Trade between Russia and India has reached unprecedented levels, with the first eight months of 2023 seeing a more than twofold increase compared to the previous year.
The total trade volume has touched nearly $44 billion, according to Russian state-run media RIA Novosti.
India's Growing Importance as a Russian Trade Partner
India has imported $41 billion worth of Russian goods during this period according to Financialexpress, dwarfing its own exports to Russia, which stood at $2.6 billion. The imbalance, however, highlights India's increasing role as a key supplier to Russia, especially since the onset of Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine and subsequent sanctions.
A significant portion of India's crude oil imports—67% to be exact—comes from Russia. Additionally, India has been importing Russian diamonds at record numbers, amounting to almost $863 million, a nearly 30% increase from last year.
India has maintained a delicate balance in its relations with Russia and the West, particularly since Russia's invasion of Ukraine. While Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has expressed a commitment to doing "everything within our means" to end the war, India has not joined in sanctions against Russia.
Public Opinion in India
A recent Pew poll revealed that 57% of Indians view Russia positively, and 59% have confidence in Russian leader Vladimir Putin. When it comes to economic ties, 71% of Indians prioritize access to Russia's oil and gas reserves over taking a tough stance on Russia's actions in Ukraine.
In a move that could further deepen trade relations, India is in talks with Russia to import wheat at discounted prices. This is seen as an attempt to control food inflation ahead of upcoming elections.