US says India should use influence with Russia to call on Moscow for aggression

WASHINGTON: Biden administration calls on New Delhi to use its “leverage” with Moscow to denounce Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, while affirming that the principles underpinning Quad – an international order rule-based – are universal.
Amid a flurry of foreign office visits to the Indian capital, including that of US Deputy National Secretary Daleep Singh and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, the State Department acknowledged the right of the India has close ties with Russia, while suggesting that is precisely why it could use its leveraging of the relationship to get Moscow to back off its aggression against Ukraine.
“Different countries are going to have their own relationship with the Russian Federation. It’s a historical fact. It’s a geographical fact. It’s not something we’re looking to change… What we’re looking to do, whether it is in the context of India or other partners and allies around the world… (it is to) speak loud and clear against this unwarranted, unprovoked and premeditated aggression, calling for an end to the violence, using the influence that countries, including India, have for these purposes,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said.
It was not the first time U.S. officials expressed understanding of India’s ties to Russia and left some slack in New Delhi while seeking more cohesion by urging Moscow to roll back its invasion.
“There are countries which, thanks to their long-standing relationship with the Russian Federation, will in some respects carry even more weight than countries closer to us,” Price added.
The comments came shortly before Lavrov’s talks with Indian Foreign Minister S. Jaishankar and his appeal to Prime Minister Modi, engagements that have drawn widespread attention in US political circles.
While India’s statement at the end of the talks expressed its implicit disapproval of Russia’s invasion, calling as it did for respect for international law, the UN charter and the territorial integrity of States, among other things, Washington also withheld criticism of the rupee-ruble trade proposals, despite warnings from a visiting US official that there would be “consequences”.
Amid the Indian commentator’s scathing criticism of the US NSA deputy’s ‘consequences’ remarks and his view that Russia would not come to India’s aid in the event of Chinese aggression, the White House maintained that he had good productive discussions in New Delhi.
However, the differences between the two sides were evident in Price’s remarks on India’s position in the Quad, where New Delhi opposes the broad mandate the United States, Japan and Australia are now seeking.
“With regard to the Quad, one of the fundamental principles of the Quad is the idea of ​​a free and open Indo-Pacific. It is specific in this context to the Indo-Pacific. But these are principles, these are ideals that transcend any geographic region,” Price said, adding that part of the reason these four countries have come together is “we have a global interest in a free, open world order, in which countries big and small play by the rules.”
“So it’s not in our interest. It’s not in Japan’s interest. It’s not in Australia’s interest or it’s not in India’s interest. to see egregious examples of countries, whether it’s in Europe, whether it’s the Indo-Pacific, whether it’s anywhere in between, egregious examples of countries flouting, violating this rules-based international order” , added Price.