India built its partnership with Russia out of necessity because America was not in a position to do that earlier, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken told a congressional hearing that Washington is investing in that effort.
Blinken said that the India-US partnership has the potential to be one of the most important and foundational partnerships going forward over the next decade, during a Congressional hearing by the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations on Wednesday.
Amid Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the US has been pressing India and other nations to impose sanctions on Moscow and reduce their reliance on Russian weapons, oil and other commodities.
There is a relationship that goes back decades in India. In response to a question from Senator William Hagerty, he said that Russia was a partner of choice for India when we were not in a position to be a partner.
We are investing in that effort. There is a growing convergence between the United States and India.
China is a big part of that, according to Blinken.
Hagerty, a Republican senator, had sought Blinken's views on the India-US relationship.
When we have our differences and you deal with that every day, I'm certain that it is very frustrating in the short-term.
In the long term, the strategic partnership that we have with India poses the opportunity to do more good in the 21st century, Hagerty said.
In response, Blinken said that he shares the perspective shared by the Senator.
He said that this partnership has the potential to be one of the most important and foundational partnerships that we have going forward over the next decade.
Blinken said that US President Joe Biden has spent a lot of time directly engaged with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and India's leadership. We have energised the Quad that brings India together with Australia and Japan and us. This has been a very important tool in strengthening our collaboration with India.
This is a moment of strategic inflection, by which I mean this. A number of countries are looking at some of their relationships and their interests now, particularly when it comes to their relationship with Russia, the top American diplomat said.
India has not publicly condemned the Russian attack on Ukraine and has been calling for the resolution of the conflict through dialogue and diplomacy.
India, a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council for a two-year term ending December 12th this year, has repeatedly abstained on resolutions against Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
Since January of this year, India has abstainded on at least eight occasions on procedural votes and draft resolutions in the UN Security Council, the General Assembly and the Human Rights Council that deplored Russian aggression against Ukraine.
New Delhi had earlier this month condemned the deeply disturbing reports of civilian killings in the Ukrainian city of Bucha and supported the call for an independent investigation, as it underscored that when innocent human lives are at stake, diplomacy must prevail as the only viable option.