US in consultations with India on Ukraine situation; says Biden
WASHINGTON: US President Joe Biden, while addressing the nation on Thursday, said that the US is in consultations with India over the Russia-Ukraine crisis.
Replying to the questions whether India is with the US over the Ukraine crisis, Biden said, “We are in consultation with India today, we haven’t resolved that completely.” Earlier today, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged an end to violence in Ukraine during a call with Russian President Vladimir Putin, the Indian government said in a statement on Thursday.
“(The) Prime Minister appealed for an immediate cessation of violence and called for concerted efforts from all sides to return to the path of diplomatic negotiations and dialogue,” the government said.
In an appeal to India, Ukrainian diplomat Igor Polikha has asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to tell Russian President Vladimir Putin to stop any more military adventure.
Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla on Thursday said India will wait to see the final shape of the UN Security Council resolution on the Ukraine situation before taking a position.
“The possibility of UNSC resolution that would be tabled on the evolving situation, we have seen a draft resolution. I am told that would undergo considerable changes. We will wait to see the shape that this resolution takes before we can pronounce ourselves in the position that we will take on this issue,” Shringla said at a media briefing here in response to a media query. He said it is an evolving situation both on the ground and in the United Nations.
Phone conversation with Vladimir Putin
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday held a telephone conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin on the Ukraine situation and appealed for an immediate cessation of violence while stressing on concerted efforts from all sides to return to the path of diplomatic negotiations.
According to Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), President Putin briefed the Prime Minister about the recent developments regarding Ukraine. Prime Minister reiterated his long-standing conviction that the differences between Russia and the NATO group can only be resolved through honest and sincere dialogue.
“The Prime Minister appealed for an immediate cessation of violence, and called for concerted efforts from all sides to return to the path of diplomatic negotiations and dialogue,” PMO said.
Prime Minister also sensitised the Russian President about India’s concerns regarding the safety of the Indian citizens in Ukraine, especially students, and conveyed that India attaches the highest priority to their safe exit and return to India.
The leaders agreed that their officials and diplomatic teams would continue to maintain regular contacts on issues of topical interest.
Earlier today, Putin said special military operations are being launched “to protect” the people in the Donbas region. He also warned other countries that any attempt to interfere with the Russian action would lead to “consequences”.
Leaders from a number of countries including the UK, the US, Canada, and the European Union have condemned Russia’s military operations in the Donbas region.
Blinken talks with Jaishankar
In a statement, the US State Department said US Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke with Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam 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”.
In a tweet, Jaishankar said he discussed the implications of developments in Ukraine with Blinken, without disclosing further details about the call.
Jaishankar also said he had spoken to his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov and “underlined that dialogue and diplomacy are the best way forward”.
Washington upset over defence purchase
It is stated that Delhi has upset Washington with its purchase of Russia’s S-400 air defence system, putting it at risk of US sanctions under a 2017 US law aimed at deterring countries from buying Russian military hardware.
In December, Russia and India signed more trade and arms deals during a visit by Russian President Vladimir Putin, including one that will see India produce more than 600,000 Kalashnikov assault rifles.
While there have been calls in Congress to exempt India from sanctions, some analysts say Russia’s actions in Ukraine could bring increased pressure for sanctions from Russia hawks in the administration.
Any sanctions could jeopardise US cooperation with Delhi in the Quad forum with Japan and Australia aimed at pushing back against China’s expanding influence.
The White House did not immediately respond when asked to elaborate on Biden’s comment and a State Department spokesperson said: “We are continuing to consult with our Indian counterparts on a collective response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.”
Biden says talks on Russia ‘unresolved’
According news sources, the United States President Joe Biden said on Thursday Washington is in still unresolved “consultations” with India, when asked if Washington and Delhi were fully in sync on a response to Russia’s attack on Ukraine ahead of an expected United Nations Security Council vote.
Biden did not elaborate, but his short response to a question at a briefing at which he announced tough new sanctions on Russia over Ukraine drew attention to an awkward division between his administration and India, a country central to its efforts to push back against China’s growing power.
India has developed close ties with Washington in recent years but has a long-standing close relationship with Moscow, which remains a major supplier of its defence equipment.
The 15-member United Nations Security Council, of which India is a member, is likely to vote on Friday on a draft resolution that would condemn Russia for invading Ukraine and require Moscow to immediately and unconditionally withdraw, a senior US administration official said.
Russia is expected to veto the step, but Washington sees the vote as a chance to try and isolate Moscow, seeking at least 13 votes in favour and an abstention by Russia’s partner — China.
Biden said Putin would be a pariah on the international stage as a result of his attack on Ukraine and “any nation that countenances Russia’s naked aggression against Ukraine will be stained by association.” Asked if India was fully in sync with the United States, he said: “We’re in consultation with India today. We haven’t resolved that completely.” (ANI, news agencies)