U.S. Deputy NSA warns India of ‘consequences’

April 01, 2022 12:00 am | Updated 05:43 am IST

Daleep Singh cautions against trade deals with Russia

Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla with U.S. Deputy National Security Adviser Daleep Singh.PTI-

Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla with U.S. Deputy National Security Adviser Daleep Singh.PTI-

There will be “consequences” for any country, including India, that conducts local currency transactions through Russia’s central bank or constructs a payment mechanism that subverts or circumvents the United States’ sanctions against Russia, American Deputy National Security Adviser for International Economics Daleep Singh said in New Delhi on Thursday, hours before Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov landed.

Mr. Lavrov is due to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi and External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar on Friday, and is expected to brief them on the war in Ukraine, peace talks, keeping defence supplies running and alternative payment mechanisms in the face of Western sanctions.

In a first for the U.S. administration, Mr. Singh also publicly stated that India must not expect that Russia, as a “junior partner” of China, would assist India if there were more incursions along the Line of Actual Control.

“I come here in a spirit of friendship to explain the mechanisms of our sanctions, the importance of joining us, to express a shared resolve and to advance shared interests. And yes, there are consequences to countries that actively attempt to circumvent or backfill the sanctions,” Mr. Singh told journalists between his official meetings.

‘Don’t prop up rouble’

“We are very keen for all countries, especially our allies and partners, not to create mechanisms that prop up the [Russian] rouble, and those that attempt to undermine the dollar- based financial system,” he stated in reply to a question from The Hindu .

Bank officials’ meeting

This week, officials of the Bank of Russia, the country’s central bank, met Reserve Bank of India officials to discuss alternative payment mechanisms and routing through banks that are immune to international sanctions. Mr. Jaishankar told Parliament that a special inter-ministerial group led by the Finance Ministry had been tasked with resolving the payment issues for import and export with Russia caused by the sanctions.

Asked how India’s ties with Russia could affect its partnership with the U.S. in the Quad, Mr. Singh said there was a “shared recognition in the Quad that China is a strategic threat to a free open and secure Indo-Pacific”.

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