Washington, Feb 26 (PTI) India’s relationship with Russia is “distinct” from that the US shares with the latter and that is okay, the Biden administration has said, underlining that Washington has asked every country that has leverage with Moscow to use it to protect the rules-based international order.
Responding to a question on India-US relationship in the context of the Russian-Ukrainian crisis and whether the Ukrainian crisis has strained the bilateral relationship, State Department spokesperson Ned Price said the US shares important interests and values with India. “We share important interests with India. We share important values with India. And we know India has a relationship with Russia that is distinct from the relationship that we have with Russia. Of course, that is okay,” Price told reporters at his daily news conference on Friday.
“India has a relationship with Russia that we certainly don’t have. India and Russia have a relationship, including in the defense and security sector, that we don’t have. And again, we have asked every country that has a relationship, and certainly those countries that have leverage, to use that leverage in a constructive way,” he said. Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a special military operation in Ukraine on Thursday. Russia has launched multiple attacks on several areas in central and eastern Ukraine, drawing widespread condemnation and sanctions from several countries, including the US.
The US, Price said, has a broad strategic partnership with India. “As you know, we had an opportunity to see our Indian counterpart Foreign Minister Jaishankar in Australia just the other day when we were in the Indo-Pacific for a meeting of the Quad,” he said. “What we have done, including in the context of the bilateral discussion we had with Foreign Minister Jaishankar in Melbourne, was to share our fervent belief that countries around the world, especially those countries that have a level of influence, of clout, of leverage with the Russian Federation, needed to use that to good effect, needed to use that to protect the rules-based international order,” he said.
Russia has been a longstanding and time-tested partner for India. In December 2010, the bilateral Strategic Partnership was elevated to the level of Special and Privileged Strategic Partnership. At the same time, India’s strategic and defence partnership with the US has grown at an unprecedented pace over the last decade and a half.
Responding to another question on Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s maiden visit to Moscow this week and his talks with President Vladimir Putin, Price said that the US has communicated to Pakistan its position on what was then the threat of a Russian invasion and what is now the ongoing Russian “invasion” of Ukraine.
Putin met Khan in the Kremlin on Thursday in his first face-to-face talks since the start of the special Russian military operation in eastern Ukraine and the two leaders discussed the main aspects of bilateral cooperation and exchanged views on current regional topics, including developments in South Asia. Asked if the US saw any realignment of forces as a result of Khan’s visit to Russia, the State Department spokesperson said, “Well, I will leave it to our Pakistani partners to speak to their position on this.”
“What I can say is that we communicated to Pakistan our position on what was then the threat of a Russian invasion and what is now the ongoing Russian invasion against Ukraine. Just as India does, Pakistan knows precisely where we stand on this. These are, again, rules, norms, guidelines that benefit India, Pakistan, the United States, and Russia as well.