India imports over 1 million bpd of Russian oil

Data from energy cargo tracker, Vortexa, show that for the third month in a row, Russia occupied the top slot as India’s largest exporter of oil. Until March 31st, 2022, Russian oil made up only 0.2% of India’s crude import basket. However, by December 2022, the share of Russian crude in Indian import basket has skyrocketed to 25% of total imports. What is the reason? This surge can be largely attributed to the $60/bbl price cap on maritime Russian oil as agreed by the EU. Seeing the discounted rate at which crude was being offered by Russia, India has shifted from Iraq and Saudi Arabia towards Russia. 

 

India’s geopolitical policies with respect to oil revolves around the volatility and uncertainty in today’s market. India has, for long, been overly dependent on the Middle East and wants to diversify the crude basket portfolio to cushion any further supply shocks. Russia perfectly fits into India’s definition. Consequently, while Russian oil imports have increased, India has ensured to not substitute this with a diminution of US market share to sustain energy ties with Washington. The big losers have been the Middle East oil countries.
 

This opportunistic move by India has been subject to scrutiny from many people, who cite grounds of immorality in importing from a war-waging country. External Affairs Minister, S Jaishankar, offers a different perspective altogether. He has underlined that even at current levels, Indian imports from Russia are just a fraction of what EU imports from Russia. Also, as a country, India was entitled to look out for the best deals in the interest of the nation and its people. As long as India can send ships, devise a payment mechanism and cover insurance, trade with Russia will persist for the foreseeable future.

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