During his visit, Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov is expected to discuss a rouble-rupee payment mechanism for trade with India that is meant to beat Western sanctions.
Singh said sanctions on Russia will restrict its ability to supply military equipment to India, affecting the latter’s defence preparedness, and that the US is ready to help India diversify its energy and defence sources even if that’s going to be a long process. The official further claimed Russia will not come to India’s rescue at the LAC given Moscow’s growing reliance on China.
Singh spoke to reporters after his meetings with senior Indian officials from the Prime Minister’s Office and several ministries, including the foreign ministry, and said the US does not want to see “rapid acceleration” of India’s energy imports from Russia. “Friends don’t set red lines. We should share an interest in reducing our reliance on an unreliable energy supplier. And while we understand that will take time, we would not like to see any attempt to take advantage of the situation to rapidly increase energy supplies at cross purposes with the strategic objectives of this sanctions regime,” said Singh, responding to a query from TOI on whether or not there was a red line that the US didn’t want India to cross while importing oil from Russia.
“I came here in the spirit of friendship to explain the mechanism of our sanctions and the importance of joining us to express shared resolve and to advance shared interests. And yes, there are consequences for countries that seek to circumvent these sanctions,” he said, adding that the US is very keen that all countries, particularly allies and partners, do not create mechanisms that prop up Russia’s currency and undermine the dollarbased financial system.
Ukraine crisis live updates
The US official also said Russia’s further deepening of ties with China, as a fallout of the Ukraine crisis, will have implications for India and the Indo-Pacific where China remains a “strategic threat”. “No one should kid themselves. Russia will be the junior partner and the more leverage China gains over Russia, the less favourable it is for India. I don’t think anyone believes that if China breaches the LAC again, Russia would come running to India’s defence,” said Singh.