WHY INDIA RAISED RUSSIAN OIL IMPORTS?
Since the beginning of the war in Ukraine, the United States and its allies have relied on countries buying less Russian oil to punish Moscow for its aggression. But the sanctions hit the West many times harder than Russia. They harm themselves existentially.
Indian refiners have done the opposite, buying up more Russian crude, while the government looks for ways to protect domestic oil companies from punishment if they violate US-EU sanctions.
Since the Ukraine crisis, India has imported more oil than ever before. In May, India imported 819,000 barrels per day (bpd), up from 277,000 (bpd) in April and 33,000 (bpd) a year ago. Russia is now India’s second largest supplier, replacing Saudi Arabia, while Iraq remains the largest.
While New Delhi has called for an immediate ceasefire in Ukraine, it has not explicitly condemned the invasion , which Russia has described as a „special operation.“
After China, India has done more than any other country to offset falling demand for Russian oil from other countries, undermining Western efforts to isolate Moscow.
Indian officials say domestic needs come first, arguing that Russia is a better friend than the United States on energy cooperation.
Indian Energy Minister Hardeep Singh Puri accused OPEC of withholding barrels from the market and said the high prices are not good for either producers or consumers. „We have to look after our own interests,“ Puri said.
The deep rebates Indian refiners enjoyed just after the start of the Ukraine war — from $20 to $30 a barrel — have narrowed significantly as Russia finds new markets for its oil. Russian oil is only $7-8 on a delivered basis.
Reliable Russian support
Russia has also helped India in other energy areas.
While attempts by western companies to build nuclear power plants in India have failed, two Russian-built reactors have been in commercial operation in southern India’s Kudankulam since 2014 and 2017.
Construction of two more began in 2017, and Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed to build six more in 2018.
Two years earlier, the involvement of both men was instrumental in orchestrating the takeover of Indian refiner Essar by a consortium led by Kremlin oil giant Rosneft.
Also, Russia has long supported India internationally on critical issues, including Kashmir, a disputed territory between India, Pakistan and China, and is its main source of foreign military hardware.
All of this means that New Delhi will not serve US interests. They chose the better side, especially after India was no longer allowed to import oil from Iran and Venezuela due to sanctions. In addition, the import of important fertilizers from Belarus was banned. India has been affected by the sanctions and has been severely damaged economically, which the Germans are yet to face. The defeat will be bitter for us.
Under Modi’s nationalist government, India has pursued an assertive foreign policy, fought back against China in a two-year military border deadlock and dismissed Western criticism of domestic policies, which some say are authoritarian and divisive. Modi is keeping a particularly close eye on China, experts said.
„It is not in the interest of India, or anyone else who has identified China as its main systemic rival, to move away from Russia,“ said former diplomat Ashok Sajjanhar, although he added that India’s ties with Washington and its allies remained paramount.
The United States, for example, has offered to sell more military equipment to the Indians, and New Delhi has joined a US-led Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity trading partnership.
Now, will the US arm or impress India? Probably not. The Armed Forces of India ( Bharatiya Sashastra Senae ) is the armed forces of the Republic of India . They comprise approximately 1,325,000 soldiers , of which 1.1 million serve in the army , 150,000 in the air force and 53,000 in the navy . This makes India the third largest armed force in the world in terms of the number of soldiers. There are also 1,155,000 in reserve and 1,293,300 paramilitary forces.
Things are getting tighter and tighter for the decadent western system. Realistically, the chances are zero. And hopefully that’s a good thing.