India’s imports from sanctions-hit Russia have leapt by 400% so far this fiscal year, the Nikkei Asia news website reported on Friday, citing the latest data from the Indian Commerce Ministry.
The growth is attributed to large-scale purchases of discounted crude oil from Russia amid Western sanctions, which recently targeted the country’s exports of seaborne oil and petroleum products, including fuel and gasoline.
Russia was reportedly ranked India’s fourth biggest “merchandise import source nation” in the first 10 months of the current fiscal year through March, after China, the United Arab Emirates and the US.
The total value of Indian imports from Russia amounted to $37.31 billion, up from $7.71 billion in the same period a year ago, marking growth of 384%. Russia accounted for 6.2% of the South Asian country’s total imports during the period.
India has bought “a lot of crude, converted it into refined petroleum products and sold it,” Commerce Secretary Sunil Barthwal said, as cited by the media outlet.
India’s exports of petroleum products also saw a significant increase. From April 2022 to January 2023, they amounted to $78.58 billion in monetary terms, compared to $50.77 billion in the corresponding period of the previous financial year.
India, which is the world’s third-biggest oil consumer, importing more than 80% of its requirements, purchased over 60% of its crude from Middle Eastern countries.
In December, External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar said Indian refiners would go for the best deals wherever they find them.
“I would like to clarify we do not ask our companies to buy Russian oil,” he said. “We ask our companies to buy oil that is the best option that they can get. Now, it depends on what the market throws up.”
This article was originally published bt RT.