US President Joe Biden tried to talk Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi with the claim that the root of our partnership is a deep connection between our people, ties of family, friendship and shared values. New Delhi is aware that the root of the Indian-US partnership has been the willingness of the two countries to scratch each other's back when they deem it beneficial.
New Delhi has been reminded of this over the past month as Washington has built up its pressure in order to persuade New Delhi to abandon its neutral stance on the Ukraine crisis.
Biden told Modi in their video conference on Monday that his administration could help India diversify its oil imports, and US officials told India the US can sell weapons, but the US side is overestimating the strength of the partnership.
Russia is India's long-term partner in security, energy, and geopolitics. New Delhi doesn't have the same level of trust in Washington as it does in Moscow. Since India became independent, Washington has never stopped trying to manipulate the situation in South Asia, ignoring India's appeals time and again. Washington pays lip service to India's interests, while requiring New Delhi to fall in line with US diplomacy.
Instead of reaching a consensus, the candid meeting between Modi and Biden helped expose their divergences. As India's External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar said in a news conference on Wednesday, the US focus should be on Europe, not India, with regard to energy purchase from Russia as Biden has promised to Europe that it would ensure alternatives to Russian energy supplies and natural gas that the US can provide would not be enough to make up the shortfall. Washington approached other major energy producers, including Venezuela and Iran, urging them to increase production despite the fact that they are both subject to US sanctions.
New Delhi has lessons to draw from such an irony, and it will not bet the future of its nearly 1.4 billion people on the promise of US politicians. The US will not succeed in using India's status as the largest democracy as moral leverage. India is not obliged to act as the US dictates. The diplomatic course New Delhi has followed for more than 70 years will not be lightly discarded. India will judge the situation in its entirety on the Ukraine crisis, not just in a one-sided way.