- US is discouraging India from relying on Russia, its largest defence supplier
- We’ve been very clear with India as well as other nations to see them rely on Russia, US said
- India is a provider of security in the region and we value that, US official said
The US is discouraging India from relying on Russia, its largest defence supplier, for its defence needs, citing the crippling impact the Western sanctions will have on Russian military-industrial complexes after Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, top American officials have said.
The remarks of the top Biden administration officials this week came amid growing disquiet in Western capitals over India’s refusal to directly condemn the Russian aggression in Ukraine and its decision to procure discounted Russian oil.
“We’ve been very clear with India as well as other nations that we don’t want to see them rely on Russia for defence needs. We’ve been nothing but honest about that and discouraging that,” Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby told reporters at a news conference in Washington on Friday.
“At the same time, we also value the defence partnership that we have with India. And as was evidenced a week ago, we’re looking at ways to improve that going forward.
That’s going to continue because it matters and it’s important,” he said.
“India is a provider of security in the region and we value that,” Kirby said.
US State Department Counsellor Derek Chollet on Thursday said the Biden administration is very much eager to work with India as it diversifies its defence capabilities and defence suppliers.
Following the third convening of the EU-US dialogue on China held in Brussels, Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman the US would work with India to help it reduce its traditional reliance on Russian weapons.
“India is an incredibly consequential country for all of us. It is a democracy. It is a messy democracy but so are we… They are not an easy democracy but they are a young democracy,” she said on Thursday.
“They are very worried about the PRC (China). They understand that their military, which was built on Russian weapons, probably doesn’t have a future with Russian weapons anymore because our sanctions have pulled back the military-industrial complex of Russia — and it’s not coming back anytime soon,” she said in response to a question on India’s dependence on Russian weapons.
“We are going to work with India to support them as a growing, important and consequential democracy which they are. By 2030 they are going to be the largest of everything, the largest wealthy class, the largest middle class, probably the largest poor class. They are the largest of everything and they are a partner with us in the Quad along with Australia and Japan.”
In October 2018, India signed a USD 5 billion deal with Russia to buy five units of the S-400 Triumf air defence missile systems to ramp up its air defence, despite a warning from the then Trump administration that going ahead with the contract may invite US sanctions.
The US has already imposed sanctions on Turkey under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) for the purchase of a batch of S-400 missile defence systems from Russia.