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'India wants to be a friend but only if you want to be a friend': FM Sitharaman on India-US ties amid Ukraine crisis

Source : Times Now

'India wants to be a friend but only if you want to be a friend': FM Sitharaman on India-US ties amid Ukraine crisis
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman (Photo : ANI)


Washington DC: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Saturday made India's stand clear with the United States amid New Delhi's continued trade with Russia despite its war in Ukraine.

She highlighted the security challenges that India faces in its own neighbourhood and how the US should understand the country's geography.

While addressing media in Washington DC, Sitharaman said, "The US should understand a friend's geography - our northern borders are under tension while the western border remains constantly at odds."

"India certainly wants to be a friend but if the US also wants a friend, the friend can't be a weak friend, the friend should not be weakened," she added.



India has been under pressure from the US to take a more forceful position against Russia's invasion of Ukraine and cease or curtail trading relations, especially energy imports. A senior US National Security Council official went as far as to threaten India with "consequences".

India has not condemned the invasion outrightly - and abstained on two votes in the UN Security Council - but it has made clear its disapproval of it.

"Your neighbourhood is what you have, as a given," Sitharaman said, adding, "You have to keep that in mind when you're talking about relationships."

She concluded by saying, "I see more windows of opportunities opening, rather than keeping an arms distance saying you have calibrated your position on Russia, doesn't seem like you are getting closer to us."

India has time and again cited its long-standing relationship with Russia going back decades to the ertswhile Soviet Union - including its decisive intervention in 1971 to keep off the US - and reliance on military hardware exports in support of its less-than-shrill condemnation of Russia.

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