencies of the “friendly” countries.

Individual purchases of currency on MOE overtook transactions by bankers for the first time ever in the second half of July, the CBR said in its latest financial market risks review.

Net purchases of currency by individuals increased 1.3-fold from RUB176.1bn ($2.9bn) in June to RUB237.1bn ($3.9bn) in July – a new record, according to the CBR.

Individuals mainly bought foreign currency at banks that could then send the money to accounts overseas.

The outflow of currency has also been visible in the ruble-dollar exchange rate, as the ruble weakened and was trading at RUB60.6 at the time of writing, down from its recent high of almost RUB50 to the dollar. As imports recover, further growth of foreign currency demands can be expected for market players, the central bank said.

The “yuanisation” of the Russian economy continues as a result of the Western sanctions imposed on Russia. The yuan became the third most traded currency in terms of volume of foreign exchange trading on the Moscow Exchange in July and will soon take second place, The Bell reported on August 8, as companies and individuals rush to get out of the dollar and into non-sanctioned currencies.

Banks have been building up large amounts of dollars and euros they can’t spend due to sanctions and have been actively trying to swap them for other currencies.

The government has been doing the same thing, signing trade deals with its partners in local currency and using other non-traditional currencies for international trade. Russia oil exports to India are now being settled in Chinese yuan, Hong Kong dollars and UAE dinars, according to reports.

Ordinary Russians have been moving their savings out of dollars. Balances at retail bank accounts in foreign currency declined in July by $3bn, the CBR reports. Just before the war there was only one Russian bank that offered deposit accounts in yuan; now there are 20, according to The Bell.
Riaz Haq said…
If China Invaded Taiwan, What Would India Do?
The New Delhi government fears its expansionist neighbor but is deeply wary about getting in the middle of a brawl with Beijing.

By Hal Brands


https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/features/2022-11-14/if-china-invaded-taiwan-what-would-india-do


So how might India react if China attacked Taiwan? Although India can’t project much military power east of the Malacca Strait, it could still, in theory, do a lot. US officials quietly hope that India might grant access to its Andaman and Nicobar Islands, in the eastern Bay of Bengal, to facilitate a blockade of China’s oil supplies. The Indian Navy could help keep Chinese ships out of the Indian Ocean; perhaps the Indian Army could distract China by turning up the heat in the Himalayas.

--------

New Delhi has a real stake in the survival of a free Taiwan. China has a punishing strategic geography, in that it faces security challenges on land and at sea. If taking Taiwan gave China preeminence in maritime Asia, though, Beijing could then pivot to settle affairs with India on land.

Expect a “turn toward the South” once China’s Taiwan problem is resolved, one Indian defense official told me. And in general, a world in which China is emboldened — and the US and its democratic allies are badly bloodied — by a Taiwan conflict would be very nasty for India.

But none of this ensures that India will cast its lot, militarily or diplomatically, with a pro-Taiwan coalition. Appeals to common democratic values or norms of nonaggression won’t persuade India to aid Taiwan any more than they have induced it to help Ukraine.

Armchair strategists might dream of opening a second front in the Himalayas, but India might be paralyzed by fear that openly aiding the US anywhere would simply give China a pretext to batter overmatched, unprepared Indian forces on their shared frontier.

The Modi government has been happy to have America’s help in dealing with India’s China problem but is far more reluctant to return the favor by courting trouble in the Western Pacific.

What India would do in a Taiwan conflict is really anyone’s guess. The most nuanced assessment I heard came from a longtime Indian diplomat. A decade ago, he said, India would definitely have sat on the sidelines. Today, support for Taiwan and the democratic coalition is conceivable, but not likely. After another five years of tension with China and cooperation with the Quad, though, who knows?

Optimists in Washington might take this assessment as evidence that India is moving in the right direction. Pessimists might point out that there is still a long way to go, and not much time to get there.
Riaz Haq said…
Russia is India's fifth largest trade partner (after US, China, UAE and Saudi Arabia) jumps from 25th


https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/business/india-business/russia-fifth-largest-trade-partner-jumps-from-25th/articleshow/95568292.cms


The large shipments of oil and fertilizer have also meant that India's trade deficit jumped from $20 billion in first half of the current fiscal year to $44 billion in second half.


