Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby on Friday said that the United States has advised India against relying on Russia for its defence requirements, PTI reported.

“We have been very clear with India as well as other nations that we don’t want to see them rely on Russia for defence needs,” Kirby said at a press conference, reported PTI. “We have been nothing but honest about that and discouraging that.”

Kirby also reiterated that the United States valued its defence partnership with India, adding that Washington recognised the fact that India is a “provider of security” in the South Asian region, PTI reported.

Kirby’s comment came hours after US State Department Counsellor Derek Chollet on Friday said that the relations between New Delhi and Washington had not worsened due to the Ukraine war. He also said that the US, and not Russia, would continue to be a reliable partner to India after the war.

Earlier this month, Kirby had said that the United States was working towards deepening its defence partnership with India.

“India is an important partner in the Indo-Pacific region, and we’re going to continue to look for ways to improve that partnership,” he had said.