It is clear that India’s position on the Ukraine war has left the Western world, especially the United States and Britain, in a state of anxiety and discomfort.
They are not shying away from expressing that discomfort, concern and annoyance to India now.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov’s visit to Delhi, his proposal to expand trade with India, and his 40-minute meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi will no doubt add to those concerns.
Mr. Lavrov handed over a letter from President Putin to the Indian Prime Minister.
He did not say what was in the letter, but when he reached Delhi, Mr. Lavrov said it was clear that one of his main objectives was to continue doing business with India, avoiding Western sanctions.
At the same time, he openly expressed Moscow’s “gratitude” for India’s position on the Ukraine issue.
Mr. Lavrov said he was grateful that India had considered the overall situation in Ukraine without following a “one-eyed policy” like many others.
“We want a balance in the world system that is sustainable. We are really grateful that India is looking at this issue from a holistic perspective,” he told reporters ahead of a meeting with the Indian foreign minister.
In addition to the dollar, Russia will charge different currencies
Mr Lavrov said Russia was planning to raise prices in currencies other than the dollar and the euro to boost trade with countries like India. “Russia is ready to sell whatever India wants,” he said.
India has so far refused to comment on Russia’s involvement in the Ukraine war. India has not voted in favor of the Security Council and the General Assembly, which has so far condemned Russia.
Most importantly, India has taken the initiative to buy Russian fuel oil from Russia. It is learned that India is buying 3 million barrels of crude oil from Russia at a much lower price than the market price.
According to a Bloomberg report, Russia has offered India only ৩ 35 per barrel of their Ural grade oil before the start of the war. Russia wants India to sign an agreement to buy 15 million barrels this year. The two governments are talking about this proposal.
And that is why Western nations, especially the United States and Britain, are concerned that India’s move will encourage many other countries and weaken sanctions on Russia.
Consequences of Breaking Sanctions – America
And that’s probably why British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss visited India the night before Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov’s visit to Delhi on Friday. Earlier in the day, Daleep Singh, Deputy National Security Adviser to President Biden, visited Delhi.
Dalip Singh did not suppress US concerns over buying Russian oil in India. Although not directly mentioning India, Mr. Singh warns that all countries will try to avoid US sanctions on Russia – they will have to suffer the consequences.
He also warned India that “if China ever attacks India, Russia will not come forward to help.”
U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken on Thursday evening. Jayashankar has telephoned.
British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, however, said in Delhi that she had not come to India to give a “lecture” – but to say that “the unity of democratic forces like India against authoritarianism is urgently needed now after the Russian invasion of Ukraine.”
While not saying no to trade with Russia, the British minister said Britain was “very concerned” about ensuring that sanctions on Russia worked.
“We want Russian banks not to operate, Russia not to use their gold reserves, Russian ships not to be stranded in foreign ports.”
But despite Western pressure, there is no indication that India will change its position on Russia.
In a meeting with the British Foreign Secretary in Delhi on Friday, Indian Foreign Minister S Jayashankar expressed surprise at Western concerns over oil purchases from Russia. “Even in March, India did not buy a drop of the oil that Europe bought from Russia,” he said.
Observers say that while India is trying to strike a balance between Russia and India, there is a long history of relations between the two countries, as well as India’s reliance on Russia for technology and especially for defense.
Russia still supplies 80 percent of Russia’s military equipment.
India is building a cruise missile called Bramos jointly with Russia. At the same time, talks on the purchase of the S-400 missile defense system are now in the final stages.