India needs long time to move away from Russia: US

Published August 19, 2022
US State Department spokesperson Ned Price speaks during a briefing at the State Department in Washington, DC. — Reuters/File
US State Department spokesperson Ned Price speaks during a briefing at the State Department in Washington, DC. — Reuters/File

WASHINGTON: The United States does not see the world “in zero sum terms” and understands that countries like India will need a long time to reorient their policies towards Russia, says the US State Department.

The department’s spokesperson Ned Price made these remarks at a Wednesday afternoon news briefing in Washington when reminded that India has recently increased its imports of Russian oil and fertilisers and is holding joint military exercises with Moscow. They’re also buying Russian air defence systems.

“It is not that we see the world in zero sum terms, all or nothing, all in with the United States or not at all,” Mr Price said. “We recognise that … every country around the world is going to make its own sovereign decisions based on its own assessment of its interests and its values.”

Read: Indian official voices US concern over Russian fuel

The United States, he said, should make it “clear how our shared interests and our shared values often do align, and the dividends that countries around the world could reap from partnership”. 

Mr Price was responding to an American journalist who interpreted India’s refusal to back the US position on Russia as a failure of Washington’s policymakers. “We have seen countries around the world speak clearly, including with their votes in the UN General Assembly, against Russia’s aggression in Ukraine. But we also recognize...that this is not flipping a light switch,” Mr. Price said while answering a question on Russian oil imports by India. 

“This is something that especially for countries that have historical relationships with Russia, relationships that, as is the case with India, extend back decades, it is going to be a long-term proposition to reorient foreign policy away from Russia,” he added. 

Published in Dawn, August 19th, 2022

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