US senior national security official cautions India against violating sanctions on Russia
Daleep Singh also warned India against expecting Russia to come to the country’s defence if China were to violate the Line of Actual Control.
Countries that attempt to circumvent the sanctions imposed on Russia will face consequences, United States Deputy National Security Advisor for International Economics Daleep Singh said on Thursday in New Delhi, reported The Hindu.
“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,” Singh, the chief architect of the sanctions imposed on Russia, told reporters.
His warning for countries, including India, came hours ahead of Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s landed in Delhi.
The prospects of India buying discounted Russian crude oil is expected to be on the agenda during Lavrov’s visit. On March 16, the Indian government had said it was exploring options to buy Russian crude oil as its prices have tumbled to the lowest amid the Ukrainian conflict.
The discussions with Lavrov could also feature formulating a rupee-ruble payment mechanism for bilateral trade between India and Russia amid sanctions against Moscow by Western nations. India is also likely to discuss about the timely delivery of the military equipment and components of the S-400 missile system by Moscow.
On Thursday, Singh clarified that India’s current import of Russian energy does not violate any sanctions, reported The Indian Express.
However, he added: “We would not like to see anyone taking advantage of the situation to rapidly increase energy supplies at cross purposes with our strategic objectives in the sanctions regime.”
When asked about the consequences, Singh said that he would like to keep such discussions with the government private.
The US official also warned that Russia would not help India if China made incursions along the Line of Actual Control again.
“No one should kid themselves – Russia is going to be the junior partner in this relationship with China,” he said. “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, Russia would come running in India’s defence.”
India and China have been locked in a border standoff since their troops clashed in Galwan Valley in eastern Ladakh in June 2020. Twenty Indian soldiers were killed in the clash. China had put the number of casualties on its side at four.
Meanwhile, the White House said that Singh held “really good discussions” with his Indian counterparts in Delhi.
On Lavrov’s visit to India, State Department spokesperson Ned Price said that every country has their own relationship with Russia, reported PTI.
“That is not something that we are seeking to change,” he told reporters. “What we are seeking to do, whether it is in the context of India or other partners and allies around the world, is to do all we can to see to it that the international community is speaking in unison.”
He said that countries, including India, that have long-standing relationship with Russia can leverage their ties to urge President Vladimir Putin to end to violence in Ukraine.
India has so far abstained on a series of United Nations votes condemning the Russia invasion of Ukraine. It has only called for an immediate ceasefire in Ukraine.
On March 21, United States President Joe Biden had said that India’s response to the Russian attack on Ukraine has been “somewhat shaky”.