The US President was speaking at a press briefing where he announced further sanctions on Russia for invading Ukraine.
US President Joe Biden has said “consultations” India is still unresolved with regards to India’s stand on Russia’s attack on Ukraine. He was speaking at a press briefing ahead of a crucial United Nations Security Council (UNSC) vote where he announced further tough sanctions on Moscow.
When a reporter asked whether India was fully in sync with the US on Russia, Joe Biden replied, “We’re in consultation with India today. We haven’t resolved that completely.”
India is a member of the 15-member UNSC and is expected to vote on Friday on a draft resolution condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and its unconditional withdrawal from Ukrainian territory.
Although Biden did not elaborate, it was quite evident from his short response that there could be an awkward divide between US and India on the issue of support to Russia. US has been counting on the India-US alliance to counter China’s growing power in South Asia.
At the UN emergency meeting, India only mentioned about the escalation of tension between the two European nations and called on all parties to exercise “utmost restraint”. This strategy by India has been appreciated by Moscow as Roman Babushkin, Russian chargé d’affaires declared India’s approach to be ‘independent and balanced’.
“We welcome the independent position India has taken in the UN Security Council twice already [and] which was expressed openly by the Indian external affairs minister and other officials,” said Babushkin, adding, “India’s stance at the Security Council reflects our special and privileged strategic partnership and fully corresponds to Indian aspirations to enhance its status in global affairs.”
Political commentators have watched India develop close ties with Washington in recent years but are also aware of its long-standing close relationship with Moscow, which continues to be India’s major arms supplier.
Russia is expected to veto the resolution tabled at the UNSC on Friday, but Washington would be hoping to isolate Moscow with 13 votes in favour and abstention by Russia and China. India has not voiced any outright condemnation of Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken had talked with Indian Foreign Minister S. Jaishankar on Thursday and “stressed the importance of a strong collective response to condemn Russia’s invasion and call for an immediate withdrawal and ceasefire.”
Jaishankar has also tweeted that he had spoken to his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov and “underlined that dialogue and diplomacy are the best way forward.”
India has recently purchased Russia’s S-400 air defence system overriding US Sanctions framed in 2017 that aimed to deter countries from purchasing Russian Military equipment. In December 2021 during Russian President Vladimir Putin’s India visit, the two countries announced that they have signed a program of cooperation in the field of defence for the next ten years, from 2021 to 2031.