------

#Russia is #India's 5th largest trade partner (after #US, #China, #UAE, #SaudiArabia), up from 25th. Huge imports of #oil & #fertilizer caused India's #trade deficit to jump from $20 billion in 1H of current fiscal year to $44 billion in second half.

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/business/india-business/russia-fifth-largest-trade-partner-jumps-from-25th/articleshow/95568292.cms

https://twitter.com/haqsmusings/status/1593313844830486528?s=20&t=fYYK9tpaMtb9DkzxFMuDbA
Riaz Haq said…
'You (#India) Benefit From Our Suffering" #Ukraine Minister Dmytro Kuleba's Message:''The opportunity for India to buy #Russian #oil at a cheap price comes from the fact that Ukrainians are suffering from Russian aggression and dying every day" https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/dmytro-kuleba-to-ndtv-india-can-buy-cheap-russian-oil-because-were-suffering-ukraine-minister-3581739 via @ndtv

New Delhi: Ukraine's Foreign Minister has hit out at India over imports of cheap Russian oil, referring to it as being ''morally inappropriate.'' ''The opportunity for India to buy Russian oil at a cheap price comes from the fact that Ukrainians are suffering from Russian aggression and dying every day,'' said Dmytro Kuleba in an exclusive conversation with NDTV.
''If you benefit because of our suffering, it would be good to see more of your help addressed to us," Mr Kuleba said, responding to Indian Foreign Minister S Jaishankar's statement on Monday that between the months of February and November this year, the European Union (EU) has imported more fossil fuel from Russia than the next 10 countries combined.

''It is not enough to point fingers at the European Union and say, Oh, they are doing the same thing," the Ukrainian Foreign Minister said.


NDTV has reached out to the Foreign Ministry for a response.

According to Mr Kuleba, India's decision to import cheap Russian oil needs to be seen through the prism of human suffering in Ukraine.

The Ukrainian Foreign Minister also said that India, specifically Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has a key role to play in helping to end the war.

''India is a very important player in the global arena and the Prime Minister of India, with his voice, can make a change.'' At the same time, New Delhi, he believes, needs to be direct in referring to the situation in Ukraine.

''We are waiting for the moment when Indian foreign policy will call spade a spade, and name the conflict - not 'war in Ukraine', but what it is, a 'Russian aggression against Ukraine'," he said.

India maintains a close strategic relationship with Russia and has repeatedly abstained in voting against Moscow in United Nations resolutions which condemn the Russian annexation of Ukrainian territory.

Asked if New Delhi's intervention could realistically make a difference in the thinking of Russian President Vladimir Putin, Mr Kuleba said it was important to make a concerted effort.

''If you don't try, nothing can change,'' said Mr Kuleba.

''We have seen some encouraging messages coming from your Prime Minister - when he said this is not the time for war. We hope that (there) is more active, even if it is quiet, behind-the-scenes diplomacy (that) will take place in the coming weeks. It's worth trying (in) any way to end the war," he said.

Russia invaded Ukraine on 24 February 2022 capturing thousands of square kilometres in the East and South of Ukraine, territory that it has since lost to concerted Ukrainian military counter-attacks. Over the last few weeks, Ukraine has been able to re-take the city of Kherson.

He said Kyiv will not halt its military offensive this winter. ''We will not stop for a single day because every pause means more time for the Russians to dig into the ground, to build fortifications and to strengthen their defensive lines in the occupied territories of Ukraine," he said.

Over the last several weeks, Ukraine has come under concerted Russian drone and missile attacks targeting civilian infrastructure, particularly power facilities.

"Our problem is that our electricity grid was built during the Soviet times and, therefore, Russia has all the maps and technical documentation necessary to identify precisely the most critical elements of our energy infrastructure," Mr Kuleba said.

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