US ‘hopes India will support America’ if Russia attacks Ukraine US state department spokesman Ned Price (Photo by CAROLYN KASTER/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
THE US has expressed its hope that India will stand by it in case of a Russian invasion of Ukraine.
State Department spokesperson Ned Price said in Washington on Wednesday (16) that there was a discussion on Russia and Ukraine during the recently concluded Quad ministerial in Melbourne that included foreign ministers from Australia, India, Japan and the US.
He said there was a “strong consensus” in the meeting that there needs to be a diplomatic and peaceful resolution to the Ukraine crisis.
“We know that our Indian partners are committed to that rules-based international order. There are any number of tenets in that order. One of them is that borders cannot be redrawn by force,” Price said in response to a question.
“Large countries cannot bully small countries… Those are principles that apply equally in the Indo-Pacific as they do in Europe,” he said in an apparent reference to China’s recent behaviour, including towards India.
The US secretary of state Antony Blinken and India’s foreign minister S Jaishankar discussed defence issues, but Price refrained from commenting if there was any discussion on potential actions under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA).
Enacted by the US Congress in 2017, CAATSA provides for punitive actions against any country engaged in transactions with Russian defence and intelligence sectors.
“There was a discussion of our broad defence relationship, but I wouldn’t want to characterise it beyond that,” Price said.
In October 2018, India signed a $5billion (£3.67bn) deal with Russia to buy five units of the S-400 air defence missile systems, despite a warning from the then administration of president Donald Trump that going ahead with the contract could invite US sanctions.
India made the first tranche of payment of around $800 million (£587.34m) to Russia for the missile systems in 2019. The S-400 is known as Russia’s most advanced long-range surface-to-air missile defence system.
Referring to the situation in Ukraine, Blinken has said the US was doing everything it possibly can to seek a peaceful resolution to the crisis Moscow has “needlessly precipitated”.
“But those efforts, as we’ve said, will be effective only if the Russian Federation is willing to de-escalate,” Price told reporters.
According to a senior US administration official, the West detected that Russia had increased its force near the Ukraine border by 7,000 troops, with some arriving on Wednesday (16), contrary to Moscow’s claims of withdrawal.
The Kremlin has repeatedly denied it has plans to attack Ukraine, but demanded that NATO never admit Ukraine and other ex-Soviet nations as members and the military alliance roll back troop deployments in former Soviet bloc nations.