Russia will increase its use of non-Western currencies for trade with countries like Indiahis foreign minister said on Friday, as he greeted New Delhi as a friend who was not taking a “unilateral view” on the Ukraine war.
Sergei Lavrov visited India to bolster support from a country Russia has long regarded as an ally a day after US and British officials pressured India to avoid undermining the dollar-based financial system and sanctions imposed on Russia. for his invasion of Ukraine on February 24. .
India and China are the only major countries that have not condemned what Russia calls its “special military operation.” After Lavrov visited China this week, Beijing said it was “more determined” to develop ties with Russia.
“We are friends,” Lavrov told a news conference after meeting his Indian counterpart Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, adding that India saw the Ukraine crisis in “the totality of the facts and not just unilaterally.”
Lavrov said that the Russian central bank established a system for the communication of financial information several years ago and that India had a similar system.
“It is absolutely clear that more and more transactions will take place through this system using national currencies, bypassing the dollar, euro and other currencies,” he said.
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Russia is India’s largest supplier of defense equipment and Lavrov said the two countries would use a rupees-rubles mechanism to exchange oil, military equipment and other goods.
“We will be ready to supply any product that India wants to buy,” he said.
“I have no doubt that a way would be found to circumvent the artificial impediments created by illegal unilateral sanctions from the West. This is also related to the area of military-technical cooperation”.
Lavrov said that there was some progress in the negotiations with Ukraine.
“Non-nuclear, non-bloc, neutral status: it is now recognized as absolutely necessary,” he said.
‘CESSATION OF VIOLENCE’
Lavrov also met Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and briefed him on the war.
“The prime minister reiterated his call for an early cessation of violence and conveyed India’s readiness to contribute in any way to peace efforts,” India’s foreign ministry said in a statement late Thursday. .
Lavrov said that Russia would be open to India mediating between Ukraine and Russia, but had not heard of any such proposal.
India has bought millions of barrels of crude from Russia at a discount since the war broke out, justifying the purchases as beneficial to its citizens and something even European countries are doing.
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Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman told CNBC-TV18 that India would continue to buy oil at a discount from Russia.
“I would put the national interests of my country first and my energy security first,” he said. “Why shouldn’t I buy it? I need it for my people.”
India has also agreed to buy sunflower oil from Russia at a record price after supplies from Ukraine were stopped.
Speaking on a visit to New Delhi on Thursday, US Deputy National Security Adviser for International Economics Daleep Singh said Washington would not set any “red lines” for India on its energy imports from Russia, but would not wanted to see a “rapid acceleration” in purchases
British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss also said on a visit to India on Thursday that Britain respects India’s decision to buy Russian oil at a discount, while advocating tough sanctions against Russia in relation to port sectors. , gold and energy.