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As India looks to increase oil purchase from Russia, support comes from China

New trend in India-China relations?

As pressure builds on New Delhi to take sides and condemn Russia after it invaded Ukraine, the Chinese state owned media, mostly echoing the government's sentiments, has come out in support of India. It said that New Delhi should be allowed to make decisions based on its own national interests. 

Amid a surge in global crude prices, India is also looking to buy oil from Russia at a discounted rate, something that will help New Delhi in cushioning its economy. While the US said that India’s purchase of crude oil from Russia will not violate the stringent sanctions imposed against Russia by the West, Washington warned that it may put India “on the wrong side of history.”

Global Times in a column titled ‘It is necessary for China, India to mend their fraught relations’ said that it is India's legitimate right to develop economic and trade relations with Russia based on its own national interests.

Following the Galwan Valley clash on India-China relations nosedived. The mouthpiece of the Chinese government, until last year, remained brutally critical of India and its foreign policy.

Also read: Will Wang Yi’s likely visit lead to a thaw in India-China relations?

“Only through close cooperation and stable development can the two countries increase their discourse power and formulate their own foreign and trade policies independently in accordance with their own needs,” it said, adding that a peaceful environment can help both “Asian economic powerhouses” to achieve their “greatest economic and trade potential.”

While relations between the two neighbours have been less than cordial since 2020, trade has soared. In 2021, bilateral trade between India and China crossed a record $125.6 billion.

In 2001, it was just $1.83 billion.

After the Narendra Modi government, in 2020, revised its foreign direct investment policy to bar any “opportunistic” takeover or acquisition in domestic companies by its neighbouring countries, could now ease the norms. The move was aimed at protecting domestic companies from hostile takeovers amid dropping valuations due to the Covid 19 pandemic.

Earlier, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said at a press briefing that the two countries should not allow territorial disputes “to affect the overall interests of bilateral cooperation.” 

As part of the minister’s South Asia tour, Wang is also expected to visit India toward the end of this month. Earlier India Narrative in an article said that besides from the tensions along the border, especially in Eastern Ladakh, several other background factors seem to be driving the Chinese diplomatic outreach

However, insiders also pointed out that for India-China ties to progress, the border issue needs to be resolved and Beijing would have to end its incursion across the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in