India, Russia trying to bypass sanctions : Russian Foreign Minister

Russia and India are looking at ways to “bypass” the sanctions imposed by the United States, the EU and its partners, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Friday after talks with Foreign Minister S. Jaishankar. Mr Lavrov, who flew to Delhi from Beijing a week after Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s visit, met with Prime Minister Narendra Modi before his departure.

“The Prime Minister reiterated his call for an early end to the violence and conveyed India’s readiness to contribute in some way to the peace effort,” Modi’s office said.

The Foreign Ministry (MEA) said Jaishankar and Lavrov specifically discussed India’s concerns about the impact of the Ukraine crisis on its economy, noting that it was “important” to ensure that their economic and technical contacts remain “stable and predictable”.

“EAM [Jaishankar] emphasized that as an evolving economy, global volatility in various areas is of particular interest to India. It is important for both countries that their economic, technical and people-to-people contacts remain stable and predictable, “said a statement from MEA.

Visits by US Western officials

Mr Lavrov arrived on Thursday following a visit by senior officials from the United States, the European Union and the United Kingdom this week, all of whom warned India to try to circumvent the economic sanctions they had imposed by using a non-dollar “rupee ruble”. payment mechanism. They also expressed the hope that India would not further increase its oil intake from Russia, which has already grown in recent weeks.

While the MEA did not respond to the comments, including a direct warning from the US Deputy National Security Adviser that there would be “consequences” of such actions, Lavrov blamed the “West” for trying to “blackmail” India and other countries that did not included in sanctions, such as China.

“I have no doubt that a way would be found to circumvent the artificial barriers created by illegal unilateral sanctions from the West. This also applies to the area of ​​military and technical cooperation. We have no doubt that the solution would be found and the respective ministry working,” Lavrov said. at a press conference following its bilateral talks and made it clear that Russia is moving forward with both India and China in the use of national currencies rather than the dollar-based international systems, and these efforts would be “intensified”.

Earlier this week, a team from Russia’s central bank met with Reserve Bank of India officials to try to resolve payment problems and identify banks that have been immunized from the sanctions network.

Move to national currencies

“The reason for moving to national currencies is the absolutely unreliable nature of our Western counterparts. We do not want to be dependent on the system that can be closed at any time, whose masters can steal your money overnight,” Lavrov remarked, referring to the decision to expel Russian banks from the global SWIFT payment system and freeze Russia’s foreign reserves.

In defense of Russia’s actions in Ukraine, Mr. Lavrov that there was no “war”, only a “special operation” carried out on military infrastructure, with an attempt to avoid civilian casualties.

UN OHCHR figures show that the number of civilians killed up to 31 March exceeds 3,100.

In his opening remarks at the bilateral talks in Hyderabad House, Jaishankar said the meeting took place “in a difficult international environment”. “India, as you know, has always been in favor of resolving disagreements and disputes through dialogue and diplomacy,” he said in a skewed reference to the Russian war in Ukraine.

The MEA statement said Jaishankar also stressed the principles of “respect for international law, UN Charter, state sovereignty and territorial integrity.” In response, Mr Lavrov praised the Indian government for not taking into account “Western attempts” to link all international issues to Ukraine’s situation, and to see the crisis in the “whole” situation.

Both delegations included officials dealing with Afghanistan and Iran, Zamir Kabulov and the Joint Secretary JP Singh.

The MEA statement added that Mr. Lavrov informed Mr. Jaishankar about the latest developments.

“Will not bow to Western pressure”

In his public comments, Mr. Lavrov that countries such as Russia, India and China would not bow to pressure from the West, and that the partnership between India and Russia would not change in the face of any pressure. “Those who try to implement such approaches do not understand the national identities of the countries they are trying to talk to by using ultimatums and blackmail.”

Over the past week, the visiting EU special envoy, the German NSA, the US Deputy NSA and the British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss have all been sharply critical of Russia and sought to strengthen its involvement in India. New Delhi had heard from US President Joe Biden, who called India “something shaky” among Quad members. A White House official said India’s position at the UN, where it abstained from voting for all to criticize Russia, was “unsatisfactory but not surprising”, and the US Secretary of Commerce said any attempt by India to undermine sanctions against Russia would be “deeply disappointing”.

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