US State Department Counsellor Derek Chollet on Friday said the relations between New Delhi and Washington had not worsened due to the Ukraine war, PTI reported.

“Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has not impacted the relationship between the US and India,” he said. “The US-India relationship is deep, it’s strong.”

Chollet, a top advisor to US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, said that his country, and not Russia, would continue to be a reliable partner to India after the war.

“I think there are real doubts about Russia’s ability to be a reliable partner [to India] for the foreseeable future,” he said, according to PTI. “Because Russia is burning through a tremendous amount of its own military equipment. So, it faces urgent resupply needs of its own.”

Chollet’s comments come against the backdrop of India procuring S-400 missile equipment from Russia. Earlier this month, US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin had said that purchasing Russian military equipment was not in New Delhi’s best interest.

However, on Friday, Chollet said US understood that India had a long-standing defence relationship with Moscow.

“It is important to note that from our perspective we see that the defence relationship [between India and Russia] in a way started and flourished at a time when the United States was not available as a partner to India,” Chollet said, PTI reported. “Obviously, we are in a much different moment right now.”

The US diplomat added that the Joe Biden administration was eager to work with India if it wanted to diversify its defence capabilities and suppliers.

“We very much want to be part of that,” Chollet told PTI. “We are doing much more than we have ever done in the history of our relationship together in terms of defence. And so, as India is seeking to acquire new capabilities, the United States very much wants to be a partner with India in that effort.”