USA: India-Russia deals won’t affect Obama’s R-day plan

WASHINGTON,Chidanand Rajghatta,TNN: The Obama administration said Friday that there is no change in the US president’s plans to visit India on January 25/26 for India’s Republic Day, even as it urged New Delhi not to do business with Russia because of its intervention in Ukraine.

“No. India remains an important partner. Obviously, our economic relationship is a big part of what we continue to work on,” state department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said when asked on whether the India-Russia business deals that have been concluded during President Putin’s visit to New Delhi would have any effect on President Obama’s visit.

“We continue to urge all countries not to conduct business as usual with Russia. We continue to monitor it, but we haven’t looked at all the specifics of the contracts, for obvious reasons,” she added.

Psaki said India doesn’t support the actions of Russia and its intervention into Ukraine and “they’ve been pretty outspoken about that as well.”

Other senior state department officials however clarified that the US has has no problem with India’s engagement with Russia in the broad context, PTI reported; its disapproval related to the timing of the trade deals given the international sanctions against Russia because of the events in Ukraine.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, right, and Russian President Vladimir Putin greet delegates at the World Diamond Conference in New Delhi. (AP Photo)

“It does not mean that India should not engage with Russia,” the unnamed State Department official said when asked about the official US statement in the last few days that this is not the time to do business with Russia.

“We engage with Russia on Iran. We engage with Russia on a range of issues,” the official said. “It (not doing business with Russia) just means that countries around the world do not move forward with same kind of economic relationship which they have done in the past given that sanctions that are put in place by a number of countries.”

The official acknowledged the history of strong India-Russia relationship, adding, “Our relationship with India is incredibly important to us. We have an important economic relationship. You can have a range of discussions behind the scene diplomatically, privately, which you do not necessarily say publicly.”

Psaki meanwhile said she did not have anything new to share about the reported presence of the leader of the breakaway Crimean region in President Putin’s delegation, suggesting New Delhi had not gotten back to Washington about US queries in the matter. “I don’t have any US government confirmation. We’re obviously not in on the trip with them (India),” she added.

QUESTION: There’s no change in President’s trip to India?

MS. PSAKI: No. No, no.

Psaki also referred briefly to the arrest of the ISIL online operative in India and said the US was continuing its conversation with various countries about efforts to de-legitimize ISIL.

Posted by on December 14, 2014. Filed under Editorial. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.