US says ready to become India's reliable supplier, to counter Russia dependence
Sending deputy national security advisor Daleep Singh is an example of the fact that the US has many channels to engage with India in the absence of a confirmed ambassador, the White House said.
The United States reiterated its objection to New Delhi continuing business as usual with Russia and said that it has clearly conveyed to India that the US does not think India should accelerate imports of Russian energy and other commodities even as they are only importing about 1-2% of their oil. The US stands ready to support India in its any efforts to diversify its imports, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said. On the question of whether not having a confirmed ambassador in New Delhi is coming in the way of persuading India to not engage with Russia, Jen Psaki said sending deputy national security advisor Daleep Singh to India was an example of the various channels the United States has to engage. But US's preference would be to have a confirmed ambassador on the ground.
"It's an incredibly important diplomatic position. We also engage with countries through a range of channels. And obviously, our deputy National Security Advisor was just in India recently in the last few weeks, conveying clearly what the consequences of violating sanctions would be and what the mechanisms are," Jen Psaki said.
The statements come as the US has slapped new sanctions on Russian President Vladimir Putin's two daughters -- Katerina Tikhonova and Maria Putina.
The United States at present does not have a confirmed ambassador in India as Eric Garcetti who is supposed to be the next ambassador does not have enough votes yet. According to reports, Biden may replace Garcetti's nomination.
The US has been repeating its displeasure with India's continuous engagement with Russia in sectors like oil and defence. In his recent visit to New Delhi, Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov said Russia is also ready to discuss if India wants to buy anything from Moscow amid the difficult global situation caused by Russia's aggression on Ukraine. US defence secretary Lloys Austin on Tuesday said going forward, the US will want India to downscale India's defence dependence on Russia. US is ready to take the place of Russia, he said.
While external affairs minister S Jaishankar, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman have defended India's purchase of discounted oil from Russia, Jaishankar in Parliament made it clear that India is strongly against the Russia-Ukraine conflict and if New Delhi has chosen a side, it is the side of peace and an immediate end to violence.