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Prelims Capsule

International Relations

Indian firms to buy more oil from Russia, energy ties to deepen | Russia-Ukraine Crisis

Indian firms to buy more oil from Russia, energy ties to deepen | Russia-Ukraine Crisis


  • GS 2 || International Relation || India & Rest of the World || Russia

Why in news?

Indian firms to buy more oil from Russia

India-Russia Relation:

Importance of Russia for India:

  • China’s Balancing Act: China’s assertiveness in eastern Ladakh’s border areas pushed India-China relations to a breaking point, but it also revealed that Russia can help defuse tensions with China.
    • Following violent confrontations in the Galwan Valley in the disputed territory of Ladakh, Russia convened a trilateral conference of Russia’s, India’s, and China’s foreign ministries.
  • Emerging New Sectors of Economic Engagement: Apart from conventional fields of collaboration such as weaponry, hydrocarbons, nuclear energy, and diamonds, new sectors of economic involvement, such as mining, agro-industrial, and high technology, such as robots, nanotechnology, and biotechnology, are anticipated to emerge.
    • India’s presence in the Russian Far East and the Arctic is expected to grow. Projects involving connectivity may also benefit.
  • Terrorism: India and Russia are striving to reduce the gap on Afghanistan and are pressing for the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism to be finalised as soon as possible.

Main Challenge:

  • India Going West: In response to China’s expansionist foreign policy, India has actively pursued deeper connections with the West, particularly the United States.
  • A resolute relaunch of the Quad process and a clearer enunciation of a free and inclusive Indo-Pacific reflect this.
  • Russia Going East: Following Russia’s invasion of Crimea in 2014, Western countries slapped tough economic sanctions on the country.
  • In response to these attempts to isolate it, Russia accelerated its own “Pivot to the East.”
  • The most notable outcomes are significantly improved relations with China, as well as stronger connections with Turkey, Iran, and Pakistan.
  • Russia’s Pivot to the East policy does not align with that of the United States, and as a result, the India-Russia relationship suffers.

Way Forward:

  • Befriending the Best Friend: If relations between Washington and Moscow improve, the structural restrictions created by the great power dynamic and widely differing perceptions of the regional security situation could be alleviated.
    • A less conflictual relationship between the two will be a big relief for India; also, if India’s relations with China were more peaceful and stable, the US-China fight for power or Russia’s deepening links with China would have mattered less to India..
  • Connecting with Russia’s Far East: Another driver in the strategic cooperation is connectivity, which has underlying commercial benefits as well as overall economic development.
    • Parallel to the multimodal International North-South Transport Corridor, the proposed Chennai–Vladivostok Maritime Corridor (CVMC) will bolster India’s strategic intent in the South China Sea and the Indo-Pacific region, with a naval presence securing India’s energy and trade shipments from Russia’s Far East..
    • Siberia, the Arctic, and the Far East have some of the world’s greatest stocks of hydrocarbons, metallurgical coke, rare-earth metals, and precious metals.
    • India and Russia can collaborate with countries such as Japan and Korea to boost cooperative exploration in the Far East, Arctic, and Siberia..
  • Energy Sector Cooperation: Given the unknowns surrounding climate change, India should speed its energy transition from fossil fuels to renewables.
    • Russia, as one of the most important global participants in the energy market, might become an essential partner in such a transformation.
    • Fortunately, both countries have a long history of bilateral collaboration in the energy sector, but additional efforts are obviously needed to expand cooperation.
  • Using Multilateral Institutions to Improve Relations: Promote mutually beneficial trilateral collaboration between Russia, China, and India, which might help reduce mistrust and suspicion between the two countries. The SCO and RIC trilateral forums should be used in this context.


Despite the fact that neither India nor Russia has the capacity to prevent each other from doing business with their rivals, neither Delhi nor Moscow has any reason to be satisfied with the state of their commercial relations. India and Russia should focus on laying out a clear path for enhanced economic cooperation and gaining a deeper understanding of each other’s Indo-Pacific interests to kick-start their relationship.

Mains oriented question:

Discuss the important elements that have contributed to the deterioration of India-Russia relations, as well as the approaches that the two countries might take to rekindle their long-standing bilateral relationships. (200 words)