Lavrov's India visit: US warns against circumventing sanctions against Russia; UK puts emphasis on improving ties with New Delhi

US also mentioned Line of Actual Control in another comment saying that he doesn’t think anyone would believe that Russia would come in India’s defence if China breached LAC.
Image used for representational purpose only. (File Photo)
Image used for representational purpose only. (File Photo)

NEW DELHI: The US on Thursday said there will be consequences for countries attempting to "circumvent or backfill" American sanctions against Russia. US would not like to see a "rapid" acceleration in India's imports from Russia including energy and other commodities, added American Deputy National Security Advisor for International Economics Daleep Singh in New Delhi

Daleep Singh talking to journalists said, “I come here in a spirit of friendship to explain the mechanisms of our sanctions, the importance of joining us, to express a shared resolve and to advance shared interests. And yes, there are consequences to countries that actively attempt to circumvent or backfill the sanctions,”.

The US Doesn't want mechanisms which would prop up the Russian currency. Replying to a question the US Dy NSA said, “We are very keen for all countries, especially our allies and partners, not to create mechanisms that prop up the [Russian] rouble, and those that attempt to undermine the dollar based financial system,”.

The Deputy NSA also mentioned Line of Actual Control in another comment saying that he doesn’t think anyone would believe that Russia would come in India’s defence if China breached LAC.

“Russia is going to be the junior partner in this relationship with China. And the more leverage that China gains over Russia, the less favourable that is for India, I don’t think anyone would believe that if China once again breached the Line of Actual Control, that Russia will come running to India’s defence.” said Singh.

Singh added India's current import of Russian energy doesn't violate any of the American sanctions as the US had given exemption on the flow of energy from Russia, but at the same time added that Washington would like to see its allies and partners find ways to reduce their reliance on an "unreliable supplier".

The US Deputy NSA, who played a key role in designing American sanctions against Russia, is in New Delhi since Wednesday on a two-day visit in the backdrop as Western pressure over India not criticising Russia over its attack on Ukraine is increasing. More senior officials from Europe are expected in near future.

His comments came on a day Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov reached New Delhi for his two-day India visit that could see discussions on a rouble-rupee payment mechanism for bilateral trade including New Delhi's purchase of Russian Oil.

On the issue India’s energy needs and the defence equipment Daleep Singh said the US stands ready to help India in meeting its requirement for energy and defence equipment.

"So the conversation I've had here is that we stand ready to help India diversify its energy resources, much like is the case for defence resources over a period of time," he added.

Talking about the Quad grouping and cooperation, Singh said there has been recognition in the coalition that China is a strategic threat to a free, open and secure Indo-Pacific.

"If you set that against the reality that China and Russia have now declared a no limits partnership, and that Russia has said that China is its most important strategic partner, by extension, that has real implications for India," Singh said.

The US Deputy NSA said the impact of the Russian aggression if not checked will be devastating.

"Think of the chilling effect that would cause the uncertainties that would be raised, the signal that would be sent to autocrats all over the world that might wish to exert their own sphere of influence, bully their neighbours, perhaps right on India's doorstep. And those are costs that we are not willing to accept," he said.

When asked about the consequences of an attempt to circumvent the sanctions, Singh said "that's the subject of private discussions that I am not going to share publicly." The US is having an "honest dialogue" with the government officials on the Ukraine crisis, Singh said.

"The truth is that there are core principles at stake in our judgement. Core principles that underpin peace and security all over the world, the principle that you can't redraw borders by force, the principles that you can't subjugate the will of the free people, that countries have the right to set their own course and choose their own destiny.

"And (Vladimir) Putin is violating all of those principles. And that's why we're imposing these sanctions. That's why we're supporting Ukraine's fight for freedom," Singh said.

The US official said the democracies must stand up to protect the core principles that underpin peace and security all over the world.

"When democracies don't stand up in solidarity and defend those principles together, the costs and risk to all of us become that much larger," he said.

Meanwhile, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss reached India today on Thursday as part of a wider diplomatic push following Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine last month.

The British high Commission, New Delhi in a stamen on Foreign Secretary’s visit said, “In a meeting with India’s External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, the Foreign Secretary will say Russia’s invasion of Ukraine underlines the importance of democracies working closer together to deter aggressors, reduce vulnerability to coercion and strengthen global security.” She wants to counter Russia’s aggression and reduce global strategic dependence on the country ahead of key NATO and G7 meetings next week, said the British High Commission.

Strengthening ties with India is more important than ever before in the context of the crisis in Ukraine, visiting British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said on Thursday.

Her comments came shortly after holding extensive talks with External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar.

Truss said the Ukraine crisis highlighted the need for like-minded nations to work together and that developments in that country will have far-reaching implications for the globe.

"Strengthening relationship with India is more important than it has ever been precisely because we are living in a more insecure world, precisely because we have (Vladimir) Putin's appalling invasion of Ukraine," she said.

"I think it is very significant that sanctions are applied on Russia," she said addressing the India-UK Strategic Futures Forum along with Jaishankar.

In her opening comments at the talks, Truss said it is important to respect the principles of sovereignty, territorial integrity, and international law.

In his remarks, Jaishankar talked about the progress in the implementation of the Roadmap 2030 that was adopted in May last year to further broadbase ties.

Ahead of the talks, the British High Commission in a statement said Truss will convey to Jaishankar that Russia's invasion of Ukraine underlines the importance of democracies to work together to deter "aggressors" and reduce vulnerability to "coercion".

There has been a flurry of visits by foreign dignitaries to India in the last few days.

US deputy national security adviser Daleep Singh arrived in India on Wednesday while Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov landed in the capital this evening.

According to the statement by the British High Commission, Truss wants to "counter" Russia's aggression and reduce global strategic dependence on the country ahead of key NATO and G7 meetings next week.

"Deeper ties between Britain and India will boost security in the Indo-Pacific and globally, and create jobs and opportunities in both countries," Truss is quoted as saying in the statement.

"This matters even more in the context of Russia's unprovoked invasion of Ukraine and underlines the need for free democracies to work closer together in areas like defence, trade and cyber security," she said.

The India-UK relationship was elevated to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership during the India-UK virtual summit held between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his British counterpart Boris Johnson in May last year.

In the summit, the two sides adopted a 10-year-roadmap to expand ties in the key areas of trade and economy, defence and security, climate change and people-to-people connections among others.

(With PTI Inputs)

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