India had assured Russia in February that it was trying to ensure that the issue of the Ukraine war is not raised during the Group of 20, or G20, meeting under New Delhi’s presidency even though there would be “considerable pressure” to do so, reported The Washington Post on Saturday.
The newspaper was citing documents containing United States secrets that were leaked online through messaging platform Discord. The leaks show the US assessment of key emerging powers, including India, Brazil, Pakistan and Egypt, that it wants to trade with as well as exposed a number of US government secrets, including spying on allies, the prospects for Ukraine’s war with Russia and the uncertainty of Taiwan’s air defences.
The leaked documents show that the meeting between India’s National Security Adviser Ajit Kumar Doval and his Russian counterpart, Nikolai Patrushev, was held on February 22 during which the Ukraine-Russia war was discussed.
A few days later on February 25, the meeting of finance chiefs of G20 economies ended without a joint statement as China and Russia opposed the inclusion of text criticising the war in Ukraine. Unidentified officials had told Reuters that India had also urged delegates at the meeting to avoid using the word “war” in any official statement.
This came a day after India had abstained from voting on a resolution in the United Nations General Assembly that called for the unconditional withdrawal of Russian troops from Ukraine.
The Washington Post reported that Doval, citing the UN resolution that India abstained from, told Russia that new Delhi “would not deviate from the principled position it had taken in the past.”
Unidentified officials also told the newspaper that India does not support the Russian invasion, pointing to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “now is not an era of war” comment to Russian President Vladimir Putin. However, they say that New Delhi relies on Moscow’s support at the UN and needs to maintain energy and economic ties with the European country.
Another leaked document showed that Hina Rabbani Khar, who is presently Pakistan’s minister of state for foreign affairs, argued in March that her country can “no longer try to maintain a middle ground between China and the United States”, according to The Washington Post.
Following the September 11 twin tower attack in America, Pakistan had received billions of dollars in US economic and security aid following but now relies heavily on China for financial aid and investment.
Another document dated February 17, shows that Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif was advised by his aide that supporting the resolution criticising the war in Ukraine would show that Islamabad was leaning towards the Western powers
Citing the aide’s advice, The Washington Post reported: “Pakistan had the ability to negotiate trade and energy deals with Russia and backing the Western-backed resolution could jeopardize those ties.”
When the UN General Assembly voted on February 23, Pakistan was among the 32 countries that abstained.South Africa is another country that has supported Russia with officials telling US Secretary of State Antony Blinken they would not be bullied into making decisions that don’t suit them, the newspaper reported.
The leaked documents also show that Brazil President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, popularly known just as Lula, wanted to stand up a “world peace bloc” to mediate US and Chinese interests as well as broker an end to the fighting in Ukraine, reported The Washington Post.
Lula had angered member countries of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization by suggesting they are dragging out the Ukraine conflict by supplying arms to Kyiv. He had also proposed that in order to achieve peace, Russia might surrender some of the territory it controls in Ukraine but retain the occupied Crimean peninsula. The prospect was dismissed by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.