US says Ukraine differences won’t hurt robust relations with India

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The friendship between the United States and India has never been stronger and disagreements over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine won’t hinder ties between the two, Washington’s new ambassador to New Delhi said on Tuesday.

Eric Garcetti said India had helped to keep the price cap on Russian oil imposed by the Group of Seven economies, the European Union and Australia late last year to try to deprive Moscow of funds to fight its Ukraine war.


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“We won’t stop speaking about the unprovoked war of aggression by Russia against Ukraine,” Garcetti told news channel CNN-News 18, weeks before Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s state-visit to the United States from June 21-24.

“At the same time, where we don’t agree 100 percent of the time, we are not going to stop the momentum in this relationship,” he said. “We know that we can continue doing things together.”

New Delhi has refused to condemn its old ally Russia for the war and has increased its trade with Moscow to record levels, driven largely by imports of Russian oil.

It has pushed back criticism from Western leaders and said it is defending its own interests in buying Russian oil, much of it below the $60 per barrel price cap.

“There wasn’t a ban on this oil, but there was an attempt to price-cap it, and India’s participation is actually fulfilling that goal for us,” Garcetti said.

Washington has been working to deepen ties with the world’s largest democracy and President Joe Biden has been eager to strengthen relations with India as part of his bid to win what he has framed as a contest between free and autocratic societies, especially China.

Garcetti said Modi’s state-visit - only the third since Biden became president - would help the United States to make sure it is not dependent on any one place for its supply chains.

He also said that the defense and strategic relationship between the two countries would continue to deepen and Washington would stand by New Delhi in its troubles with Beijing.

Ties between India and China have deteriorated to their worst in decades after a 2020 border clash between their troops in which 24 soldiers were killed.

“India can count on the friendship of America, they can count on the strategic relationship that we have,” Garcetti said.

Read more: India will do ‘whatever it can’ to resolve Ukraine crisis, PM Modi tells Zelenskyy

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