US in talks with India on rethinking dependence on Russian arms and energy

Russia is “no longer a reliable arms supplier” and Indian representatives are “understanding that there could be real benefits for them (to find other markets),” the official told reporters in New York.

“India is very dependent on Russia, and it’s something they did to themselves for about 40 years: first military and then energy dependence,” the official said. “So we’ve been in deep dialogue with India that we want to help them have opportunities to diversify here.”

CNN has reached out to India’s Ministry of External Affairs, but has not heard back.

The State Department official’s comments came hours before Russian President Vladimir Putin announced an escalation of Moscow’s offensive in Ukraine, calling for the immediate “partial mobilization” of Russian citizens.

“In order to protect our homeland, its sovereignty and territorial integrity, to ensure the security of our people and the people in the liberated territories, I find it necessary to support the proposal of the Ministry of Defense and the General Staff to carry out a partial mobilization in the Russian Federation,” Putin said in a highly anticipated speech to the nation on Wednesday.

Efforts to start the partial mobilization will begin on Wednesday and the decree had already been signed, Putin said. Mobilization would mean the compulsory filling of citizens in reserve and those with military experience, he added.

Putin framed the fight as part of a larger struggle for Russian survival against a West whose goal is “to weaken, divide and ultimately destroy our country.”

It is unclear what effect Putin’s comments will have on India’s stance on the war.

Since the start of Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, India has sought to forge a middle ground between Moscow and its Western critics, largely by avoiding condemning the country, which remains its biggest arms supplier and has Cold War ties. .

He has so far largely resisted Western pressure to cut economic ties with the Kremlin, instead increasing purchases of Russian oil, coal and fertilizers, and has repeatedly abstained from voting to suspend Russia from the United Nations Human Rights Council, calling instead. “dialogue and diplomacy”.

However, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi signaled a possible change of tone last week, telling Russian President Vladimir Putin that this is not the time for war.
Modi’s comments came on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit in Uzbekistan.

“I know that today’s time is not one of war and we have talked to you many times on the phone that democracy and diplomacy and dialogue are all these things that touch the world,” Modi told Putin.

While India’s relationship with Russia goes back decades, New Delhi’s ties with the West have grown ever closer since Modi’s election in 2014. Annual trade between India and the US is over $110 billion, compared to about $8 billion for India’s trade with Russia. In recent years, India has also become a major customer of US military equipment.

India is a member of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue along with the US, Japan and Australia.

Modi’s apparent criticism of Russia is the latest setback for Putin, whose forces have suffered major battlefield defeats in recent weeks. Ukraine says it has reclaimed about 8,000 square kilometers (3,000 square miles).

On Tuesday, a State Department official suggested that atrocities such as the mass burial discovered in the city of Izyum were quietly turning countries away from helping Russia.

“I think that the terrible behavior of the Russian forces, the brutality that we are seeing, in Izyum, again, about 500 bodies in a mass grave, women, children, soldiers shot in the head, terrifies the world again and people don’t want to be too close,” he said. civil servants