Indian Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said in an interview with Bloomberg in Washington that India wants to be great allies with the “liberal world,” but that the country needs Russia’s cooperation to defend its borders.
India has procured the vast majority of its military gear from Moscow, and the country has rebuffed calls from Western countries to limit bilateral relations with Moscow in response to the Russian invasion.
The administration of Prime Minister Narendra Modi has come under fire from Western friends for its failure to publicly criticize Russian President Vladimir Putin for the devastation caused by the conflict in Ukraine.
Sitharaman stated that India, which has long-standing border issues with both Pakistan and China and has previously gone to war with both, was concerned with preserving its regional interests.
In an interview with Bloomberg, Sitharaman said,
“You have a neighbour who joins hands with another neighbor; both of them are against me,” referring to Pakistan and China. If, God forbid, there are alliances formed in the framework of the Russian-Ukrainian conflict, India must be able to defend itself and maintain its position.
According to her, “India wants to be friends with the European Union and the Western, free, and liberal world,” but not as a weak friend that needs desperate help here and there, she said.
Sitharaman made the statements on Friday in Washington, D.C., when she was attending the annual spring meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, which were taking place simultaneously.
While the United States has always sought to strike a balance between arch regional foes India and Pakistan, in recent years it has also strengthened strategic relationships with New Delhi to counter China’s growing influence.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson of the United Kingdom, who was in India this week to strengthen security and trade ties, said it was doubtful that India would break off its long-standing ties with Russia.
“Prime Minister Johnson shared his perspective on it, and Prime Minister Modi shared ours, which is that the Russia-Ukraine war should end immediately,” Harsh Vardhan Shringla, foreign secretary of India, told reporters. “There was no pressure of any kind.”
Edited by – Vanshika Sahu
Published by – Mohd Faizan