India Seeks to Double Trade With Russia, Reports Say

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MOSCOW (Sputnik) - India is set to double its trade with Russia in the foreseeable future, using the Indian rupee for settlements, The Indian Express reported on Sunday, citing the results of a high-level meeting in September.

The hike in trade between Moscow and New Delhi was mainly spurred by a sharp rise in India's import of Russian crude oil, the newspaper said. Russia currently accounts for around 22% of India's total crude requirement, up from a mere 1%. In October, Russia became the largest oil supplier to India, surpassing Saudi Arabia and Iraq, the traditional leaders in this area.

"The department of commerce [DoC] mentioned that it was ready to support the initiative, and on the basis of feedback from various exporters and business entities, DoC was confident of doubling India-Russia trade within the near foreseeable future, and this would be further spurred by the use of INR for trade settlement," the minutes of the meeting read, as quoted by the newspaper.

Earlier this week, the Indian government allowed international trade settlements in rupees to promote export. The country's ministry of commerce and industry said that the amendments were made to facilitate and simplify international trade transactions, considering a growing interest in the internationalization of India's national currency.

Trade between Russia and India grew around 45% from $8.1 billion in 2020-2021 to $11.9 billion in April 2021–February 2022. In early November, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that trade between the two countries had increased by more than 130% by September compared to the same period last year, almost reaching $17 billion.

In response to Russia's military operation in Ukraine, the European Union announced a ban on the provision of services and insurance for Russian oil supplies around the world, as well as a partial embargo on Russian oil. The restrictions are due to come into force in December this year for seaborne imports of Russian crude and in 2023 for petroleum products.

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