US ‘doesn’t want to see’ India relying on Russia for defence needs: Pentagon

Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby

Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby

Photo : Twitter

Washington: The United States discourages India from relying on Russia for defence needs, said Pentagon on Saturday as India continued its trade deals with Russia despite the US government’s severe economic sanctions on Moscow over the Ukraine crisis.

While speaking to media, Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby said, “We have been very clear with India as well as other nations that we don’t want to see them rely on Russia for defence needs. We’ve been nothing but honest about that and discouraging that.”

“At the same time, we also value the defence partnership that we have with India. And as was evidenced a week ago, we’re looking at ways to improve that going forward. That’s going to continue because it matters and it’s important,” he said.

“India is a provider of security in the region and we value that,” Kirby said.

India had signed a USD 5 billion deal with Russia in 2018 to purchase five units of the S-400 Triumf air defence missile systems to ramp up its air defence.

It should be noted that the then Trump administration had warned India that going ahead with the contract would invite US sanctions.

In recent past, the US has already imposed sanctions on Turkey under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) for the purchase of a batch of S-400 missile defence systems from Russia.

US State Department Counsellor Derek Chollet on Thursday said the Biden administration is very much eager to work with India as it diversifies its defence capabilities and defence suppliers.