New Delhi continues to boost Russian crude imports despite Western sanctions on Moscow © Sputnik/Evgeny Biyatov

Moscow and New Delhi have agreed to “substantially increase” the supply of crude oil to India and diversify its grades, Russian energy major Rosneft announced on Wednesday.

A deal was reached with the Indian Oil Company during a trip by Rosneft CEO Igor Sechin to the Asian country, the Russian firm said in a press release on its website.

Sechin also met with the heads of some of India’s largest oil and gas companies and discussed wider cooperation in the energy sector, the press release states. Possible trade settlements in national currencies were also on the agenda.

Russia has for the first time become one of India’s top five trading partners, with turnover reaching $38.4 billion in 2022, according to statistics from India’s Ministry of Commerce and Industry, as cited by Rosneft.

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Energy accounts for a major portion of bilateral trade. According to Russian Deputy Prime Minister Aleksandr Novak, oil purchases by New Delhi surged more than 20-fold last year.

India, the world’s third-largest crude importer, began to boost purchases of Russian oil shortly after the start of Moscow’s military operation in Ukraine and the ensuing Western sanctions.

New Delhi, which has repeatedly stressed that energy security is its top priority, chose not to succumb to Western pressure and continued to stock up on Russian supplies even after the G7 price cap on Russian oil came into force late last year.

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