Biden to speak to Modi as US warns India on imports from Russia

FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Joe Biden responds to a question from a reporter after speaking about coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccines and booster shots in the State Dining Room at the White House in Washington, U.S., September 24, 2021. REUTERS/Evelyn Hockstein/File Photo

The White House announced that President Joe Biden will meet digitally with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday, at a time when the US has made it clear that it does not want India to increase its imports of Russian energy.

“President Biden will continue our close conversations on the repercussions of Russia’s barbaric assault against Ukraine and reducing its destabilizing impact on global food supply and commodity markets,” said White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki in a statement on Sunday.

In a recent visit to India, Daleep Singh, the US Deputy National Security Adviser for International Economics, stated that the US will not establish any “red lines” for India on its energy imports from Russia, but does not want to see a “rapid acceleration” in purchases.

India has purchased at least 13 million barrels of Russian crude oil since the country invaded Ukraine in late February, enticed by substantial discounts following Western sanctions on Russian firms. According to figures collated by Reuters, this compares to around 16 million barrels for the entire previous year.

The “US-India 2+2 Ministerial” meeting with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, India External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, and India Defense Minister Rajnath Singh will take place before this meeting, according to the White House.

Biden, who last spoke with Modi in March, reportedly stated that among the Quad countries, only India was “slightly unsteady” in its response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The South Asian nation has attempted to strike a balance between its connections with Russia and the West, but it has not imposed sanctions on Russia, unlike the other members of the Quad – the United States, Japan, and Australia.

Despite increased purchases from the United States in the last decade, Russia has long been India’s largest supplier of defence equipment. According to defence specialists, Russian supplies are more cost-effective and essential for India, which is up against a superior Chinese military.

During his visit, Daleep Singh stated that the US was willing to assist India in diversifying its energy and defence suppliers. India is the third-largest oil importer and consumer in the world.

He also warned that the US does not want its allies to assist in resurrecting the rouble, which plummeted after the war began but has since recovered.

As it prepares for a major Russian onslaught in the country’s east, Ukraine announced on Sunday that it is seeking another round of European Union sanctions against Moscow as well as more military aid from its allies. find out more

Since its invasion on February 24, Russia has failed to conquer any major cities, but Ukraine claims it has been assembling forces in the east in preparation for a major attack and has urged residents to escape.

Ukraine and Western countries have accused Moscow of war crimes, which Moscow has denied. It has denied that people are being targeted as part of a “special operation” to demilitarise and “denazify” its southern neighbour. This has been criticised by Ukraine and Western nations as a spurious excuse for war.

Ending the Covid-19 pandemic, combating the climate crisis, strengthening the global economy, and supporting a free, open, rules-based international order to bolster security, democracy, and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific are among the topics Biden and Modi will discuss. Psaki explained.

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