Amid Ukraine war, India-Russia trade ties continue with rise in imports of discounted crude oil

On the issue of India importing oil from Russia, the Ministry of External Affairs had said many European nations were buying oil from Russia too, so India wasn’t doing anything out of the ordinary

Published: 28th March 2022 06:44 PM  |   Last Updated: 28th March 2022 06:44 PM   |  A+A-

A maze of crude oil pipes and valves is pictured during a tour by the Department of Energy at the Strategic Petroleum Reserve in Freeport, Texas. (Photo | Reuters)

Image used for representational purposes (File photo | Reuters)

Express News Service

NEW DELHI: India is likely to import nearly 10 million tonnes of crude oil from Russia, as it is getting a $20 discount per barrel. Of this, the state-run oil companies have committed to buying 6 mt and private companies are negotiating for
importing 4 mt.

It is understood that India is working on a rupee-rouble exchange, which would allow India and Russia to carry out financial operations bypassing the dollar. The Indian government is working on a proposal to permit five nationalised Indian banks to be engaged in the rupee-rouble trade mechanism.

"It may be a diplomatic tight-rope for India as it has favourable relations with the US too, but with the increase in price of crude globally, this is a viable option for India as it does not want to burden the consumers with a steep hike in the cost of fuel," said a source.

On the issue of India importing oil from Russia, the Ministry of External Affairs had said that many European nations were buying oil from Russia too, so India wasn’t doing anything out of the ordinary.

Interestingly, Air India has not stopped flying over Russian air space, despite the conflict. In fact the airline never stopped operating its flights to Moscow from Delhi every Wednesday and Saturday.

"It has been viable to operate to Moscow, hence the services neither got disrupted nor suspended," say sources.

In the light of this, coupled with India’s decision to abstain on a resolution against Russia thrice in the UNSC, ties between India and Russia continue to hold strong.

"It is in the light of all these developments that there is talk of Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov visiting India sometime this week. He is likely to have interactions with his counterpart in Delhi, to further boost diplomatic ties
between the two nations," say sources.

During the last evacuation of 15 Indians from Ukraine, the route used was from Crimea to Russia, before they flew back to India. For the evacuation of the 22,500 Indians stuck in Ukraine, Russia enabled safe corridors.

"Politics and diplomacy go hand in hand and only then does it give an impetus to trade. The Indo-Russian strategic partnership has been built on six major components -- politics, defence, trade, civil-nuclear energy, anti-terrorism cooperation and space. The cooperation on these sectors will continue," said a source.

Ambitious targets of increasing bilateral investment to $50 billion and bilateral trade to $30 billion by 2025 were set between India and Russia. Bilateral trade during April 2020 and March 2021 amounted to $8.1 billion. India’s exports were valued at $2.6 billion and imports from Russia at $5.48 billion. The conflict in Ukraine may result in a temporary delay in achieving the targets, but there will be no full stops for sure.


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