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Russia Strategically Benefits From India Reselling Its Refined Fuel To Europe
On the surface, it seems unconscionable that Russia is indirectly supplying its European enemies with fuel in spite of everything that they’ve done. This naturally prompts speculation from some well-intended patriotic forces of elite betrayal. In reality, however, this informal Indian-led arrangement actually advances Russia’s strategic interests as will now be explained.
It was recently reported that India has just become Europe’s largest supplier of refined fuel, which was to be expected in light of Bloomberg’s report from early February about “How India Turns Russia Crude Into the West’s Fuel”. That piece was analyzed here at the time, with it being assessed that this development signaled the simultaneous failure of the West’s dual campaigns to bankrupt Russia via sanctions in parallel with pressuring India to distance itself from its decades-long strategic partner.
The latest news update, however, has been met with confusion among some who don’t understand how Russia benefits from India reselling its refined fuel to Europe. On the surface, it seems unconscionable that Russia is indirectly supplying its European enemies with fuel in spite of everything that they’ve done. This naturally prompts speculation from some well-intended patriotic forces of elite betrayal. In reality, however, this arrangement actually advances Russia’s strategic interests as will now be explained.
The most immediate benefit is financial since Russia is able to rely on much-needed revenue from India despite the West’s sanctions, without which its economic situation might have been much worse. In fact, the argument can be made that its purchases are partially responsible for the economy recently showing signs of recovery in accordance with the IMF’s forecast from January. Unlike what some might think, it was impossible for China to have played this role on its own, plus it would have been irresponsible.
After all, the People’s Republic was still practicing its so-called “zero-COVID” policy up until late fall, which resulted in it slashing oil consumption. Moreover, relying entirely on one customer like China in the event that this was possible at the time would have made Russia disproportionately dependent on it, the scenario of which Moscow preemptively averted by selling around the same amount of oil to India. This pragmatic policy is expected to remain in place since it meets the country’s national interests.
About those, they don’t just involve receiving reliable revenue from India or preemptively averting disproportionate dependence on China, but also relate to the global systemic transition to multipolarity. It’s imperative for Russia to accelerate India’s rise as a globally significant Great Power in order to enable that country to play its envisaged balancing role in the New Cold War, which was described at length in this analysis here for those readers who have an interest in International Relations theory.
For casual observers, it’s sufficient to simplify Indian grand strategy as being aimed at informally leading the Global South, thus resulting in the emergence of a third pole of influence between the US-led West’s Golden Billion and the Sino-Russo Entente that could then balance between both. This scenario could comparatively stabilize the global competition between those two aforementioned de facto blocs, especially since it stands a credible chance of enhancing the Global South’s strategic autonomy.
The abovementioned outcome aligns with Russia’s grand strategic interests, thus making India’s complementary to its own and adding crucial context to the Kremlin’s large-scale export of discounted fuel to that country. This serves several supplementary objectives with respect to their shared goal of accelerating India’s rise as a globally significant Great Power. For starters, it ensured that what’s now the world’s most populous country wasn’t destabilized by the fuel crisis catalyzed by Western sanctions.
This in turn offset the worst-case scenario of civil unrest along the lines of what other Global South states have experienced over the past year, which could have been weaponized by the US to coerce India into distancing itself from Russia, thus derailing their complementary grand strategic goal. The resultant socio-economic stability that was achieved through their energy relations led to India growing literally twice as fast as China last year and being expected to account for a quarter of global growth this year.
Having succeeded with the domestic dimension of its grand strategy, India then turned its sights towards the international one by reselling refined Russian fuel to the West (including the US) in order to become so indispensable to their energy security that they’d curtail their pressure upon it. Despite infamous Color Revolution financier George Soros’ de facto declaration of Hybrid War against it in mid-February, state-level pressure on India noticeably decreased since reports about their energy ties surfaced.
Furthermore, by Russia indirectly satisfying the European market’s energy needs via India, it was able to maintain its own production as well as that of its OPEC+ partners. This prevented the second-mentioned from increasing production to fill that void, which could have then possibly compelled Russia to offer even steeper discounts on its oil than before due to the glut that this could have created, therefore severely reducing the revenue that it could rely on for the indefinite future.
The end result of this informal arrangement between Russia, India, and the West is that the West greatly reduced its pressure on India, which indirectly relieves some pressure upon Russia. The Russian-Indian Strategic Partnership is now stronger than ever as these two continue advancing their complementary grand strategic goals. This is especially so when it comes to the progress that they’re making on the North-South Transport Corridor (NSTC) via Iran, which provides Russia with access to the Global South.
The West obviously doesn’t approve of the NSTC, but it’s powerless to stop India from pioneering this new trade route with Russia. They realized that they’ll never turn it into their largest-ever vassal state so it’s a waste of time to continue trying, hence why they begrudgingly accept that India has interests that are sometimes the complete opposite of their own. Nevertheless, they’re content with there remaining many mutually beneficial ones between them in spite of that such as their newfound energy ties.
To wrap it all up, Russia benefits from India reselling its refined fuel to Europe in the following ways: 1) Russia receives much-needed revenue from India despite sanctions; 2) This preemptively averts disproportionate dependence on China; 3) India’s socio-economic stability is assured in spite of the fuel crisis that’s afflicting the Global South; 4) That country then relieved Western pressure upon it by playing an indispensable role in their energy security; and 5) this facilitates the strengthening of ties with Russia.
That last-mentioned outcome is the most important since it enables them to jointly pursue the advancement of their complementary grand strategies aimed at accelerating India’s rise as a globally significant Great Power, which is mutually beneficial for both as was explained throughout this analysis. If India didn’t play its newfound energy role with the West, then that de facto bloc’s pressure upon it might have eventually become unbearable, thus leading to the deterioration of ties with Russia.
Had that happened, then Russia would have become disproportionately dependent on China while India would have been forced into the same relationship with the West due to its security dilemma with the People’s Republic, thus leading to a mutually disadvantageous outcome. Instead of that worst-case scenario unfolding, a comparative balance of sorts has been maintained between these key players in the New Cold War, which is largely the result of India reselling refined Russian fuel to Europe.