INDIA’S imports of Russian oil rose 10-fold last year, according to Indian state-controlled lender Bank of Baroda. The figures show Asia’s third largest economy saved around $5 billion as it ramped up crude purchases from Moscow. It comes as Western countries have been cutting their imports of energy from Russia after its invasion of Ukraine.
Russia has been selling energy at a discount to countries like China and India, which is the world’s third largest importer of oil. In 2021 Russian oil accounted for just two per cent of India’s annual crude imports. That figure now stands at almost 20pc, Bank of Baroda said. India’s purchases of oil from Russia during the last financial year, saved it around $89 per tonne of crude, the figures show.
Despite pressure from the US and Europe, India has refused to adhere to Western sanctions on Russian imports. New Delhi has also not explicitly condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. India has defended its oil purchases, saying that as a country reliant on energy imports and with millions living in poverty, it was not in a position to pay higher prices. With no end in sight to the conflict, some analysts expect Russia to continue to offer cheap oil to Asia’s biggest energy importers.