India wants to be a strong friend of the West, says Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman | India News


India wants to be a strong friend of the ‘liberal world’ but needs Russia’s help to defend its borders, says Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman amid criticism of its refusal to categorically condemn Vladimir Putin’s war against Ukraine.
India is the world’s largest buyer of Russian weapons, which it uses to deter aggression from its neighbors Pakistan and China, two countries that have long cooperated on defense matters. While the United States has traditionally sought to balance relations between India and Pakistan, which for years was an important partner in Afghanistan, more recently it has courted New Delhi to counter China.
Live Updates: Conflict between Ukraine and Russia
India may consider raising taxes on some goods and services as part of a transition to a simpler structure with fewer rates, according to people familiar with the matter.
“You have a neighbour, who joins forces with another neighbour, who are both against me,” Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said in an interview in Washington on Friday. “In the context of the Russian-Ukrainian war, God forbid, if alliances are created, India must be strong enough to protect itself.”
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government has already conveyed this “unique” geopolitical position to the United States, Sitharaman added. On Thursday, a senior US diplomat again warned China of sanctions if it offered “material support” for Putin’s war, while pledging to help India end its reliance on Russian weapons.
“India wants to be friends with the European Union and the Western world, free and liberal, but not as a weak friend who desperately needs help here and there,” Sitharaman said.
“Unless I am strong, given that I am geopolitically located in such an area, how do you expect me to defend myself?” she says. “Not strong as an enlarger or expansionist, but strong to defend our own 1.3 billion people – both politically, strategically and, equally important, economically.”
When asked if India was still looking for another payment mechanism for Russia to overcome the sanctions that excluded Russia from the Swift international payment system, Sitharaman said “at the moment there is no transaction of this importance”. She did not specify.

You Can Read Also

World News



মন্তব্য করুন

আপনার ই-মেইল এ্যাড্রেস প্রকাশিত হবে না। * চিহ্নিত বিষয়গুলো আবশ্যক।