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US On India’s Position on the Russo-Ukrainian War: Unsatisfactory But Not Surprising

India has avoided condemning Russia’s actions in Ukraine and abstained in the UN Security Council vote


A senior White House official said on Friday India’s position at the United Nations over the crisis in Ukraine was “unsatisfactory” but also not surprising given its historical ties with Russia.

Mira Rapp-Hooper, Indo-Pacific director at the White House National Security Council, told an online forum hosted by Washington’s School of Advanced International Studies India needed an alternative to continuing close ties with Russia.

“I think we will all certainly acknowledge and agree that when it comes to votes at the UN, India’s stance on the current crisis is unsatisfactory, to say the least. But it is also not surprising,” he said.

India has built close ties with Washington in recent years and is an important part of the Quad group aimed at pushing China away. But it has long -standing ties with Moscow, which remains a major supplier of its defense equipment.

India has avoided condemning Russia’s actions in Ukraine and abstained in a UN Security Council vote on the issue.

Ms Rapp-Hooper said India had split closer to Russia as a hedge when its relations with China deteriorated, but it thought “long and hard” about its defense reliance on Russia.

“I think our perspective is that the way forward involves keeping India close, thinking hard about how to present it with options, so that it can continue to provide its strategic autonomy,” he said.

Even before the Ukraine crisis erupted, Delhi frustrated Washington with the purchase of Russia’s S-400 air defense system, putting it at risk of U.S. sanctions under U.S. law 2017 aimed at preventing the country from buying Russian military equipment.

Analysts said any sanctions against India could jeopardize U.S. cooperation with Delhi in the Quad forum with Japan and Australia aimed at countering China’s growing influence.

Ms Rapp-Hooper said Washington and its allies and partners need to look at their supply chains and think about how they can help countries that may be considering ways to replace Russia’s defense system.

“We have some partners who have chosen to keep their chips with Russia, in terms of their defense turnover. Partly as a hedge against China, but who are now in place to reconsider the wisdom of the decision,” he said.

“Not only do they need to make long -term decisions on how to potentially replace the Russian system in the immediate future, they also need to procure supplies and spare parts to be able to maintain their own army.”


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