United States’ Pentagon warns India against defense deals with Russia
US Pentagon has discouraged India from relying on Russia for defense needs
It also expressed the United States' willingness in partnering with India for the same
This follows the Biden administration's request that India quit its non-alignment and align with the United States.
Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby, in a press conference in Washington on Friday said, "We've been very clear with India as well as other nations that we don't want to see them rely on Russia for defense needs. We've been nothing but honest about that and discouraging that.”
"At the same time, we also value the defense partnership that we have with India. And as was evidenced a week ago, we're looking at ways to improve that going forward. That's going to continue because it matters and it's important.” He added.
Despite being warned of inviting US sanctions, by the then Trump administration, India had signed a USD 5 billion deal with Russia in 2018, to buy five units of the S-400 Triumf air defence missile systems to strengthen its air defence.
The United States' stance to forging deals with Russia has become even more uncompromising since it invaded Ukraine in February this year. Numerous sanctions have been imposed on Russia in an attempt to isolate the country for its ongoing onslaught on Ukraine and to deter future aggression.
On Thursday, US State Department Counsellor Derek conveyed the Biden administration’s eagerness in partnering with India as it diversifies its defense capabilities and suppliers.
India’s military dependence on Russia has gained paramount importance in the wake of Russia’s invasion in Ukraine. In fact, New Delhi is also buying oil from Russia at discounted rates despite rising prices, owing to the war. The US has stated that it has no objection to India purchasing Russian oil.
The Pentagon's remarks come against the backdrop of those in the Biden administration already expressing a desire for India to abandon its historic non-alignment and move away from Moscow, for a more fruitful relationship with Washington. US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman brought up the issue ahead of the 2+2 talks which took place, but New Delhi, for now, has decided to continue on its current path of foreign policy in dealing with the US and Russia.