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JULY 2024

India More Than Doubles Diamond Imports From Russia Despite Western Sanctions

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India More Than Doubles Diamond Imports From Russia Despite Western Sanctions

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Written by Ahmed Adel, Cairo-based geopolitics and political economy researcher

India more than doubled its diamond imports from Russia to 728,000 carats in March from the same period a year ago amid dwindling supplies from Belgium and the United Arab Emirates, according to data from the Indian Ministry of Commerce and Industry. This not only reflects India’s defiance of European Union sanctions on Russia but also reaffirms the major efforts by Moscow and New Delhi to boost bilateral trade exchanges.

In search of market diversification, in one year, India increased imports of precious stones from several countries, increasing purchases from Canada to 354,000 carats compared to March of the previous year. Imports of diamonds from China increased by 2,000 carats, and shipments from Hong Kong increased by 15% over the same period.

According to the data, diamond imports from Belgium fell by 2 million carats to 2.1 million carats during the same period and from the United Arab Emirates by 900,000 carats to 7.3 million carats. The United States reduced its diamond exports to the South Asian country to 155,000 carats, Israel to 110,000 carats, Botswana to 214,000 carats and South Africa to 255,000 carats.

On January 1, the European Union’s gradual ban on direct and indirect imports, purchases and transfers of Russian diamonds came into force. The ban covers diamonds originating in Russia, exported from the country or in transit, as well as Russian diamonds processed in third countries. The ban covers natural and non-industrial synthetic diamonds as well as diamond jewellery, while the indirect import ban on Russian diamonds when processed in third countries was gradually introduced from March 1 and is scheduled to end on September 1.

It is recalled that in December 2023, Al Cook, CEO of diamond giant De Beers, said in an interview with The Financial Times, “With the best will in the world, the average customs agent will not be able to look at one diamond and another diamond and go, ‘That’s the Russian one.’”

Despite the impossibility of identifying Russian diamonds, the Diamond Office in Antwerp was assigned this responsibility.  Diamond Bureau officials demand documentation proving the origin of each batch of diamonds, which leads to long delays, additional costs, and infuriated customers, The Times reported in March, citing several diamond traders.

One of the traders also said that delaying a single shipment for two or three weeks costs the industry around $500 million, a burden borne by customers. Meanwhile, a financial consultant said ten local diamond companies were already planning to relocate to the UAE or India in light of the regulations.

Along with the impossibility of determining whether a diamond is Russian or not, the sanctions have had no long-term adverse effect on Russia’s economy. According to official statistics released on May 17, the Russian economy experienced a robust growth rate of 5.4% in the first quarter of 2024, demonstrating the utter failure US-led sanctions have been since their widespread imposition after  the launch of Russia’s special military operation in February 2022 and the restructuring of the economy, with key industries finding alternative suppliers or more indirect trade routes to obtain necessary goods and components, especially from China and India.

Indian Foreign Minister S. Jaishankar said at an industry conference on May 17 that growing trade with Moscow should not be perceived as a “temporary phenomenon” as it is accompanied by numerous economic prospects and is reflected in increased trade volumes between the two countries.

“For long, we have looked at Russia from a political or security perspective. As that country turns eastwards, fresh economic opportunities are presenting themselves … the spike in our trade and new areas of cooperation should not be regarded as a temporary phenomenon,” Jaishankar stressed.

The Indian foreign minister also emphasised New Delhi’s intention to expand economic ties and explore new trade routes, particularly via the Vladivostok-Chennai maritime route, which will entirely bypass European seaways.

In addition to increasing diamond imports, India became one of the major buyers of Russian sea-borne oil since Western countries imposed sanctions on Moscow and ceased buying oil, and discussions are underway regarding collaboration in the production of military equipment.

For this reason, Kiev has been on a desperate charm offensive to try to sway New Delhi from continuing to grow its longstanding ties with Moscow. Ukrainian foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba visited India in March. India, as an independent power, was obviously not deterred from deepening ties with Russia, and this is attested by the fact that the country has only increased the import of diamonds in defiance of European sanctions.


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tactical n u k e s

india, as well as all other bric countries, does not give a shit about the eu/us sanctions

Diamond Jim Brady

neither do the jews running the nyc diamond trade. they pressured biden to let up on the diamond sanctions and he’ll be sure to do it.


i wonder when the eurotards will get it? they are beeing played masterfully, we americans squeeze them dry like a 5 star escort does, and they love it.


wars and sanctions are temporary. diamonds are forever.

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