In an interview with Reuters, Indian Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said that the country would comply with global sanctions, including United States sanctions, but would not ignore its own strategic and national interests.
“In specific issues which are critical for India’s strategic interests, we have explained to the United States that India is a strategic partner for the United States of America and you want a strategic partner to be strong and not weakened,” she told the agency. “We value the strong partnership with the USA, but we should equally be allowed to be a strong economy.”
The United States had imposed sanctions on Venezuela, Iran and Russia. Washington had warned its “allies and partners” that they would face penalties if they choose to continue acquisition of Russian military equipment. New Delhi had told Washington earlier that sourcing its military equipment from Russia was very much a “sovereign right”.
Indian External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar said earlier in October that he was “reasonably convinced” the United States would understand New Delhi’s decision to purchase advanced defence equipment, including the S-400 missile defence system, from Russia.
Meanwhile, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has brought down growth projections for the Indian economy by 90 basis points to 6.1 per cent. This is the second time in seven months that the IMF has lowered its forecast.
“In the case of India, there has been a negative impact on growth, which comes from financial vulnerabilities and the non-banking financial sector and its impact on consumer borrowing by small and medium enterprises.,” said Gita Gopinath, IMF Chief Economist and Director of the Research Department.
Gopinath said, though the government has taken some measures, more needs to be done for India’s growth to recover and touch 7 per cent.
“Appropriate steps have been taken. There is a lot more that needs to be done, including cleaning up of the balance sheets of regular commercial banks. In our projections, we have said that India will recover to 7 per cent growth in 2020, on the premise that these particular bottlenecks will clear up,” she added.