As a result of rising crude oil purchases, India’s bill for imports from sanctioned Russia rose 3.5 times a year to $2.3 billion in April, data from the Ministry of Commerce shows.
In April, crude oil imports from Russia were estimated at $1.3 billion, 57 percent of India’s total inbound shipments from Russia. Other major imports during the month included coal, soybean and sunflower oil, fertilizers and non-industrial diamonds.
That month, Russia was also the fourth largest supplier of crude oil to India, after Iraq, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). In terms of total imports, Russia was the sixth import partner in April. In the same month last year, Russia was the 7th largest source of crude oil for India and overall ranked 21st among India’s import partners.
Russia was also India’s ninth largest trading partner (including both exports and imports) in April, with a trade volume of $2.42 billion. This even as the value of outbound shipments to Russia plummeted to $96 million in April, a 59 percent year-over-year decline. The top items exported to Russia during the month were electrical machinery and equipment, iron and steel, pharmaceuticals, marine products and auto parts.
Crude oil imports from Russia to India have been increasing since the Russian invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24. The invasion was followed by economic sanctions against Russia by the US and its allies, in an attempt to isolate the country from world trade and lead to spike in commodity prices.
Despite pressure from Western countries, India chose not to take sides and chose a neutral stance given its historical relationship with Russia. India was also criticized for continuing to trade with Russia despite the imposition of economic sanctions.
India has defended its position in various global forums that petroleum products are not subject to sanctions by western countries, and New Delhi has always sought to diversify its energy sources.
“If you look at the energy procurement from Russia, I would recommend that you turn your attention to Europe. We do buy some energy, which is necessary for our energy security. But looking at the numbers, I suspect our total purchases for the month would be less than what Europe does in an afternoon,” Foreign Minister S Jaishankar said at a press conference for the India-US 2+2 Ministerial in April. Dialogue.
Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal said at the World Economic Forum last month that India fits well within the current framework designed by the countries that have imposed the sanctions.
“Our interests or needs are no different from those of European countries. In the current situation, with inflation at an all-time high and stressing people around the world, the EU and European countries continue to buy larger quantities than India ever thought it would buy,” said Goyal.