India's ties with Russia developed when…: Top US diplomat at 2+2

Published on Apr 12, 2022 08:15 AM IST

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said India has to make its own decisions about how it approaches this challenge.

External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, and US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin.(AFP)
External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, and US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin.(AFP)
By | Written by Kunal Gaurav

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken showed understanding of India's position on the Ukraine war while cautioning allies and partners against the increase in Russian energy purchases. Addressing a joint media briefing after the conclusion of the 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue between defence and foreign ministers of India and the US, Blinken said that New Delhi's relationship with Moscow developed over decades when the US was not able to be a partner of the South Asian country.

"India's relationship with Russia was developed over decades at a time when the United States was not able to be a partner to India," Blinken told reporters.

He, however, added that "times have changed" and the US is now “able and willing to be a partner of choice with India across virtually every realm: commerce, technology, education and security.”

"And that was very much the nature of the conversation that we had today."

On the issue of oil purchases from Russia and sanctions, the top American diplomat noted that "there are carve-outs for energy purchases."

"Of course, we're encouraging countries not to purchase additional energy supplies from Russia. Every country is differently situated, has different needs, requirements, but we're looking to allies and partners not to increase their purchases of Russian energy,” he said.

Also Read | Our Russian energy monthly purchase less than Europe's in a day: India at 2+2

When asked whether Washington was considering imposing sanctions on India over procuring S-400 air defence systems, Blinken called on all nations not to have major weapons transactions with Russia, particularly in the wake of the invasion of Ukraine.

"We have not yet made a determination regarding potential sanctions or potential waivers under the CAATSA (Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act) law."

India is a major buyer of several Russian-made weapons, including tanks and missile systems, and has signed deals, including the purchase of Russia's S-400 air defence system. India has refused to join the Western sanctions against Russia and maintained that its defence procurements are guided by a policy of strategic autonomy.

Amid the ongoing debate over energy purchases from Russia, external affairs minister S Jaishankar highlighted that India's "purchases for the month would be less than what Europe does in an afternoon.”


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