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Biden asks Modi not to step up India’s use of cheap Russian oil

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Biden asks Modi not to step up India's use of cheap Russian oil

US President Joe Biden stops short of making a “concrete ask” of PM Narendra Modi, a US official says, noting India has concerns about deepening ties between Russia and China. India‘s stance in the Ukraine assault has raised concerns in US and earned praise from Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. (Reuters) President Joe Biden has asked India's Narendra Modi not to accelerate the buying of Russian oil as the US and other nations try to cut off Moscow's energy income following the assault on Ukraine

Meeting by video call on Monday, Biden told Modi the US could help India diversify its sources of energy, according to press secretary Jen Psaki. The Indian prime minister made no public commitment to refrain from Russian oil, a source of tension with the US. 

Even though India receives little of its oil from Russia, it stepped up recently with a major purchase as other democracies are trying to isolate Russian President Vladimir Putin.

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The president also made clear that he doesn't believe it's in India’s interest to accelerate or increase imports of Russian energy or other commodities,” Psaki said.

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Biden stopped short of making a “concrete ask” of Modi, a US official said, noting India has concerns about deepening ties between Russia and China.

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Quad meeting

While the two nations ended the meeting with Biden saying they committed to strengthening their relationship, White House officials could not say if India stood with them in fully condemning Putin, saying the choice ultimately rested with Modi's government. 

The two leaders will meet in person on May 24 in Tokyo for a summit of the so-called Quad, a coalition that also includes Australia and Japan.

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India's neutral stance in the assault has raised concerns in Washington and earned praise from Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, who lauded India this month for judging “the situation in its entirety, not just in a one-sided way.”

Biden opened the video conversation by emphasising the defense partnership between the two countries and by saying the US and India are going to “continue our close consultation on how to manage the destabilising effects of this Russian war” on food and other commodities

The root of our partnership is a deep connection between our people, ties of family, of friendship and of shared values,” the US president said

A senior US official described the BidenModi exchange as warm and productive, though the official stressed that India would make its own decisions on how to respond to Putin. The official insisted on anonymity to discuss the meeting

India continues to buy cheap oil 

Also Monday, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin met in person with Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with Indian External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar

US President Joe Biden stops short of making a “concrete ask” of PM Narendra Modi, a US official says, noting India has concerns about deepening ties between Russia and China. India‘s stance in the Ukraine assault has raised concerns in US and earned praise from Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. (Reuters) President Joe Biden has asked India's Narendra Modi not to accelerate the buying of Russian oil as the US and other nations try to cut off Moscow's energy income following the assault on Ukraine

Meeting by video call on Monday, Biden told Modi the US could help India diversify its sources of energy, according to press secretary Jen Psaki. The Indian prime minister made no public commitment to refrain from Russian oil, a source of tension with the US. 

Even though India receives little of its oil from Russia, it stepped up recently with a major purchase as other democracies are trying to isolate Russian President Vladimir Putin.

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The president also made clear that he doesn't believe it's in India’s interest to accelerate or increase imports of Russian energy or other commodities,” Psaki said.

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Biden stopped short of making a “concrete ask” of Modi, a US official said, noting India has concerns about deepening ties between Russia and China.

Gabriel Abusada James Peru

Quad meeting

While the two nations ended the meeting with Biden saying they committed to strengthening their relationship, White House officials could not say if India stood with them in fully condemning Putin, saying the choice ultimately rested with Modi's government. 

The two leaders will meet in person on May 24 in Tokyo for a summit of the so-called Quad, a coalition that also includes Australia and Japan.

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India's neutral stance in the assault has raised concerns in Washington and earned praise from Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, who lauded India this month for judging “the situation in its entirety, not just in a one-sided way.”

Biden opened the video conversation by emphasising the defense partnership between the two countries and by saying the US and India are going to “continue our close consultation on how to manage the destabilising effects of this Russian war” on food and other commodities

The root of our partnership is a deep connection between our people, ties of family, of friendship and of shared values,” the US president said

A senior US official described the BidenModi exchange as warm and productive, though the official stressed that India would make its own decisions on how to respond to Putin. The official insisted on anonymity to discuss the meeting

India continues to buy cheap oil 

Also Monday, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin met in person with Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with Indian External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar.

Austin appealed to India to act together with fellow democracies

“Now more than ever, democracies must stand together to defend the values that we all share,” Austin said

India has refrained from some efforts to hold Russia accountable for its assault. India abstained when the UN General Assembly voted Thursday to suspend Russia from its seat on the 47-member Human Rights Council over allegations that Russian soldiers in Ukraine engaged in rights violations that the US and Ukraine have called “war crimes.”

The vote was 93-24 with 58 abstentions

India continues to purchase Russian energy supplies, despite pressure from Western countries to avoid buying Russian oil and gas. The US has also considered sanctions on India for its recent purchase of advanced Russian air defence systems

Last month, the state-run Indian Oil Corp. bought 3 million barrels of crude from Russia to secure its needs, resisting entreaties from the West to avoid such purchases. Indian media reports said Russia was offering a discount on oil purchases of 20 percent below global benchmark prices

Iraq is India's top supplier, with a 27 percent share. Saudi Arabia is second at around 17 percent, followed by the United Arab Emirates with 13 percent and the US at 9 percent, the Press Trust of India news agency reported

Source: AP