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9 Feb, 2024 08:17

India doesn’t trust Washington – US presidential candidate

Republican hopeful Nikki Haley has claimed New Delhi is close to Moscow as it views the Biden White House as weak
India doesn’t trust Washington – US presidential candidate

India has fostered close ties with Russia as it views the Biden White House as weak and does not trust it as a leader, US presidential candidate Nikki Haley, who is of Indian descent, said in a televised interview with Fox Business News on Wednesday.

On the topic of New Delhi’s purchase of Russian crude despite Western sanctions pressure, Haley insisted that India wants to be partners with the US rather than Moscow. “I have dealt with India too, I have talked with Modi,” asserted Haley, a former South Carolina Governor and former US ambassador to the United Nations in the Donald Trump government.

“The problem is India doesn’t trust us to win. They don’t trust us to lead. They see right now that we’re weak,” she asserted. She went on to argue that India has stayed close to Russia because “that is where they get a lot of their military equipment."

Russia supplied 65% of India’s weapons purchases of more than $60 billion during the last two decades, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. The military cooperation between the two nations dates back to the Soviet era, with Moscow having supplied New Delhi with helicopters and fighter jets, frigates, and even nuclear-powered submarines, as well as tanks, air defense systems, and other weaponry.

Together, the two countries develop and produce a range of military systems, including BrahMos supersonic cruise missiles for maritime, aerial, and land-based platforms that India now exports to third countries.

Grilled on the efficacy of the unprecedented US sanctions against Moscow, Haley claimed that Russia “hasn’t suffered” because Biden has not ensured that sanctions are being imposed. “No one should be able to get oil from Russia,” Haley stressed. She has repeatedly insisted that helping Ukraine is part of US “national interests.” 

Her comments come in the wake of New Delhi ramping up purchases of Russian crude in the past 2 years, arguing that it was a “pragmatic decision” in the interest of the nation. In 2023, bilateral trade between the two nations reached $50 billion – a historic high.

Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, speaking to Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera last year, described the anti-Russia sanctions as “levers” that advanced economies have at their disposal “based on mechanisms, powers and tools built over many years.” The wider world does not “accept the concept of sanctions in the same way,” the top Indian diplomat has argued.

During Jaishankar’s visit to Moscow in December, he stressed that India’s relationship with Russia remains “very steady” and “very strong.” “[The relationship is] based on our strategic concerns, our geopolitical interests, and because they are mutually beneficial,” he said, emphasizing these strong sentiments are shared at all levels, from the top leadership to ordinary people.

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