'Lot of signs India taking principled stand on Russia'
Campbell said it was important for India to continue its process of diversification and working with countries like the UK, France, Israel and the US
WASHINGTON: The US National Security Council's coordinator for Indo-Pacific affairs, Kurt Campbell has said that India's stance on Russia is "more nuanced" and that there are lot of signs that New Delhi is taking a principled stand on Moscow in the light of the Ukraine conflict.
The US pointperson on Asia in an interview with ANI on Thursday said also said that the China dimension is important to both India and the United States but it is not enough to take the two countries to where they want to go in their relationship.
"I think India's position on Russia is more nuanced...we see a lot of signs of India taking principled stands. PM Modi has clearly spoken about the devastation and the tragedy of what's happening to the Ukrainian people...I think Indian friends and colleagues are quite concerned about the war in Ukraine and believe that Russia has conducted this war terribly on many levels..." Campbell said.
The White House official said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has clearly spoken about the tragedy inflicted upon Ukrainians and that PM Modi engaged in a "positive way" with Ukrainian President Zelenskyy in Hiroshima. He noted that PM Modi expressed concerns regarding the war during his talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
"He (PM Modi) engaged in a very positive way with President Zelenskyy in Hiroshima. He has conveyed directly to President Putin in his face concerns about the war and about the potential use of nuclear weapons and expressed very clear concerns on the part of India directly about such contemplations, " Campbell said.
He added that the US has been working actively with India to diversify its supply of nuclear equipment.
Campbell said it was important for India to continue its process of diversification and working with countries like the UK, France, Israel and the US. He said that Indian colleagues privately are very concerned regarding the conflict in Ukraine. Since the start of the Ukraine conflict, India has sought to carve a middle path between Moscow and its Western critics and so far largely resisted Western pressure to cut its economic ties with the Kremlin.
"It is also the case that we have been working actively with India to diversify its supply of military equipment, and we took some further steps with the visit of Prime Minister Modi last week. We believe that it will be important for India to continue this process of diversification, working closely with countries like Great Britain, like France, like Israel, like the United States, to make sure that as India develops its arsenal for the 21st century, it does so in a responsible way and indeed, recognizing that much of this work will be done indigenously," he said.
Campbell pointed out that there is also acknowledgment that one of the things that animates India's thinking about Russia is a kind of loyalty.
"So, I think privately Indian friends and colleagues are quite concerned about the war in Ukraine and believe that Russia has conducted this war terribly on many levels. At the same time, there is also acknowledgment that one of the things that animates India's thinking about Russia is a kind of loyalty and that on its face, I think we can recognize and even understand. At the same time, we've seen India increasingly taking steps that sends a clear message that its sense of how this situation should be resolved is quite different from the leaders in Moscow group," the US official said.
Responding to a question on bipartisan consensus favouring closer ties between New Delhi and Washington as a strategic counterpoint to Beijing, the Deputy Assistant to President Joe Biden who helps in designing the US response to China-related challenges told ANI that that the connections between the two nations are deeper and more fundamental.
Stating that China dimension is important to India and US, Campbell noted that it is not enough to take the two nations where they want to go in terms of their relationship.
"I would say the opening to India began decades ago under President Clinton and then was fortified by President Bush. So, the animating instincts of being closer partners pre-dates this period of greater competition between the United States and China. It is also the case that for a variety of reasons, the diaspora communities in the United States, increasing educational connectivity, issues related with technology, the connections between the United States and India are deeper, more fundamental than they ever have been," he said.
"And so, while, yes, the China dimension is important to both our countries, it is not enough to take us to where we want to go in this relationship. And there are many other elements that have driven us forward. I think most of those were on full display when Prime Minister Modi visited," Campbell, the White House pointperson for Asia told ANI.
PM Modi was on a State visit to the US from June 21-25 on the invivation of President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden during which he gave an address to members of the US Congress, and held interactions with some of Silicon Valley's top CEOs as well as the Indian diaspora.
Last month, US Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin said that the world witnesses "bullying and coercion" from Beijing. After his meeting with Defence Minister Rajnath Singh in Delhi, Austin said, "We face a rapidly changing world. We see bullying and coercion from China, Russian aggression against Ukraine that seeks to redraw borders by force and threatens national sovereignty as well as transnational challenges such as terrorism and climate change," the top US official said.