Even before the Ukraine crisis erupted, Delhi upset Washington with its purchase of Russia’s S-400 air defense system
A senior White House official said on Friday India’s position at the United Nations over the crisis in Ukraine has been “unsatisfactory” but was also unsurprising given its historical relationship with Russia.
Mira Rapp-Hooper, director for the Indo-Pacific on the White House National Security Council, told a panel discussion it was necessary to provide India with alternatives to continued close ties with Russia.
“I think we would certainly all acknowledge and agree that when it comes to votes at the UN, India’s position on the current crisis has been unsatisfactory, to say the least. But it’s also been totally unsurprising,” she said.
India has developed close ties with Washington in recent years and is a vital part of the Quad grouping aimed at pushing back against China. But it has a long-standing relationship with Moscow, which remains a major supplier of its defense equipment. India has avoided condemning Russian actions in Ukraine and abstained in UN Security Council votes on the issue.
Rapp-Hooper said India had cleaved closer to Russia as a hedge as its relationship with China worsened, but it was thinking “long and hard” about its defense dependency on Russia.