Some Indian companies quit Russia even as Delhi stays neutral on Ukraine war

NEW DELHI – India may have refused to budge from its neutral stance and has been buying discounted oil from Russia since the start of the war in Ukraine.

But a small handful of Indian companies with strong exposure to Western markets have stopped doing business with Russia.

Tata Steel announced last week that it had “made a conscious decision” to stop doing business with Russia. A company spokesman said the company was sourcing “alternative raw material supplies” for its steel manufacturing sites in India, Britain and the Netherlands “to end its dependence on Russia”.

Information technology giant Infosys, which has massive exposure to Western markets, has announced that it is moving its work from Russia.

“We have a small team of less than 100 employees based in Russia serving a few of our global customers,” Infosys CEO and General Manager Salil Parekh said in an April 13 conference call.

“Given the prevailing situation, we have made the decision to transfer these services from Russia to our other global fulfillment centers.”

British luxury car brand Jaguar Land Rover, which is owned by India’s Tata Motors, has also suspended exports to Russia “due to commercial difficulties”, a move which was welcomed by the British government.

India has taken a neutral stance on the war in Ukraine, refusing to explicitly condemn Russia, an important defense partner.

Despite Western pressure, India has bought oil at a discount from Russia since the invasion and is seeking more supplies.

Regardless of the companies’ stance, however, the impact of the dragging war has been felt, particularly in sectors like fertilizers, gas and coking coal, with DBS Group Research noting that disruptions would be felt in the energy sector.

Construction of NTPC’s 2,000 megawatt thermal power project in Bihar state has been affected due to involvement of ‘Russian entities’, Energy Minister Raj Kumar Singh told parliament .

Although he did not identify the Russian companies involved, he said the project had encountered difficulties in payments and the renewal of bank guarantees for Russian companies, as Russia was excluded from the Swift international payment system.

The project also depends on Russian expertise and materials.

Similarly, Reuters reported that state-owned Oil and Natural Gas Cooperation was struggling to find a vessel to transport 700,000 barrels of crude from Russia.

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