Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke on the phone on Friday and discussed the state of global energy and food markets, Modi’s office said in a statement, as India keeps buying Russian crude oil.
“They exchanged ideas on how bilateral trade in agricultural goods, fertilisers and pharma products could be encouraged further,” the statement said. “The leaders also discussed global issues, including the state of the international energy and food markets.”
The statement said Modi urged Putin to go for dialogue and diplomacy to resolve the Ukraine crisis.
India stood by trade with Russia despite increasing pressure of NATO allies. It also emerged this week that India’s biggest cement producer, UltraTech Cement, is importing a cargo of Russian coal and paying using Chinese yuan.
UltraTech is bringing in 157,000 tonnes of coal from Russian producer SUEK that loaded on the bulk carrier MV Mangas from the Russian Far East port of Vanino, the document showed. It cites an invoice dated June 5 that values the cargo at 172,652,900 yuan ($25.81 million).
India’s energy imports from Russia too have spiked in the recent weeks as traders have offered steep discounts, Reuters reported this month. New Delhi defends its purchases of Russian goods saying a sudden halt would inflate prices and hurt consumers.