• Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Diplomacy

India to remain strategic partner despite Russia ties: US

Indian prime minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Russia has been watched closely by the West amidst the raging Ukraine conflict

(L) Indian prime minister Narendra Modi with Russian president Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, on September 16, 2022. (Photo by Alexandr Demyanchuk / SPUTNIK / AFP); US president Joe Biden (Photo by Pete Marovich-Pool/Getty Images)

By: Shajil Kumar

INDIA will continue to be a strategic partner for the US despite concerns over its ties with Russia, the Joe Biden administration has said.

Prime minister Narendra Modi was in Russia for two days for the 22nd India-Russia annual summit that has been watched closely by the West amidst the raging Ukraine conflict.

On Tuesday, spokespersons of the Pentagon, the White House and the State Department reacted separately to questions on India’s relationship with Russia and Modi’s visit to Moscow.

“India and Russia have had a relationship for a very long time. From a US perspective, India is a strategic partner with whom we continue to engage in full and frank dialogue to include their relationship with Russia. As it relates to the NATO summit being this week, of course, like you, the world is focused on that,” Pentagon Press Secretary Major General Pat Ryder told reporters at a news conference.

On the other hand, US State Department Spokesperson Matthew Miller told reporters at his daily news conference that the US has been quite clear about its “concerns about India’s relationship with Russia.”

“We have expressed those privately directly to the Indian government, and continue to do so. And that has not changed,” Miller told reporters at his daily news conference.

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said India is a strategic partner with whom the US engages in full and frank dialogue including their relationship with Russia.

“We’ve talked about this before. So we think it’s critical that all countries including India support efforts to realise an enduring and just peace when it comes to Ukraine,” Jean-Pierre told reporters at her daily news conference on Tuesday.

“It is important for all our allies to realise this. And so we also believe India’s long-standing relationship with Russia gives it the ability to urge the president, President Putin to end his brutal war, an unprovoked war in Ukraine. It is for President Putin to end. President Putin started the war and President Putin can end the war,” she said in response to a question.

India has stoutly defended its “special and privileged strategic partnership” with Russia and maintained the momentum in the ties notwithstanding the Ukraine conflict.

India has not yet condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022 and has consistently pitched for a resolution of the conflict through dialogue and diplomacy.

Ryder said: “I do not think anybody will be surprised if (Russian) President (Vladimir) Putin tries to represent this visit in a way that seeks to somehow show that he is not isolated from the rest of the world. And the fact of the matter is President Putin’s war of choice has isolated Russia from the rest of the world, and it has come at great cost.”

“He (Putin) is not looking so isolated with the head of the world’s largest democracy being in Moscow, embracing him right now,” a reporter asked.

Ryder responded by saying that Modi also met recently with the Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy and offered his assurances that India will continue to do everything within its means to support a peaceful solution to the war in Ukraine.

“I think that we trust that India will support efforts to realise an enduring and just peace for Ukraine and will convey to Putin the importance of adhering to the UN charter and the principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity,” he added. (PTI)

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