All eyes on Lavrov-Jaishankar meet as West tries to dissuade India from buying Russian oil

New Delhi is witnessing a flurry of diplomatic activity as foreign ministers and security czars from Germany and the Netherlands arrive to persuade India to change its stance on the Ukraine crisis and not not defy the unprecedented comprehensive sanctions that the United States and its allies have imposed. on Russia.

The United States and its allies are upset with India’s neutral stance and refusal to condemn Russia’s aggression, albeit from the end of New Delhi, has qualified its position by referring to sovereignty and to the territorial integrity of nation states. President Joe Biden and the US administration realize that in addition to Western nations and US allies like Japan and South Korea, the rest of Asia has watched from the sidelines. Having a big Asian country like India on your side reinforces the idea that everyone democratically stands together against Russia.

On Thursday, Sergei Lavrov arrived from China, where he was attending a meeting in Afghanistan to brief India on the Ukraine campaign and the peace moves in Turkey. Lavrov will meet with Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar and will also visit Prime Minister Narendra Modi. International attention is focused on Lavrov’s visit to India. The two sides are expected to finalize a deal to source Russian oil at a lower price, possibly a rupee-ruble swap. However, no details are available at this time. However, economic relations will be on the table during Friday’s talks.

Both Australia and the United States disagreed with India’s decision to receive Lavrov and discuss oil purchases. “Now is the time to stand on the right side of history and stand with the United States and dozens of other countries, standing up for freedom, democracy and sovereignty with the people of Ukraine, not by financing, fueling and aiding President Putin’s war,” Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo told reporters in Washington on Wednesday. She called reports of the arrangement “deeply disappointing”, while adding that she hadn’t seen the details.

Dan Tehan, Australia’s trade minister, echoed his US counterpart and said it was important for democracies to work together “to retain the rules-based approach we have had since World War II”.

British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss spoke with her Indian counterpart on Thursday. The purpose of her hasty visit, which she left shortly after meeting, was part of a wider diplomatic campaign following Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine last month. His message is simple. The Russian invasion of Ukraine underscores “the importance for democracies to work more closely together to deter aggressors, reduce vulnerability to coercion and strengthen global security,” the British High Commission said in a statement during of his visit. She wants to counter Russia’s aggression and reduce global strategic dependence on the country ahead of key NATO and G7 meetings next week.

Responding to a reporter’s question during an appearance with Liz Truss, Jaishankar pointed out that it is not India but Europe that buys most of the oil and gas from Russia, so blame the India was unfair. He went on to say that India buys most of its oil from the Gulf States but is always on the hunt for cheap energy. India is unlikely to be deterred from buying Russian oil, either by coercion or by soft words and promises from other countries, as New Delhi feels its primary responsibility is to the hard-hit Indian public. by the sharp rise in international oil prices.

The United States is doing its best to stop the deal. He had sent several high profile visitors to India in recent days. Undersecretary for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland was in Delhi, followed by Deputy National Security Adviser for International Economics Daleep Singh. On Wednesday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke by phone with Jaishankar ahead of Lavrov’s visit.

Daleep Singh told Indian reporters that the United States did not want to see a “rapid acceleration” of Russian oil and other commodities under global sanctions. He also warned of the consequences for countries trying to break the embargo.

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