President Joe Biden will meet virtually with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday, the White House said, at a time when the United States has made clear it does not want to see an uptick in Russian energy imports by India.
“President Biden will continue our close consultations on the consequences of Russia’s brutal war against Ukraine and mitigating its destabilizing impact on global food supply and commodity markets,” Press Secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement on Sunday.
Lured by steep discounts following Western sanctions on Russian entities, India has bought at least 13 million barrels of Russian crude oil since the country invaded Ukraine in late February. That compared with some 16 million barrels for the whole of last year, data compiled by Reuters shows.
This meeting will precede the “U.S.-India 2+2 Ministerial” meeting between U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, India External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar and India Defense Minister Rajnath Singh, the White House said.
Biden, who last spoke to Modi in March, recently said that only India among the Quad group of countries was “somewhat shaky” in acting against Russia over its 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.
Russia has long been India’s largest supplier of defense equipment despite increased purchases from the US in the past decade. According to Defence analysts, Russian supplies are more cost-effective and vital for India as it faces a superior Chinese military.
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.