India refuses to yield to Western pressure and negotiates with Moscow

Photo posted on the Twitter account of Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar during his meeting with Sergei Lavrov, his Russian counterpart, in New Delhi, India, on April 1, 2022.

Pressure from the United States and Europeans on Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to change his stance on Russia, whose invasion of Ukraine he refuses to condemn, has had little effect on New Delhi’s position: Indians ignore threats sanctions wielded by the West and continue trade talks with the Russians.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has just spent two days in the Indian capital, March 31 and April. He was received there not only by his Indian counterpart, Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, but also by Narendra Modi himself, who devoted 40 minutes to him. The gesture is telling: the Indian Prime Minister has no intention of letting Westerners dictate his behavior.

Russia is the main arms supplier and historical friend; India needs these weapons to face the Chinese and Pakistani threat. The day before, Mr Modi had so ignored the visit of the British Foreign Secretary, Liz Truss, the previous days of the representatives of Japan, Austria, Greece and Mexico. Nor did he grant an audience to Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi.

Bearer of a “personal message” from Putin

Sergei Lavrov, who, after a stopover in China, made his first official visit abroad since the beginning of the war, greeted “balanced approach” from his Indian partner “We appreciate India’s approach to this situation taking into account all the facts and not just unilaterally”he explained. Earlier in the day, he said he had a… ” personal message “ from Vladimir Putin to the Indian Prime Minister.

Again, Narendra Modi contented herself with summoning a “quick end to violence”† According to the official statement, the Prime Minister expressed India’s willingness to: “contribute in any way to peace efforts”. New Delhi has regularly abstained from voting in the UN for resolutions condemning Russia and inviting the parties to dialogue, as if there were no aggressor, no premeditated and unprovoked attack.

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Sergei Lavrov did not hide the objectives of his visit: the two countries try “overcoming obstacles”ie western financial sanctions. They want to set up a payment mechanism in national currencies, rubles and rupees, not denominated in dollars, so that India can buy large quantities of Russian oil at a discounted price. “We are ready to supply what India wants to buy from Russia”assured Mr Lavrov, particularly in the defense sector.

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