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Russian media: Trade between Russia and India grows to record levels

by Nate Ostiller October 23, 2023 3:07 PM 2 min read
Russian dictator Vladimir Putin meets with India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) leaders' summit in Samarkand, Uzbekistan on Sept. 16, 2022. (Alexandr Demyanchuk /Sputnik/AFP via Getty Images)
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Trade between Russia and India in the first eight months of 2023 more than doubled from the previous year, reaching a record high of almost $44 billion, Russian state-run media RIA Novosti claimed on Oct. 23.

India bought $41 billion of Russian products over the eight months, far outweighing the $2.6 billion in Indian exports to Russia during that period.

Nonetheless, India has become an increasingly important supplier of goods to Russia since the beginning of its full-scale invasion of Ukraine and the introduction of sanctions against the country.

Sixty-seven percent of India's crude petroleum imports come from Russia, the Indian newspaper Financial Express reported on Oct. 23.

India has also imported diamonds from Russia at record numbers, RIA Novosti reported on Oct. 21, with India purchasing almost $863 million worth of diamonds from Russia — an almost 30% increase from last year.

India has played a complex role between the West and Russia in the aftermath of the full-scale invasion. For many decades India had close relations with the Soviet Union, especially vis-a-vis their long-time foe Pakistan, which was aligned with the U.S.

India has also become an eager customer of Russian goods that cannot be easily sold elsewhere due to sanctions.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in May 2023 that "India and I personally will do everything within our means" to end the war, but has refrained from joining sanctions against Russia.

A Pew poll conducted in August 2023 found that 57% of Indians had a positive view of Russia, and another 59% had "confidence in Russian (dictator) Vladimir Putin."

When asked about economic ties, 71% of Indians said that "maintaining access to Russia's oil and gas reserves is more important than being tough with Russia on Ukraine."

Reuters: India considers importing wheat from Russia at discount
India is in talks with Moscow to import Russian wheat at discount prices in an attempt to push down food inflation ahead of the upcoming elections next year, Reuters reported on Aug. 17, citing four unnamed sources.

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