Russia has long been a major supplier of oil to Europe, but the relationship has been strained since Russia started its invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, resulting in sanctions on Russia that have made it challenging for Russian oil to access European markets. However, Russia has found a backdoor route to Europe through India’s help, which is boosting their trade relations. According to recent reports, Indian companies have been buying Russian oil and shipping it to refineries in Europe, bypassing Western sanctions and restrictions. This has become a major source of revenue for Russia, as European countries continue to rely on imported oil for their energy needs.
India‘s role as a mediator in the trade between Russia and Europe is a testament to its growing economic influence and strategic partnerships in the global community. In recent years, India has developed closer ties with Russia, particularly in the areas of energy and defense. The two countries have also been working to increase their trade volume, with the aim of reaching $30 billion by 2025. India’s location and infrastructure have made it an ideal location for Russian oil to enter the global market. Indian refineries have been able to process the heavy crude that Russia produces, which is not always possible for European refineries.
This surge in trade has been driven by the growing demand for energy in India and Russia’s need to diversify its exports. India’s rapidly expanding economy and rising middle class have led to an increase in energy consumption, while Russia has been seeking new markets for its oil and gas exports to offset declining sales to Western countries. India has been able to diversify its crude sources by relying on Russia and reducing its dependence on Middle Eastern oil. India’s state-run refining companies, Indian Oil Corporation and Bharat Petroleum Corporation, have been importing Russian crude for several years now. In 2022, India imported a record 6.7 million tonnes of crude oil from Russia.
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However, the trade between Russia and India has faced its own set of challenges, including bureaucratic hurdles and logistical issues. Nevertheless, the two countries have been working to overcome these obstacles and strengthen their trade relations. Despite the benefits of this trade partnership, there are concerns about the impact it could have on India’s relations with Western countries, particularly the United States. The US has been critical of Russia’s actions in Ukraine and has imposed sanctions on Russia as a result. By buying and shipping Russian oil to Europe, India could be seen as undermining these sanctions and facing potential backlash from the US.