A US Treasury official will be in India on Thursday to meet government officials and private companies and discuss its oil purchases from Russia and the implementation of US sanctions and export controls.
Elizabeth Rosenberg, assistant secretary for Terrorist Financing and Financial Crimes, will be in New Delhi and Mumbai up till Thursday, a US Treasury spokesperson said, in what is being seen as the Biden administration’s effort to keep India’s purchases of Russian oil from rising significantly.
“It’s important to talk to the parts of the world that are strong US partners on a whole host of other issues, and make sure we’re in close contact about our sanctions regime and working together to crack down on any evasion opportunities or evasion activities,” the spokesperson said.
A senior US official had said on March 31 that a significant increase in Russian oil exports by India could expose New Delhi to “great risk” as Washington prepares to step up enforcement of sanctions against Moscow after its invasion of Ukraine.
India, the world’s No. 3 oil importer, boosted Russian oil purchases in April to about 277,000 barrels per day, up from 66,000 bpd in March as refiners buy the discounted crude shunned by many Western countries and companies.
Current US sanctions against Russia do not prevent other countries from buying Russian oil. But Biden administration officials have considered so-called secondary sanctions that could restrict those purchases.
Tariffs and price caps on Russian oil as well as putting proceeds from Russian oil sales into escrow accounts that its oil sellers could tap only for certain purchases have been under consideration. There have been no indications that such measures are imminent.
Rosenberg was expected to meet with both Indian government officials and private and state refining companies and other businesses on topics ranging from sanctions to food security.
- Reuters with additional editing by Jim Pollard