India seems to be unfazed by the diktat of the western countries to not buy Russian oil as amidst sanctions not only India continues to buy it but also has increased its purchase of oil from Russia. According to energy cargo tracker Vortexa, Russia has surpassed the dominant traditional players like Saudi Arabia and Iraq by emerging as the top oil supplier to India for October by supplying 946,000 barrels the highest ever for a month.
While Saudi Arabia accounted for 16% of India’s total crude oil imports, Iraq came second with 20.5% while Russia topped with 22%. The overall crude import went up 5% in October and that from Russia rose 8%. China imported 1 million barrels and hence remained Russia’s largest seaborne crude buyer. For the first time, India imported more seaborne crude from Russia than the EU(34% more ).
Russia’s share in the Indian market was less than 1% in 2021, the dramatic increase of the same can be attributed to the discounted prices due to the war. India has been under immense pressure from its western friends to not buy Russian oil which according to them is funding the war.
But time and again the Indian administration has defended its move by giving a logical explanation. “If India did not buy or someone else didn’t buy Russian oil, and Russian oil was to go off the market, what would happen to International prices?” oil minister Hardeep Puri told CNN on Monday, adding that the market disruption could send prices to $200 per barrel. He said India will buy oil and gas from wherever it can as the government has a “moral duty” to keep its population supplied with energy.
The rise in oil imports has made Russia the fifth-largest trading partner but mostly is a one-sided relationship depending on crude imports while India’s exports have been minimal. Analysts believe the import of Russian crude by India may reduce from December due to additional price cap sanctions by the west and lesser availability of ice-class tankers to transport crude from the Russian Baltic ports.