The US does not believe India is “in Russia’s camp” on the Ukraine war, a top American diplomat said today.
Patricia Lacina, the chief of the US mission to India, said America understood that India’s relationship with Russia is “very different” from the US’ relationship with Russia.
Ms Lacina refused to elaborate on an Axios report that the US State Department had recalled a cable sent to America diplomats to inform their counterparts in India and the UAE that their neutrality on Ukraine “puts them in Russia’s camp”.
“I have only the same reporting that you have from Axios, so I don’t personally know that…but I can tell you that the US doesn’t believe that India is in Russia’s camp,” she asserted.
America, she said, was very concerned about the “unfair, unjustified attack” on Ukraine by Russia.
When asked what America’s view was on India’s non-commital view on the Russian aggression, she said, “We are speaking to Indians at many different levels.”
India has abstained thrice at the UN on the vote on Russia’s Ukraine invasion. On whether as an ally, the US is disappointed with India’s position, Ms Lacina said: “The Indian government has said that member states of the UN charter must abide by the UN charter, that they should respect the international law, territorial integrity and sovereignty of states, and we agree with that.”
The envoy said she “wouldn’t say” that there was disappointment in the US that India has stopped short of outright condemnation of Russia’s aggression.
“I would say that we understand that the relationship that India has with Russia is very different from the relationship that the US has with Russia. And we have been asking not just India, but all other countries that have a relationship with Russia, to use that leverage for constructive purposes and try and resolve the conflict,” said Ms Lacina.
On whether America is hopeful that India will come around to a position that is more aligned with the position taken by the US and other members of the Quad, she said: “We continue to talk to our interlocutors in India. The Quad had a discussion last night. A statement came out which emphasised the importance of territorial integrity and sovereignty in the Indo-pacific – and we interpret that also to mean for Europe and the greater world.”