'No evidence of Indian companies circumventing sanctions on Russia'

Mumbai: There is "no evidence" of Indian companies circumventing the US-led sanctions on Russia following the invasion of Ukraine, a senior Biden administration official said on Wednesday.

"I've seen no evidence of Indian companies circumventing sanctions that have been placed on Russia," US Deputy Secretary of Treasury Wally Adeyemo told reporters during a visit to IIT-Bombay here.

He added that companies around the world, including those in India, the US and Europe, are taking the sanctions seriously and implementing them as well.

The remarks come days after reports quoted RBI Deputy Governor Michael Patra as saying that the US is concerned over India being used to export fuel made from Russian crude in violation of sanctions imposed by Washington.

According to Patra, transfers of Russian crude are taking place on the high seas and the ships come to a port in Gujarat, where the oil is refined and shipped to New York in the US itself.

Adeyemo, who began his three-day visit on Wednesday, said he will be discussing Russia and Ukraine, along with bilateral topics in his parleys with Indian officials.

He, however, declined to spell out the exact contours of the discussions that he will be having.

Adeyemo also said that the US-led coalition of the sanctions has broadened and the ultimate objective of the same is to reduce revenues Russia earns through oil exports while ensuring that there is a steady supply of energy.

"We have to look at the Russian invasion beyond the immediate concern about the sovereignty of Ukraine getting compromised," he said, pointing to the economic consequences of the war, especially inflation.

He said Indian consumers are paying a lot more for energy than they ought to.

Adeyemo is scheduled to visit New Delhi, after spending two days in the financial capital.

Ahead of his visit, the US Treasury Department had said that it will focus on discussing key shared priorities such as bolstering energy security, addressing food insecurity globally and combating illicit financial flows.

Adeyemo said he will be meeting officials from the government, businesses, entrepreneurs and civil society during the visit, which is focused on deepening the Indo-US ties.

The visiting economic policy maker had a chat with innovators and startups at the premier technology school and said that in the next few years, American consumers will rely on products created by some of the people he met.

"I can tell that many of them will be the companies, in the years and decades to come, that will not only solve problems that will enrich their founders, but will solve problems that will benefit society, helping deal with challenges like climate change or medical diseases for which we have no solution today," he said.

He also exuded confidence that India's recent history and conversations he has had, make him believe that the country will continue to be a "leader alongside America in the digital economy."

"What is clear to me is that both of our countries will play pivotal roles in the next wave of technological innovation and how it is deployed responsibly to the benefit of all segments of society especially when our people and companies work together," he added.

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