India is not Russia and is different from China: US NSA Jake Sullivan
Sullivan said that India is not Russia and is different from China, in response to a question on why the United States is giving a “free pass” on Beijing and Delhi on Russian aggression
Washington is in touch with Delhi on Canada’s allegations over Khalistani separatist leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar’s killing, and there can be no “special exemption” for actions like “these” as the US will defend its basic principles, US national security advisor Jake Sullivan said on Thursday.
Sullivan also said that India is not Russia and is different from China, which poses a different set of challenges, in response to a question on why the United States is giving a “free pass” on Beijing and Delhi on Russian aggression and, in India’s case, other bilateral issues.
Addressing a White House press briefing, Sullivan reaffirmed that the US was deeply concerned about Canada’s allegations, supported its investigation and wanted perpetrators to be brought to justice.
Asked whether President Joe Biden intended to speak with Prime Minister Narendra Modi about the issue, and whether it could drive a “wedge” between India and the US, Sullivan said that he wouldn’t get into private diplomatic conversations but “this issue had been discussed at the highest levels”.
“It is a matter of concern for us. It is something we take seriously. It’s something we will keep working on, and we will do that regardless of the country. There is not some special exemption you get for actions like this. Regardless of the country, we will stand up and defend our basic principles. And we will also consult closely with allies like Canada as they pursue their law enforcement and diplomatic process,” Sullivan said.
In a different context, when asked why the US was giving a pass to India despite its position on Russian aggression, the fact that it had made “a deal with 18 countries to not use dollars” for trade, was on a “watchlist for intellectual property theft”, and was a part of Brics, Sullivan said, “Where we have concerns with India, whether it comes to issues related to the very watchlist that you are describing or otherwise, we make those concerns clear. And we defend US interests, as we do with every country in the world.”
Sullivan, however, added, “Now, India is not Russia, and China has its own set of challenges that we deal with in its own context. So, of course, there is going to be differences in how we deal with countries one by one. But the North Star of this administration is: If you represent a threat to the American people’s security, prosperity, or basic sense of fairness, we will take action to defend that. I think our record on that — across multiple countries, including the ones you have mentioned — is quite clear over the last two and a half years.”
Earlier in the briefing, Sullivan said that the US was deeply concerned about Canada’s allegations of the possible links between agents of the government of India and a killing in Canada, it fully supports the investigation, would like to see the perpetrators brought to justice, and that the US was in touch with both governments.
In his comments, Sullivan, regarded as Biden’s closest foreign policy aide and among the architects of the renewed momentum in the India-US strategic partnership, said, “As soon as we heard from the Canadian PM publicly about the allegations, we went out publicly ourselves and expressed our deep concern about them, our support for law enforcement progress to get to the bottom of what exactly happened and ensure perpetrators are held accountable.”
While saying he would not get into the substance of private diplomatic conversations, Sullivan said that the US was in “constant contact with Canadian counterparts, consulting with them closely” and supported Canada’s efforts in this investigation. “We have also been in touch with the Indian government.”
Sullivan said he had seen efforts in the press to drive a wedge between the US and Canada. “I firmly reject that there is a wedge between the US and Canada. We have deep concerns about the allegations, we would like to see the investigation carried forward and perpetrators held to account. That is what US has stood for from the moment this became public and will fully stand by till this fully plays its way out.”