New Delhi: The Economic Survey on Friday said India has the fourth largest foreign exchange reserves, touching USD 297.3 billion in December, 2010 from USD 279.1 billion in March.

"It needs to be acknowledged that foreign exchange reserves have helped insulate India from the worst impact of the crisis," it said.

Unlike many Western nations, India was relatively less affected by the global financial meltdown in 2008-09 that had pushed many advanced economies into recession.

The foreign exchange reserves of Japan and Russia stood at USD 1.12 trillion and USD 479.4 billion, respectively.

Neighbouring China's foreign exchange reserves was at USD 2.45 trillion in June, 2010.

India's foreign exchange reserves have zoomed over the years from just USD 5.8 billion in March, 1991.

The reserves touched a peak at USD 314.6 billion during May-end, 2008 before declining to USD 252 billion at the end of March 2009.

"The decline in reserves in 2008-09 was inter alia a fallout of the global recession and strengthening of US dollar vis-a-vis other international currencies," the Survey said.