The US has warned India against warming up to Russia, ahead of a visit by Moscow’s top diplomat to press New Delhi to resist Western pressure to condemn its invasion of Ukraine.
India has abstained from UN resolutions censuring Moscow and continues to buy Russian oil from its “longstanding and time-tested friend” and biggest supplier of arms.
But Delhi shares Western alarm over Beijing’s assertiveness in the Asia-Pacific region, with 20 Indian and four Chinese troops killed in a brawl on their disputed Himalayan border in 2020.
Daleep Singh, Washington’s chief sanctions strategist, was quoted by local media in a visit to Delhi as saying that India could not rely on Russia if there was another clash.
“Russia is going to be the junior partner in this relationship with China. And the more leverage that China gains over Russia, the less favourable that is for India,” Singh was quoted as saying on Thursday.
“I don’t think anyone would believe that if China once again breached the Line of (Actual) Control, that Russia would come running to India’s defence,” he said, referring to the India-China border.