Tuesday, April 12, 2022

India: "Our purchases in a whole month may be less than what Europe buys in one afternoon"; US: "an increase in human rights violations by some officials in India"

    Tuesday, April 12, 2022   No comments

US President Joe Biden and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi held "frank" video talks, which did not seem to succeed in bringing the two countries closer together on the Russian military operation in Ukraine, which is destabilizing their relationship.

At the beginning of the virtual meeting, the US president praised the "deep relationship" between the two countries, expressing his desire to "continue close consultations" in light of the military operation in Ukraine.

For his part, the Indian Prime Minister described the situation in Ukraine as "extremely worrying", noting that India supports negotiations between Ukraine and Russia, which Washington views with much pessimism.

After the meeting, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken told reporters that "it is important to urge all countries, especially those that have influence on Russian President Vladimir Putin, to stop military operations."

"It is also important that democracies speak with one voice to defend the values ​​we share," he added.

On the other hand, Indian External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar to a journalist who asked him why his country did not condemn the Russian military operation, saying: "Thank you for your advice and suggestion, but I prefer to do it my way."

After the White House said Biden had warned Modi that it would not be "in India's interest to speed up" its purchases of Russian energy exports—something that would partly offset the decline in Western purchases of these exports—the Indian foreign minister's response took a very sharp tone.

"Our purchases in a whole month may be less than what Europe buys in one afternoon," the minister told reporters.

For her part, US presidential spokeswoman Jen Psaki said, later, that "the president has made it clear that he does not believe it is in India's interest to accelerate or increase its imports of Russian energy," which so far represents a very small part of its purchases, or "other raw materials." .

Psaki stressed that Washington is ready to "help" India to "diversify" its energy sources.

The Biden administration wants to strengthen US alliances in the Asia-Pacific region to confront China, especially the re-launch of the so-called "Quad" alliance between the United States, India, Australia and Japan.

The disagreement shifted the conversation to another topic often used as pretext to frame conflict: human rights.

US Secretary of State, Anthony Blinken, announced that the United States is monitoring what he described as "an increase in human rights violations by some officials in India," in a rare direct criticism from Washington of the human rights record in the Asian country.

These statements come after US President Joe Biden's video talks with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi yesterday, which did not succeed in bringing the two countries' positions on the war in Ukraine closer, and continue to destabilize their relationship.

In a joint press briefing with US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, Indian Foreign Minister Subramaniam Jaishankar, and Indian Defense Minister Rajnath Singh today, Blinken emphasized: “We communicate regularly with our Indian partners on these shared human rights values, and for that, we are monitoring some developments. Alarming situation in India recently, including the increase in human rights violations by some government, police and prison officials.

Blinken did not elaborate. Singh and Jaishankar, who spoke after Blinken at the press briefing, did not comment on the human rights issue.


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