Sales of Russian oil to India have multiplied by at least fifty times in the last three months, and now make up 10% of the nation’s total imports, according to a senior government official quoted by The Economic Times.
“It is now among the top 10 suppliers,” the official told the Indian business daily on Thursday.
Western sanctions on Moscow have created an opportunity for Indian refiners to increase purchases of Russian oil at discounted prices, while some European customers have been shunning crude purchases from Russia.
Prior to the conflict Russian oil made up for just 0.2% of all oil imported by India. The country’s refiners reportedly purchased some 25 million barrels of Russian oil in May alone. At that milestone, Russia overtook Saudi Arabia to become India’s second-largest supplier of oil, after Iraq.
India, the world’s third largest oil consumer, has come under fire from the West for its continued purchases of Russian oil. However, New Delhi has rebuffed the criticism, reasoning that those imports make up only a fraction of the country’s overall needs.
In May, India’s oil ministry said that “Energy purchases from Russia remain minuscule in comparison to India’s total consumption.”
The Indian government has called for a diplomatic resolution to the conflict in Ukraine, but has not placed any sanctions on Russia and abstained from a UN General Assembly vote in March condemning Moscow’s military operation.
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