Alrosa roughs are not ‘conflict diamonds’, says India – by Shantanu Guha Ray (Sunday Guardian Live – March 19, 2022)


NGOs supporting a ban on Russian exports to India are silent about the consequent shift of the industry to China.

New Delhi: Exports of rough diamonds from Russia’s state-owned Alrosa mines have resumed to India, although tensions remain high over such consignments.

The exports, claim those in the industry, were started to help Indian diamond traders avoid Western sanctions imposed on Vladimir Putin-led Moscow for its invasion of Ukraine. Exports were carried out through making payments in euros through German banks.

Sources told this reporter that the exports started after a brief hiatus caused by sanctions imposed by the West following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Indian traders are making payments in euros through German banks to bypass the sanctions applied on Moscow. It is not easy to ignore the flow of diamonds from Alrosa, Russia’s enormous state-backed mining monopoly, to the West.

Many Western nations are seeking to shut down Russia’s diamond trade with India by calling Russian diamonds conflict diamonds, or blood diamonds. Critics such as Cristina Villegas, director of the Mines to Markets program at Pact, a development NGO, was quoted by the India-phobic London-based Guardian as saying: “These are objectively conflict diamonds: they’re funding an armed conflict against a peaceful neighbour, by a state actor.”

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