‘Russia with India when US wasn’t’, US justifies

Published on : 11:37 AM Mar 23, 2022

US has said that the considerations have changed for India-US bilateral ties from the times when Russia was with India when the US and its allies were not prepared to have a close relationship, writes senior journalist Sanjib Kr Baruah

New Delhi: In a look-back into history and the long legacy of India-Russia bilateral ties, the US has come out with its clearest position yet on trying to understand the Indian stand-in not vehemently opposing the Russian military action in Ukraine. On Tuesday, Ned Price, spokesperson of the US State Department, during his briefing said: “India has—of course, had a historic defense and security relationship with Russia over time.

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That relationship came of age and came together at a time when the United States, nor some of our partners, were prepared to have that kind of relationship with India.” “It was a very different time, different considerations, but those times have changed. They’ve changed in terms of our willingness and ability to be a strong defense and security partner of India...”

“So, the fact is that we are a partner of India now. We are a partner of India when it comes to shared interests when it comes to the values we share in a free and open Indo-Pacific. And we’ve invested in that relationship in terms of our defense and security. So historical relationships notwithstanding, we are a partner of choice for India now, as are many of our partners and allies around the world.” Advertisement

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Skirting a pointed question yet again on whether the Biden administration has finally made any decision when it comes to the CAATSA sanction vis-à-vis the Russian S-400 air defence missile system procurement, Price said: “We continue to work with Congress and our Indian partners on these issues.”

The US position came a day after President Joe Biden singled out India for its position on the Russian military action, calling India’s response “shaky”.

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On Monday, speaking during a business roundtable interaction with CEOs in Washington, D.C., President Biden said on the Ukraine issue: “We presented a united front throughout NATO and in the Pacific. The Quad is—with the possible exception of India being somewhat shaky on some of this. But Japan has been extremely strong, so has Australia, in terms of dealing with Putin’s aggression. We presented a united front throughout NATO and the Pacific.”

Responding to media questions on Monday just after the India-Australia Virtual Summit between Indian PM Narendra Modi and his Australian counterpart Scott Morrison, Harsh Vardhan Shringla, India's foreign secretary, had said: “PM Morrison was quite clear that as far as he was concerned, the Quad’s focus was on the Indo Pacific… He also I think, expressed understanding for India's position on the issue of Ukraine, which he felt definitely reflected our own situation, our own sort of considerations.”

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On the other hand, the Japanese position on India’s response to the Ukraine crisis was sharp during the India-Japan Summit meeting between PM Modi and Japan PM Fumio Kishida on Saturday.

In his opening remarks at the Summit, PM Kishida said: “Prime Minister Modi and I discussed the Ukraine crisis at length …. The Russian invasion of Ukraine is an extremely serious issue that threatens to shake the very foundation of the global world order… I told PM Modi that forceful unilateral change in the status quo should not be given permission.” He also added that the Ukraine crisis was also discussed in a separate closed-format meeting.

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India, US, Australia and Japan are the four members of the ‘Quadrilateral Security Dialogue’ commonly referred to as the ‘Quad’ which is understood to be an important platform that has been set up to challenge and contain an increasingly powerful China in the Indian Ocean.

The ‘Quad’ had become a cornerstone of US strategic and diplomatic effort to contain China.

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READ: Foreign Secy Shringla arrives in New York as UNSC, UNGA set to vote on draft resolutions on Ukraine crisis

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