Despite pressure from Western nations, India’s imports from Russia witnessed a jump of more than threefold since the beginning of the Ukraine conflict, a local newspaper report said Wednesday.
The increase in imports to 4.67 billion U.S. dollars from a year before has been attributed to the discounted prices offered by Russian suppliers, Financial Express reported.
“The surge in shipments from Russia is thanks to New Delhi’s efforts to strike good deals with Russian suppliers to tide over a growing shortfall of crude oil and other inputs like coal and fertilizers,” it said.
The newspaper citing preliminary data obtained from sources said between February 24 and May 8, India’s purchases of crude oil from Russia jumped 393 percent to 1.86 billion U.S. dollars, while those of petroleum products surged 175 percent to 560 million U.S. dollars.
“Similarly, imports of coal, coke and briquettes, etc, climbed 277 percent to 630 million U.S. dollars, and fertilizer purchases saw a multi-fold jump to 376 million U.S. dollars from 43 million U.S. dollars,” the newspaper said.
According to the newspaper, apart from oil and petroleum products, the surge in coal imports would continue unabated especially during the summer, as a power crisis looms over a vast swathe of the country.
The surge in imports from Moscow is seen as New Delhi’s commitment to chart its own path despite mounting Western pressure to shun “cheap” Russian oil.
India’s Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman earlier defended the move, saying: “I will put my country’s interest first and energy security first. If oil is available and at a discount, why shouldn’t I buy it?”
The newspaper, however, said India’s exports to Russia crashed 57 percent year on year to just 266 million U.S. dollars during this period. The newspaper quoting its sources said the decline in exports had been attributed mainly due to logistics and payment issues.
“India’s exports to Russia hit 3.3 billion U.S. dollars in FY22, while its imports stood at 9.79 billion U.S. dollars,” the newspaper quoting sources said.