MUMBAI: The Reserve Bank is working with the government to develop a payment settlement solution for Indo-Russian trade, which is hit by economic sanctions imposed on Moscow after it invaded Ukraine, but has claimed that any such solution would be “sensitive” to an economic blockade in effect, the central bank said.

RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das was quick to add that this is an issue for the government to address first, and as far as the central bank is concerned, obviously “we will not do anything that goes ‘against sanctions’.

RBI Deputy Governor T Rabi Sankar said, “Since the war in Ukraine has disrupted trade and payments, we are talking with all stakeholders, and at the same time, we are sensitive to economic sanctions.”

If and when something is decided, we will announce it.

He also clarified that there is no new payment platform available between New Delhi and Moscow since the war broke out in late February.

Any such payment mechanism involving rupee and ruble payments for imports and exports would help circumvent the sweeping economic sanctions imposed on Russia by Western countries, including freezing the individual accounts of many key Kremlin officials and the removal of Russian banks from the SWIFT international payment gateway.

Moreover, last month, after Russia, which supplied 14% of global crude demand and 17% of global natural gas before invading Ukraine in late February, offered up to 25-27% cuts on the pre-invasion price. at USD 93 a barrel, Indian Oil had contracted 3 million barrels from Rosneft while BPCL and HPCL have reserved 2 million barrels each from the Russian state-owned oil giant.

Sankar further clarified that the central bank is not aware of any formal or informal rupee-ruble payment mechanism, saying industry groups, banks and all concerned are trying to figure out the best way to facilitate payments. in these new circumstances.

We discuss all the options.

“But we also have to be sensitive to sanctions. We are discussing all these alternatives. Once something is finalized, you will know,” Sankar said, adding that there is no platform as far as I know. .

“There are press reports, but I’m not aware of anything. But let me repeat that everything we do will be sensitive to sanctions.”

The governor added saying “as a mechanism is worked out, we will announce it. At the moment, basically, importers and exporters have a problem, and they have represented it to the government and to us “We are in discussion, but we are also sensitive to the sanctions, and the whole question is being examined. No decision has been made yet”.


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