Not seeking to change India-Russia ties: US on Lavrov's visit
Every country has its relationship with Russia and the United States doesn't seek to change that, US State Department spokesperson Ned Price said on Thursday. The statement came at a time when Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov is on a two-day official visit to India amid the Russia-Ukraine war. Lavrov will meet with External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and PM Narendra Modi on Friday.
- India's stance towards Russia has been the subject of global scrutiny and debate as India has not condemned Russian aggression in Ukraine but has instead called for a ceasefire.
- The US commerce secretary has called the Russian foreign minister's New Delhi visit "deeply disappointing."
- The US also warned India against increasing its Russian oil imports, claiming it could put New Delhi at great risk.
"Different countries are going to have their own relationship with the Russian Federation. It's a fact of history. It's a fact of geography. That's not something...we are seeking to change," Price said during a press conference. "What we are seeking to do, whether it's in the context of India or other partners...[is] to see to it...the international community is speaking in unison," Price added.
However, Price continued, "Speaking loudly against this unjustified, unprovoked, premeditated aggression, calling for an end to the violence, using the leverage that countries, including India, have to those ends." "There are countries that by dint of their long-standing relationships with the Russian Federation are going to have in some ways even more leverage than countries closer to us will," he added.
When asked about India working out a rupee-ruble conversion for trade, Price said, "I would refer to our Indian partners when it comes to any such rupee-ruble conversion that may have been discussed." He also invoked the principles of the QUAD—of which India is a member—that "transcend(s) any geographic region." It is not in anyone's interest to flout "rules-based international order," he further asserted.
Highlighting the QUAD's importance, Price said, "One of the core principles of the QUAD is the idea of a free and open Indo-Pacific...These are ideals that transcend any geographic region." "It's not in our interest. It's not in Japan's, Australia's, or India's interest to see flagrant examples of countries whether in Europe...the Indo-Pacific...anywhere in between, of countries flouting, violating rules-based international order," he added.