Washington, August 18
It is going to be a long-term proposition for India -- which has a decades-old relationship with Moscow -- to reorient its foreign policy away from Russia, the US has said, insisting that re-aligning one's approach is not like flipping a light switch.
When asked about India increasing its imports of Russian oil and fertilisers and potentially buying the Russian air defence systems, US State Department spokesperson Ned Price said, "It is not for me to speak about another country's foreign policy."
"But what I can do is point out what we have heard from India. We have seen countries around the world speak clearly, including with their votes in the UN General Assembly against Russia's aggression in Ukraine," Price told reporters here.
"But we also recognise, as I was saying just a moment ago, that this is not flipping a light switch,” he said on Wednesday.
“This is something that, especially for countries that have historical relationships with Russia. Relationships that, as is the case with India, extend back decades, it is going to be a long-term proposition to re-orient foreign policy away from Russia,” he said in response to a question.
The US and European nations have imposed heavy sanctions on Russia since Moscow sent troops into Ukraine on February 24.
India has raised oil imports from Russia after the Ukraine war despite criticism from the West and continues to engage with Moscow for business.
In May, Russia overtook Saudi Arabia to become India's second-biggest supplier of oil behind Iraq as refiners snapped up Russian crude available at a deep discount following the war in Ukraine.
Indian refiners bought about 25 million barrels of Russian oil in May.
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Tuesday said New Delhi had not been defensive about its stand on buying Russian oil but made the US and others realise that the government had the "moral duty" to ensure that the people got the "best deal".
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