Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan on Friday said that a statement by Saudi Arabia suggesting that India tap into its strategic petroleum reserves to deal with higher crude oil prices was “undiplomatic.” The minister said India would procure crude oil from whichever country offered the best business terms.

“That was in a way an undiplomatic answer by some of our close friends. I politely disagree with that kind of approach,” he said at the Times Network India Economic Conclave here. Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman had suggested that India use cheap crude oil procured for strategic reserves last year in response to calls by Pradhan that the OPEC+ group of oil-producing countries withdraw output cuts.

“OMCs or private sector oil majors are free to take oil from any part of the world,” said Pradhan.

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