US 'deeply concerned' over China's loans to Pakistan, Sri Lanka
Ahead of United States (US) Secretary of State Antony Blinken's three-day India visit for the G20 Foreign Ministers' Meeting in New Delhi, the US expressed grave concern over China's loans to India's immediate neighbors, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Donald Lu, the US's Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia, told reporters that these loans could also be used for "coercive leverage."
Why does this story matter?
Tensions between China and the United States have risen lately following allegations that the former sent "spy" balloons to monitor sensitive nuclear weapons sites in the US. Furthermore, Sino-Indian relations have also deteriorated as the two countries compete to build infrastructure along the Line of Actual Control. Against this backdrop, Lu said India and the US have also had a serious talk about China.
Talking to India, other countries regarding Chinese loans
"We are talking to India, talking to countries of the region about how we help countries to make their own decisions and not decisions that might be compelled by any outside partner, including China," Lu told reporters at a press briefing.
Chinese bank approved $700 million to Pakistan earlier
Pakistan, which is still waiting for an additional $1.1 billion in funding from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) as part of a $6.5 billion bailout agreement signed in 2019, has received the approval for a $700 million credit facility. Pakistani Finance Minister Ishaq Dar announced earlier on Friday that this loan had been granted by the board of the China Development Bank (CDB).
US on India's military relationship with Russia
When asked about India's military ties with Russia, Lu stated that Russia has been having a difficult time fulfilling orders for defense contracts globally. "We see plenty of evidence of that around the world. And if you look at press reporting, I think you can see the Indians are also wondering whether Russia will be able to provide for its defenses," he said.
India, China abstained from UN vote on 'peace'
The question about India's relationship with Russia was directed at Lu in the aftermath of India and China's decision to abstain from voting on a United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) resolution. The resolution demanded Russia's immediate withdrawal from Ukraine and the establishment of "lasting peace" in the country. India, however, abstained from voting, citing the resolution's "inherent limitations" as the reason.
Lu refutes allegations India doesn't use word 'war' with Russia
Lu denied claims that India doesn't use the word "war" when referring to the Russia-Ukraine crisis. "You heard Prime Minister [Narendra Modi] say, in August, now is not the era for war. You heard External Affairs Minister Jaishankar say in September...we need this war to end through diplomatic means and along the principles of the UN Charter, reinforcing territorial integrity and sovereignty," he said.
Blinken's India visit to focus on strengthening multilateralism
Meanwhile, Blinken will visit Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and India between Tuesday (February 28) and March 3. On March 1, he will reach New Delhi; his trip will focus on "strengthening multilateralism and deepening cooperation on food and energy security, sustainable development, counter-narcotics, global health, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, and gender equality and women's empowerment." He will also meet Indian government officials and civil society.Share this timeline