Ever since the Ukraine war started, the US has been trying to scare off India. It has been making all kinds of threats to get New Delhi to toe the US-NATO line. However, India remains unmoved and maintains that it will follow its interests in this regard.
So, when India and the US held a 2+2 dialogue involving the Foreign and Defence Ministers from both sides, the US fielded all its heavyweights to scare off India. However, India made one thing clear- it won’t bow down to the US or any other superpower of the past. How? Well, let’s find out.
The USA fields all its heavyweights
The US fielded all its heavyweights when India’s Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and External Minister Jaishankar met their US counterparts in order to intimidate India.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defence Secretary Llyod Austin were present at the 2+2 meeting.
However, Biden too got involved in the matter. He held a virtual meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi ahead of the 2+2 meeting. He also met India’s two Ministers in the US. This was obviously a show of strength from the US side.
Threats, threats and more threats
There was an unprecedented volley of US threats on display that started with the Modi-Biden virtual summit itself.
President Biden made the obvious threat against buying Russian oil.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said, “The president … conveyed that we are here to help them diversify their means of importing oil. The imports from the United States are already significant, much bigger than the imports that they get from Russia.” Psaki added, “The president conveyed very clearly that it is not in their interests to increase that.”
Blinken echoed Biden’s remarks. He said, “When it comes to oil purchases, sanctions, et cetera, I just note that there are carve-outs for energy purchases. Of course, we’re encouraging countries not to purchase additional energy supplies from Russia. Every country is differently situated, has different needs, requirements, but we’re looking to allies and partners not to increase their purchases of Russian energy.”
And then, there were other kinds of threats too. Blinken said, “We are monitoring some recent concerning developments in India, including a rise in human rights abuses by some government, police and prison officials.”
And yes, there was CATSAA too. Blinken said that the US had not yet made a decision on potential CATSAA sanctions or waivers over the purchase of the Russian S-400 air defence system by India. He was suggesting that we haven’t sanctioned you, but we can if things don’t go as per our narrative.
India scares off the Biden administration officials
However, India remained unmoved. Firstly, Prime Minister Narendra Modi went about his business during the virtual summit without offering any explanation over the Russia-Ukraine crisis.
And then, India’s Ministers too made it clear that New Delhi won’t alter its stand to suit the US. Jaishankar said, “If you are looking at energy purchases from Russia, I would suggest that your attention should be focused on Europe, which probably – we do buy some energy which is necessary for our energy security, but I suspect looking at the figures, probably our total purchases for the month would be less than what Europe does in an afternoon.”
And the Biden administration officials actually got scared off. Senior US administration officials reportedly said, “We are not going to tell India what to do.”
Jen Psaki too said, “I will let PM Modi and Indians speak on that. It’s only 1-2 per cent at this point in time, they import 10 per cent from the United States. It is no violation of any sanctions or anything along those lines.”
So, the US was trying to pressurize India with all its might. But it is India that scared the US heavyweights off.