U.S., India Leaders Discuss Russia’s War, China Tensions, South Asia Unrest

The heads of the United States and India have held a digital assembly to debate international developments, together with Russia’s battle in opposition to neighboring Ukraine, a border dispute with China and political upheaval in Pakistan.

U.S. President Joe Biden and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke by way of video hyperlink on Monday, with Biden accompanied by Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and nationwide safety adviser Jake Sullivan from his cupboard, in addition to Indian External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar and Defense Minister Rajnath Singh, amongst others.

The wide-ranging dialogue was stated to have touched upon joint efforts in opposition to COVID-19, rising protection and technological cooperation, in addition to “a whole range of issues related to Russia and Ukraine” because the battle launched on February 24 by Russian President Vladimir Putin rages on.

Upon the talks’ conclusion, a senior Biden administration official referred to Washington’s partnership with New Delhi as “one of our most important relationships” and described a “long, very candid conversation to discuss a range of bilateral and global issues” between the 2 males.

Unlike the U.S. and a variety of its allies, India has not outright condemned Russia and has as a substitute opted to stay impartial as New Delhi counted Moscow as one in every of its prime strategic companions. Asked by a reporter if the White House sought to safe a dedication from Modi to not buy Russian oil, the senior administration official stated “we haven’t asked India to do anything in particular,” noting the comparatively low stage of vitality commerce between the 2.

Biden, Modi, US, India, virtual, meeting, April
India has maintained a impartial stance up to now in Russia’s battle in opposition to Ukraine. Above, U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin (L), U.S. President Joe Biden, Indian Minister of Defense Rajnath Singh and Indian External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar pay attention as Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (on display) speaks throughout a digital assembly on the White House on April 11, 2022.
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

“That said,” they added, “we don’t think India should accelerate or increase imports of Russian energy and the U.S. is ready to support India, remain in conversation with India about its diversification of imports.”

But as India retains its non-aligned place on the battle, abstaining from United Nations measures concentrating on Russia, the official stated that “India’s going to make its own judgments” and that conversations would proceed on “how to mitigate the destabilizing impacts of Putin’s war, including on food supply, where India is in a position to assist…and there were discussions about what more India might be able to do.”

The senior administration official did, nevertheless, trace at a level of concern expressed by Modi, particularly in terms of Russia’s shut relationship with China, a rival of India that has additionally taken a impartial place on the battle in Ukraine, and stated: “Prime Minister Modi took the opportunity to share his views in a pretty candid way about what’s going on.”

“We know that India has concerns about the links between Russia and China,” they stated. “India, of course, is facing a very tense situation along the Line of Actual Control and when India sees the tight links between China and Russia, that’s obviously going to impact their thinking.”

The Line of Actual Control (LAC) marks the frontline of a long-running territorial dispute between China and India, which fought a lethal month-long battle over the Himalayan border area half a century in the past and engaged in one other lethal collection of clashes in 2020. Washington has backed New Delhi on the dispute in recent times as a part of a broader marketing campaign to forged Beijing as an aggressive rising energy.

Last month, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi made his first go to to India since their newest spat in a bid to deescalate tensions between the 2 international locations and doubtlessly enhance relations. During the journey, the highest Chinese diplomat provided a three-point method that would come with viewing bilateral relations “from a long-term perspective,” viewing each other’s growth “with a win-win mentality” and collaborating in “multilateral processes with a cooperative posture.”

After assembly along with his Chinese counterpart, nevertheless, Jaishankar stated the connection between the 2 nations was “not normal” given the sizable troop deployments on the border area.

India has additionally witnessed unrest throughout its different disputed border, the Line of Control, with Pakistan. The nuclear-armed South Asian rival neighbors have fought 4 wars since their partition and independence from the United Kingdom, largely over the divided Kashmir border area.

But Pakistan, a detailed companion of China, has undergone inside unrest of its personal as Prime Minister Imran Khan was ousted from energy Saturday following a no-confidence vote by the parliament in Islamabad. The senior administration official stated that Biden and Modi “did discuss developments in the region in South Asia” on Monday, particularly mentioning Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, two different regional states which have grown near China.

Hours earlier than the U.S.-India assembly, Pakistani lawmakers chosen opposition chief Shehbaz Sharif to steer the nation. In an deal with, the brand new premier praised Islamabad’s shut ties with Beijing and vowed to keep up them.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian earlier instructed reporters that, “as a close neighbor and an iron-clad friend of Pakistan, China sincerely hopes that all parties of Pakistan can stay united and jointly defend national stability and development.”

“I want to stress that no matter how the political situation may change in Pakistan, China will unswervingly follow the Pakistan policy of friendship,” Zhao added. “We believe the political change in Pakistan will not affect the overall China-Pakistan relations.”

Sharif additionally stated he hoped to enhance relations with Washington in addition to New Delhi, however solely upon resolving their Kashmir dispute, one thing he known as on Modi to work to deal with. In a tweet, the Indian premier congratulated Sharif and stated “India desires peace and stability in a region free of terror, so that we can focus on our development challenges and ensure the well-being and prosperity of our people.”

A readout revealed Monday by the White House stated Biden and Modi “committed to strengthening the U.S.-India relationship through cooperation on clean energy, technology and military cooperation, and expanded economic and people-to-people ties.”

“They also committed to continue cooperation – bilaterally and multilaterally – on ending the COVID-19 pandemic, strengthening global health security, advancing global food security, and ensuring a free and open Indo-Pacific,” the readout stated.

The two males “emphasized their shared commitment, as leaders of the world’s largest democracies, to respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all nations in the Indo-Pacific and beyond” and “discussed the destabilizing impacts of Russia’s war against Ukraine, with a particular focus on global food supply.”

The prime diplomats and protection chiefs of each side later met for two+2 Ministerial Dialogue, throughout which the 4 males touted the rising ties between their two nations, particularly in protection. Here too, Russia was referenced briefly by Blinken, whereas Austin centered extra on China as a rival, one the U.S. wanted India to counter.

“The People’s Republic of China is seeking to refashion the region and the international system more broadly in ways that serve its authoritarian interests,” Austin stated. “But as we operationalize our defense agreements and take our cooperation to the next level, I believe that we can sustain and strengthen a favorable balance of power in the region.”

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