London is ‘very disappointed’ by how unwilling India is in imposing sanctions on Russia and Biden has decided to send the sanctions czar to India.
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The White House stated on Tuesday that a senior US national security official, who played a key role in developing US economic sanctions against Russia in response to its military assault on Ukraine, will travel to India to discuss New Delhi’s response. As part of Washington’s pressure on allies to implement harsher measures against Moscow, National Security Council spokesperson Emily Horne said the two sides would reassess their economic relations.
Daleep Singh, the deputy national security adviser for international economics, will meet with officials this week to “advance a range of issues in the US-India economic relationship and strategic partnership,” according to Horne.
“Singh will consult closely with counterparts on the consequences of Russia’s unjustified war against Ukraine and mitigating its impact on the global economy” she stated, adding that the adviser would also discuss the “development of an Indo-Pacific Economic Framework.”
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The talks in New Delhi take place as the US and some of its major allies urge India to join the punishing sanctions campaign against Russia. So far, it has refused to cooperate, even declining to vote at the United Nations to condemn the attack.
India and Russia have a long history of commercial and social relations stretching back to the Soviet era. New Delhi is also concerned about the implications of Moscow’s tighter ties with China, and how this would change Asia’s power balance.
This could explain why, earlier this month, the Indian side agreed to buy Russian oil at a discount, a popular move in the West. Despite calls for a stop to the bloodshed in Ukraine and for a diplomatic resolution of the crisis, Ukraine has refused to move on demands for tougher sanctions against Russia.
On Thursday, UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss will go to India to address “bilateral, regional, and global issues of mutual interest” with Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar. She has previously advocated for a “closer economic and defence relationship” with India, claiming that India has “some level of dependence on Russia.”
According to the Hindustan Times, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will meet with his Indian counterpart later this month after a two-day stay in China. Beijing, like India, has taken a neutral posture on the Ukraine conflict, refusing to blame Russia while urging both sides to end the bloodshed.
US President Joe Biden said New Delhi’s response to Russia was “somewhat shaky,” applauding other allies’ “extremely strong” responses, such as Japan and Australia, while UK Trade Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan said London is “very disappointed” by India’s refusal to implement sanctions.
Since its independence in 1947, India has pursued a policy of neutrality, maintaining connections with both the Soviet Union and the West throughout the Cold War and retaining friendly relations with Moscow since then. India has a particularly tight military relationship with Russia, as the latter’s main arms buyer, while it also participates in joint military drills with the US and other Western nations on a regular basis.