India is under pressure from the United States and Western countries to take a tougher stance with Russia, a country with which it has long had strong ties.
Top diplomats from the US, Russia and Europe visited India this week for separate meetings with officials in New Delhi, highlighting efforts by Moscow and Washington to get India more on its side in the international battle for Russia’s invasion and bombing of Ukraine.
Deputy National Security Adviser on International Economy Dalip Singh, a key creator of the Biden administration’s sanctions against Russia, went to a meeting with Indian government officials this week.
While there, he criticized Russian oil imports to New Delhi and dependence on military equipment from Moscow.
Speaking to reporters Thursday, Singh said the United States did not want to see “rapid acceleration” of Russian energy imports to India, which could help Moscow at a time when the United States and European countries are either banning or seeking to reduce such imports.
“The conversation I had here is that we are ready to help India diversify its energy resources, as has been the case with defense resources over a period of time,” Singh told a news briefing, according to the Hindustan Times.
The Biden administration and lawmakers on both sides are increasingly frustrated that India is on the side of a campaign of pressure on Moscow.
India has abstained from all United Nations voices condemning Russia and has not taken any steps to impose sanctions against The Kremlin.
Although relations between the United States and India have improved in recent years, including during the Trump administration, experts on the issue said India is likely to want to maintain a partnership with Russia that dates back to the Cold War. war.
“There is a great impetus in the relationship between the United States and India, and I think that Russia is now, unfortunately, taking on one of the real sore points in the relationship that India wants to keep them at all costs,” said Derek Grossman, senior defense chief. . RAND Corporation analyst.
Donald Lou, a senior State Department official who focused on U.S. relations with India, told lawmakers earlier this month that officials were waging an “open battle” to persuade New Delhi to openly condemn Russia, and were considering whether to impose sanctions imposed by Congress. . Earlier purchase of the Russian S-400 missile defense system in New Delhi.
Senator Todd Young (R-Ind.), A senior member in charge of U.S. foreign relations in South Asia, told The Hill in a statement that he opposed India’s sanctions but called on New Delhi to secede from Moscow.
“India remains a key partner in the quad-core security dialogue as they work with the United States to fight China in Asia and around the world,” Young said. “I hope this will be a time when India realizes the responsibility that its long-standing defense relationship with Russia means for their security in the future.”
Grossman also expressed doubt that the administration would impose sanctions against India.
“One democracy that sanctioned another democracy doesn’t look very good,” he said.
India considers itself in a strong position to support its non-alignment policy, said Donald Camp, who has served as a senior foreign service officer in East and South Asia for nearly two decades and focuses on U.S. and Indian policies at the Center for Strategic and Strategic Affairs. International Studies.
“I have the impression that India does not mind being alone if necessary,” he said.
“India is a very proud nation that is aware of its independence and has always talked about it – they use the phrase ‘strategic autonomy.’ In other words, they will not be persuaded if they think it is in their national interest. ”
Former Indian Foreign Minister and former Ambassador to China and the United States Nirupama Rao tweeted on Saturday that “our relationship with the West is of great importance to us, but the pressure that we consider unreasonable cannot work.”
But India’s position on Russia has become a much bigger diplomatic game, given Russia’s aggression.
“As this conflict continues to escalate and sanctions intensify, India is becoming increasingly uncomfortable on this fine line,” Dhum said.
The US is certainly not the only country trying to put pressure on India.
Singh’s visit coincided with the visit of Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
This week, British Foreign Secretary Liz Trass and Senior Security and Foreign Policy Adviser to German Chancellor Jens Plettner also traveled through New Delhi.
Lavrov, who arrived in New Delhi on Thursday for a two-day summit with Indian officials, has been tasked with importing Russian oil to India, undermining international sanctions by trading in rubles and rupees.
The importance of the relationship is crucial for Russian President Vladimir Putin, who insists that Russians are not isolated.
“It is much easier for Putin to say that the invasion he launched in Ukraine did not lead to international isolation,” Dumas said.
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