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While rivals whined, India imported discounted Russian oil; saves Rs 35,000 crore

Data suggests that Russia displaced Saudi Arabia as India’s 2nd largest oil supplier during the outbreak of war.

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New Delhi: The import of Russia’s crude oil at discounted rates by the Indian oil marketing companies has benefitted the country hugely. Reports suggest that India has managed to gain Rs 35,000 crore by importing discounted Russian oil.

India significantly stepped up oil import from Russia, leading to the latter becoming second-largest oil supplier. Data suggests that Russia displaced Saudi Arabia as India’s 2nd largest oil supplier during the outbreak of war.
India’s import from Russia almost jumped 8 times during the face-off between 2 nations. Data from Commerce Department suggests that the oil import which stood up at $ 1.3 billion in July 2021 jumped 8 times to $ 11.2 billion.

The April-July period saw highest oil trade with Russia with the oil bills mounting to over $ 12 billion.
Increased oil imports from Russia also made India its second largest oil trading partner, next only to China.

How India benefited from bargain hunting

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India went on oil buying spree from Russia when it invaded the neighbouring country Ukraine over latter’s warming up to US-led NATO. The full-time military conflict between Russia & Ukraine sent the oil prices soaring as many traders in the West snapped ties with Russia and its shipments of oil got struck.

As huge shipments of Russian oil got stuck, it offered discounts and vying for new partners who could buy in bulk. This was the time when India pitched in and decided to engage in bargain hunting, leading to import of Russian oil at highly discounted rates.

India’s decision to buy Russian oil riled up the West as well as political rivals back home. Government received lot of brickbats but chose to stay put & continue with trade. Today, the massive financial gain comes as proof of India’s successful bargain hunting as it not only boosted oil reserves but also drew financial benefit.

The move was aptly described as the ‘best deal’ by the Foreign Affairs Minister S Jaishankar.

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