US: India not ending ties with Russia, in hopes it may help put an end to Ukraine conflict

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WASHINGTON: US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Donald Lu expressed the US viewpoint on India’s stance on the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

The top US diplomat for the region emphasized that the US doesn’t think India is going to end relations with Russia anytime soon and hopes India will use its influence with Russia to end the Ukraine conflict.

The top US official made these comments while briefing reporters on US Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s upcoming travel to India, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. In response to a question on the three countries being among the 32 nations that abstained from voting on Russia-Ukraine in Thursday’s UN General Assembly, Lu responded, “It’s clear to us that the countries of Central Asia and India have had long, complex relations with Russia”.

“I don’t think they’re going to end those relations anytime soon, but we are talking to them about the role they can play in this conflict,” Lu added.

India chose to abstain from voting on a UN General Assembly resolution that emphasized the urgency of achieving a “comprehensive, just, and lasting peace” in Ukraine in accordance with the UN Charter’s principles. Reaffirming the US stand with Ukraine, the US Official said that it is important that the world comes together to define the principles of the value of the UN Charter.

Lu asserted, “We may not share the same approach every day on Ukraine, but I think we do share the goal that this conflict ends and it ends based on principles in the U.N. charter.”

“It is our hope that India will use that influence with Russia to support an end to this conflict,” said the top U.S. diplomat.

India assumed the G20 Presidency on December 1.

Blinken will on March 1 travel to New Delhi to participate in the G20 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, which will focus on strengthening multilateralism and deepening cooperation on food and energy security, sustainable development, counter-narcotics, global health, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, gender equality and women’s empowerment, the US State Department recently said in a statement.

It further said, “He will meet with Indian government officials and civil society to reaffirm our strong partnership.”

The upcoming Foreign Ministers meeting scheduled in March is one of the most significant G20 meetings. As the war in Ukraine has completed its one-year anniversary with Global governance under challenge and G20 which is a highly representational body, India during the Presidency will focus on the fact on which the G20 was made.

With India holding the chair, countries are looking to India to bring economic stability, especially at a time when there is a lack of success from multilateral bodies like the UN and UNSC whose job is to maintain peace and security. Barely a one-day plus meeting, the FMM will have a packed agenda. Though a joint photo op involving all the foreign ministers is unlikely, several discussions will be held on the 2nd of March.

Blinken will participate in the meeting of the Group of 20 (G20) foreign ministers, including China and Russia. U.S. officials have been tight-lipped about the prospects for Blinken sitting down with Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang or Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in New Delhi.

“A major multilateral summit like the G-20, of course, lends itself to the potential for bilateral engagements on the margins, but we don’t have any specific scheduling updates to offer,” deputy State Department spokesman Vedant Patel said. “The United States believes it’s important to keep the lines of communication open,” Patel further added

Highlighting the unsustainable debt levels affecting the viability of many countries and the erosion of trust in international financial institutions, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday urged the leading economies and monetary systems of the world to bring back stability, confidence and growth to the global economy.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the first meeting of Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors under India’s G20 Presidency via video message on Friday. (ANI)

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