US, India discuss Ukraine, Russian energy imports
While US President Joe Biden tries to boost relationships with India through cooperation on technology, clean energy, and military levels, it offers alternatives just to pull New Delhi away from Russia.
On Monday, the White House stated that in light of the inauguration of the fourth US-India 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue, US President Joe Biden discussed the situation in Ukraine with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
"The two Leaders... discussed the destabilizing impacts of Russia’s war against Ukraine, with a particular focus on global food supply. President Biden and Prime Minister Modi looked forward to meeting in person later this spring, in Tokyo, for the Quad summit," the statement read.
Biden and Modi stressed their commitment to boosting bilateral relationships through the cooperation on technology, military cooperation, and clean energy.
"They also committed to continue cooperation - bilaterally and multilaterally - on ending the COVID-19 pandemic, strengthening global health security, advancing global food security, and ensuring a free and open Indo-Pacific. They emphasized their shared commitment, as leaders of the world’s largest democracies, to respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all nations in the Indo-Pacific and beyond," the statement added.
Prime Minister Modi expressed his concern over the situation in Ukraine where more than 20,000 Indians, the majority of which are young students, had been trapped until a few weeks ago. He said he held phone calls with the presidents of Ukraine and Russia during which he appealed for peace and suggested direct talks.
"The news of the recent killings of innocent civilians in Bucha city was very worrying. We condemned it immediately and have also demanded a fair probe. We hope that the ongoing dialogue between Russia and Ukraine will pave the way for peace," he said.
US pulling India away from Russia
Meanwhile, a senior Biden administration official said that the US does not support India's increasing imports of Russian energy products and Washington is ready to help the country diversify its energy imports.
Joe Biden's top economic advisor said last week that the US administration has "warned" India against aligning itself with Russia, and US officials said they have been disappointed with India's approach to the Ukraine situation.
“There are certainly areas where we have been disappointed by both China and India’s decisions, in the context of the invasion,” the director of the White House National Economic Council, Brian Deese, told reporters at a breakfast last Wednesday hosted by the Christian Science Monitor.
The US warned India, saying that the consequences of a "more explicit strategic alignment" with Russia would be "significant and long-term."
India did not follow the West in the latter's economic sanctions against Russia, declining to sanction Moscow and continuing to import Russian oil.