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Op-ED                                                                  MARCH 25, 2022  |     The Indian Eye 18

                Russian oil, sanctions and India’s

                                          strategic autonomy

                                   Views and opinions from the top commentators in Indian media

              eports that India is close to
              clinching a deal with Russia
        Rfor buying 3.5 million barrels
        of its crude at deep discounts appear
        to have divided opinions in the West.
        But crucially, the US has indicated
        that should India go ahead with the
        purchase, it may not violate Ameri-
        can sanctions already in place against
        Russia. After all, despite the war in
        Ukraine, European nations are con-
        tinuing to buy energy from Russia.
            The European dependence on
        Russian energy is also why the US did
        not go for a complete ban on Russian
        oil exports and chose instead to just
        bar Russian energy imports into the
        US. In fact, the EU recently discussed
        new sanctions against Russian oil ma-
        jors Rosneft, Transneft and Gazprom
        Neft but clarified that it will continue
        to buy oil from them. Hence, nobody
        has moral grounds to question India
        in case it goes ahead with the Russian
        oil  deal.  Besides,  3.5  million  barrels
        don’t constitute a big volume for India
        given its daily consumption of 4.5 mil-
        lion barrels. In any case, Russian oil          Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the interaction with stakeholders involved in Ukraine evacuation (ANI)
        only accounts for 2% of total Indian
        imports. Therefore, the transaction is   Putin to the notice of the West were   sonal control over China’s govern-  supporting  sanctions  against  Russia.
        more symbolic in nature and will serve   his first two achievements — the sta-  ment, the ruling Chinese Communist   It was in our national interest to take
        as a test case for New Delhi-Moscow   bilization and increase in oil produc-  Party, the armed forces and security   this position rather than rush head-
        trade in the new environment.     tion and export that hugely increased   agencies.  They  are  encouraged  to   long  into  the  American  camp.  Our
           -- Editorial, The Times of India   the Russian GDP, and secondly,  be  aggressive.  This  has  elicited  a   strategic relations with them are in
                                          his successful suppression of the   cautionary note from Jia Qingguo, a   the Indo-Pacific and not in Europe.
                 ars produce much retro-  Chechnya revolt. These were clearly   prominent foreign policy advisor.          India has two unresolved borders
                 spective literature, and
                                                                                The Chinese government is
        Weven World War I contin-         the achievements of a man with a vi-  being cautioned that a similar ap-  with nuclear countries and a history
                                          sion for Russia. Unfortunately, it was
                                                                                                              of wars and conflicts with them. We
        ues to produce fresh narratives, rais-
        ing  never  before  addressed  issues.   ignored in the West, and particularly   proach had led to the downfall of the   can  expect  some  material  support
                                                                            former  Soviet  Union.  Ironically,  Xi
                                          in Europe, which was busy with civil-
                                                                                                              and more condemnation in global
        Perhaps we are too close to the events   ianizing  and militarily downgrading   has drawn upon the instance of the   fora, Russia might return the favour
        of the Russo-Ukraine war to produce   NATO.                         collapse of the former Communist   by abstaining to vote at the UN, but
        a truly dispassionate account of the        -- Raja Menon,          Party of the Soviet Union, of which   little else. They will also be busy re-
        events  that  built  up  to  the  invasion.   The Indian Express    he insisted that matters had reached   building their economy after this war
        Of course, Vladimir Putin imprisons                                 such a stage that “nobody was man   and consequent sanctions.
        anyone who calls the invasion a war.    ursuit of aggressive power by   enough to stand up and resist”. But is   Future wars will be also fought
        His version is that it was a “special   China appears unremitting, es-  Xi also not constricting the room for   by indigenous weapons and equip-
        military operation”, akin to India’s  Ppecially under the current Chi-  salubrious divergence of views within   ment.  We  have  to,  therefore,  make
        police action against Hyderabad in   nese dispensation led by President
        1948. This article is admittedly written   Xi Jinping. The Chinese president’s   his own regime? That could lead to   ourselves  self-reliant.  Atmanirbhar-
                                                                                                              ta (self-reliance) in defense require-
                                                                            the piling up of resentment against
        in hindsight, but there is a continuing   immediate predecessors believed   governmental dynamics, thereby   ments is the need of the hour.
        thread to the western blunders in the   China should continue to bide its   downgrading the purpose of security   Lt Gen (Retd) Satish Dua,
        approach to dealing with Moscow,  time by presiding over rapid econom-  overhaul and national rejuvenation.       The Quint
        particularly concerning Putin. He has   ic growth and continuous expansion
        had a dramatic rise in the political   of influence through tactical integra-  -- Ranajoy Sen, The Telegraph (India)  Every week, we look at what the top
        hierarchy of Moscow, with many of   tion into the global order. Xi, howev-  ndia took a nuanced position and   commentators in the Indian media are
        his successes unexplained but for the   er, wants to challenge the prevailing   tread  a judicious  path as far  as   talking about and bring to you a slice
        strong behind-the-scenes backing of   global  order.  To  abet  this  approach,  Icriticizing the Russian invasion   of their opinions and comments
        the FSB. What should have brought   Xi  has  ensured  an  unfettered,  per-  is concerned, but it stopped short of

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