Russian oil exports to China and India have noticeably increased and its presence in the BRICS countries is also growing, President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday amid the Ukraine conflict that has resulted in heavy sanctions on Moscow.
He made these remarks at the virtual BRICS Business Forum being hosted by China, the first such forum that Putin is attending with the heads of major economies since the start of the Russia-Ukraine war.
Speaking at the event, Putin noted that despite all problems and difficulties BRICS businesses have been "consistently enhancing mutually beneficial ties in the areas of trade, finance, and investment".
"For example, in the first three months of this year, trade between the Russian Federation and the BRICS countries increased by 38 per cent - and reached USD 45 billion," he said.
Analysts say the decision by the group to go ahead with the annual summit does reflect a view held by BRICS countries on the global order and, by extension, the situation in Ukraine, which differs from the Western countries led by the US.
The Russian President said contacts between Russian business circles and the business community of the BRICS countries have intensified.
"For example, negotiations are underway to open Indian chain stores in Russia, increase the share of Chinese cars, equipment, and hardware on our market. In its turn, Russia's presence in the BRICS countries is growing. There has been a noticeable increase in the exports of Russian oil to China and India," he said.
"Agricultural cooperation is developing dynamically. Russia exports considerable amounts of fertilizers to the BRICS states. Russian IT companies are expanding their activities in India and South Africa, and our satellites enable TV broadcasting for as many as 40 million residents of Brazil," he added.
India in recent weeks has spiked energy imports from Russian despite global sanctions on Moscow. US officials conveyed the message to India there is no ban on energy imports from Russia but they do not want to see a rapid acceleration.
A number of institutionalized mechanisms have been set up for the development of economic cooperation between the India-Russia. However, the Ukraine war and subsequent sanctions placed by the Western countries have proved to be a hurdle in trade.
On Tuesday, US National Security Council coordinator John Kirby was asked a question on reports of a spike in Indian energy imports from Russia. Kirby said India is a very key strategic partner in the Indo-Pacific region and the US lets Indian leaders speak about their economic policies, said
Addressing a press briefing on Tuesday, he said the US value this bilateral relationship with India but Washington wants international pressure on Russia amid the Ukraine conflict.
"India is also a very key strategic partner in the Indo-Pacific region. And there are many ways that partnership represents itself both in defence and security, economic as well. I think we'll let Indian leaders speak about their economic policies," he said.
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar earlier this month hit back at the unfair criticism of Indian oil purchase from Russia amid the Ukraine war that has created a knock-off effect on the world economy.
While defending India's oil imports from Russia, Jaishankar stressed that it is important to understand how the Ukraine conflict is impacting the developing countries. He also questioned why only India was being questioned while Europe continues to import gas from Russia amid the Ukraine war.
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