Lavrov Slams US 'Dictate, Blackmail', Says Russia-India Ties Unaffected by Washington's Threats
14:52 GMT 01.04.2022 (Updated: 16:00 GMT 01.04.2022)
Russia’s top diplomat held a series of talks in New Delhi focusing on the bilateral political and economic agenda amid increasing pressure from the United States on India to join sanctions against Moscow over its military operation in Ukraine.
But Russia’s top diplomat is certain that Moscow-Delhi ties will not be affected by such threats. In his speech, he slammed America’s behaviour as “blackmail”: Russia’s special operation in Ukraine and the West’s reaction to it have obviously brought forward the need to “dot some i’s and cross the t’s” through additional negotiations between Moscow and its key partners, such as India and China.
On Friday, the head of Russian diplomacy was invited to Hyderabad House – New Delhi’s historic mansion where most top-level talks are held.
Lavrov’s motorcade arrived in the early afternoon, with dozens of Indian and Russian journalists covering the event.
The Russian foreign minister’s meeting with his Indian counterpart Subrahmanyam Jaishankar was held behind closed doors, but journalists managed to get a glimpse of the event during an exchange of introductory comments.
“Our bilateral relations have continued to grow in many areas, and we have diversified our cooperation by expanding our agenda”, said Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, while also noting that “the meeting is taking place in a difficult international environment”.
Recently, the United States seems to have been putting a lot effort into driving a wedge between Moscow and New Delhi, with US Deputy National Security Adviser Daleep Singh saying
that Washington doesn’t want to see a “rapid acceleration” in India’s energy and other commodity imports from Russia and that there will be consequences for countries that attempt to get around anti-Moscow economic sanctions over Ukraine.
But Russia’s top diplomat is certain that Moscow-Delhi ties will not be affected by such threats. In his speech, he slammed America’s behaviour as “blackmail”:
“The partnership [between Russia and India] does not depend on conjunctural considerations. Moreover, it does not depend on unlawful methods of dictate and blackmail. Using such practices against countries like Russia, India, China, is futile and it only means that people, who promote, propose and impose such vision onto everyone else, do not understand completely the nature of national identity of the countries, with whom they try to communicate using the language of blackmail and ultimatums”.
Russian and Indian companies are currently facing challenges due to the West’s attempts to cut Russia off from international economic cooperation. Nevertheless, according to Lavrov, Moscow has been moving towards replacing the US dollar and euro in trade with countries such as India and China with national currencies for several years:
“I believe in current circumstances this trend will be strengthened, which is natural and obvious”, said the minister.
While the exact mechanics of such exchanges are currently in the works, it appears that Moscow and New Delhi are getting close to a solution which may suit both sides, whether it is a situation where contracts are paid for in Indian rupees tied to the US dollar rate, which is being speculated on by the Indian press
, or, perhaps, using the Chinese yuan
as reference in such transactions, with both sides opening ruble and rupee accounts.
After his talks at Hyderabad House, Sergei Lavrov met with India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The meeting was held behind closed doors.
Prior to his visit to India, Lavrov took part in a multinational conference on Afghanistan in China’s Tunxi, where he also met with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi.