It was announced this week that top Russian oil producer Rosneft had signed a deal with top Indian oil refiner Indian Oil Corp. to increase the amount and grades of oil that Russia will supply to India, Breitbart reported.
The profitable agreement for Russia comes as that nation endures harsh economic sanctions pushed by President Joe Biden and other Western leaders that were intended to internationally isolate and financially cripple Russia as punishment for its ongoing invasion of neighboring Ukraine.
Russian news agency TASS reported on Wednesday that "Rosneft and the Indian Oil Company have entered into an agreement to increase oil supplies to India and diversify its grades" as part of a "working trip" for Rosneft CEO Igor Sechin to India to meet with top government officials and the heads of that nation's biggest oil and gas companies.
The Russian company said in a statement, "During the trip, Rosneft Oil Company and Indian Oil Company signed a term agreement to substantially increase oil supplies as well as diversify the grades to India. Igor Sechin, CEO of Rosneft Oil Company, and Shrikant Madhav Vaidya, Chairman of Indian Oil Corporation Ltd., signed the agreement, in the presence of India's Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas Hardeep S. Puri."
The statement further noted that "ways of expanding cooperation between Rosneft Oil Company and Indian companies in the entire value chain of the energy sector, including possibilities of making payments in national currencies" were also discussed, and that "particular attention was paid" to furthering progress on at least three separate joint projects on pipelines and production.
Reuters reported that Russia, with its previously receptive European market for oil now substantially cut off or reduced since the invasion of Ukraine began in Feb. 2022, has increasingly shifted its supply of oil to other welcome recipients like India and China.
The outlet noted that Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak bragged this week that Russian oil supplies to India had increased by 22 times over what it had been last year, and according to Rosneft, Russia has now become the fifth-largest trading partner with India.
The trade volume between those two nations reportedly hit $38.4 billion in 2022, which beat a goal of $30 billion annually by 2025, and according to Breitbart, there are now predictions that trade volume between Russia and India could surge as high as $50 billion by the end of 2023.
The significant increase in trade and the new oil supply deal shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone, as Bloomberg News reported in June 2022 that government officials in India were "collectively working on finalizing and securing new six-month supply contracts for Russian crude to India."
"Details on volumes and pricing are still being negotiated with Indian banks set to fully finance all cargoes, said the people who asked not to be identified as discussions are confidential," the outlet added at that time in reference to its anonymous sources. "Indian refiners will increasingly procure supplies directly from Russian companies such as Rosneft as top international traders" wind down prior deals.
As for the Western sanctions against Russia and criticism against India for increasing its dealings with the sanctioned combatant nation, Breitbart reported separately in January that top officials from India, which has declared itself neutral with regard to the Russia-Ukraine conflict, are unconcerned by the criticism and have responded by highlighting the hypocrisy of purportedly anti-Russian European nations that continue to purchase Russian oil supplies.
Indian Oil Minister Hardeep Singh Puri had said in November that India only purchased about 0.2 percent of Russian oil in 2022, and noted at that time, "Moreover, we still buy a quarter of what Europe buys in one afternoon. So let’s be very clear about what the perspective is."
Along those same lines, Indian External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar said in a January interview with a European news outlet, "Europe imported, in the same period, six times the energy which India did. If it is a matter of principle why didn’t Europe cut on the first day?" He further stated, "Why didn’t on 25th February, a complete cut off of energy imports from Russia? You can’t say it’s my principle but by the way, I will do it by my timing."
The minister also highlighted India's high levels of poverty and desperate need for cheap energy, as well as the duplicity of Europe claiming outrage over Russia's violation of Ukrainian sovereignty while virtually ignoring other nations around the globe whose sovereignty is also routinely violated by aggressive neighbors.