The United States is in “deep” talks with India over its reliance on Russian arms and energy, a US State Department official said on Tuesday, according to CNN.
“India is heavily, heavily dependent on Russia, and that’s something that they did to themselves over some 40 years: first their military and then their energy dependence,” the unnamed official was quoted as telling journalists in New York. “So, we have been in deep conversation with India about the fact that we want to help them have options to diversify here,” he added.
Despite US pressure, India has been reluctant to join the Western sanctions on Russia, placing domestic energy security above geopolitical tensions. Instead, the world’s third biggest energy consumer has been stepping up purchases of discounted Russian oil since the spring. Earlier this month, India’s Petroleum Minister Hardeep Singh Puri told CNBC that the country will continue to purchase Russian oil in the face of growing pressure from the West.
Trade between Moscow and New Delhi has more than doubled so far this year. The two nations are currently working on bilateral measures to expand the use of national currencies, the ruble and the rupee, in mutual settlements.
Talks are also underway about mutual acceptance of Russia’s Mir and India’s RuPay payment cards, as well as options to implement each other’s interbank transfer services: India’s Unified Payments Interface (UPI) and SPFS, the Russian alternative to SWIFT.
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