US-India in talks to reduce country’s dependence on Russian arms, energy

In a bid to isolate Russia further from the international stage, the United States (US) is in talks with India over its reliance on Russian arms and energy. Russia is “no longer a reliable weapons supplier”, and Indians are “coming to understand” that they could benefit from finding other suppliers, a CNN report quoted a US State Department official as saying.

“We have been in deep conversation with India about the fact that we want to help them have options to diversify here,” the official said. They added that India has been “heavily dependent” on Russia for arms and energy.

The announcement came just hours after Russian president Vladimir Putin announced a partial mobilisation of Russian citizens, escalating the offensive in Ukraine.

“I consider it necessary to support the proposal of the Ministry of Defense and the General Staff to conduct partial mobilisation in the Russian Federation,” Putin said.

Mobilisation means the Russian citizens who are in reserve and have some military experience will be made ready for the battle. Putin added that the West was trying to “weaken, divide and ultimately destroy” Russia.

Russia is India’s largest arms supplier. Russia is also supplying oil at subsidised rates to India. According to an announcement by Yury Ushakov, an aide to Putin, India-Russia’s overall trade has jumped 120 per cent in 2022.

India has so far taken a middle path between Russia and the West. It has not condemned Russia for its invasion of Ukraine.

However, at the recently concluded summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, Prime Minister Narendra Modi told Putin that it was not a time for war.

“I know that today’s era is not of war and we have talked to you many times over the phone on the subject that democracy and diplomacy and dialogue are all these things that touch the world,” Modi said.

India’s trade with the US has also improved. According to the CNN report, the India-US trade is more than $110 billion. Lately, India has become a major buyer of US military equipment.

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