Sunak to urge Modi to join West-driven anti-Russia alignment
The UK government seems fed up with the fact that India insists on maintaining a neutral stance.
Rishi Sunak will meet with Narendra Modi in Delhi this weekend to discuss a range of issues, including a potential free trade agreement, The Guardian reported on Friday.
Sunak is also expected to use the meeting to urge Modi to take a tougher stance against Russia, given that India continues to import Russian oil.
Downing Street said Sunak would "raise the issue of the relationship between Delhi and Moscow" during the meeting.
The UK government is concerned that India's continued imports of Russian oil are helping to fund Russia's efforts in its special military operation in Ukraine, The Guardian stated.
Modi has been reluctant to condemn Russia's military operation in Ukraine, and he has not imposed sanctions on Russia.
He even said India has a "long-standing relationship" with Russia and that he wants to maintain a neutral stance in the conflict.
It is unclear how receptive Modi will be to Sunak's calling. However, the UK government is hoping that the meeting will help to persuade India to take a more critical stance against Russia.
In a statement, Sunak said, "Once again, Vladimir Putin is failing to show his face at the G20. He is the architect of his own diplomatic exile, isolating himself in his presidential palace and blocking out criticism and reality."
"The rest of the G20, meanwhile, are demonstrating that we will turn up and work together to pick up the pieces of Putin’s destruction."
A Downing Street spokesperson added, "India of course has a vital role to play, as the world’s largest democracy, in calling out Russia’s assault on human rights and indeed democracy itself. We will use meetings with Modi or elsewhere to encourage them to use their influence to bring an end to the brutal invasion."
Sunak is hoping to persuade G20 leaders at the summit to condemn Russia's withdrawal from the Black Sea grain initiative, which was an agreement between Russia, Ukraine, and Turkey that allowed Ukrainian food supplies to be exported.
Russia refused to renew the deal in July after it found that most of the deliveries were made to well-fed Europe instead of those most in need and that Moscow's terms in the deal were not met.
Sunak plans to use the summit's platform to argue that Russia's decision to block Ukrainian grain exports has contributed to rising global inflation and is harming the world's poorest people.
Sunak spoke to Volodymyr Zelensky on Thursday. Downing Street later said the Prime Minister had pledged to work with other G20 countries "on circumventing Russia’s blockade and ensuring vulnerable countries can access vital grain shipments."