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New York : The US expects a policy alignment with India on sanctions on Russia for its invasion of Ukraine “to the maximum extent possible”, according to a senior US official.

“India is our friend, India is our partner and we share interests and we share the fundamentals at stake in this struggle,” the official said on Wednesday.

“We have had extensive discussions about ways to advance our cooperation on global food security, global energy supply, and of course in the context of recognizing that (Russian President Vladimir) Putin’s brutality affects all of us, The official informed reporters on this condition. Due to non-recognition.

The officials were responding to a journalist’s question on India and the latest set of sanctions imposed on Russia and how far it has moved towards “convergence” with the US on the matter.

“The geopolitical implications of Russia’s actions have ripple effects,” the official said.

“And, of course, we are hopeful that we can do the alignment to the maximum extent possible,” the official said.

The degree of alignment in the two countries’ approaches could be tested as early as Thursday when the UN General Assembly is expected to vote on a US resolution to suspend Russia from the Human Rights Council.

On Monday, India made its toughest statement ever on Ukraine, condemning atrocities allegedly committed by Russian troops in Buka and calling for an independent investigation.

In response to images of killings and atrocities against civilians in Buka, the US imposed a new set of sanctions targeting Russia’s biggest financial institutions Sberbank and Alfa Bank, as well as members of Putin’s family, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and other officials. announced.

sanctions and an obsession with what might be described as racially differentiated approaches of the American liberal mainstream media to India.

In a clear example, NBC network correspondent Andrea Mitchell asked Blinken, “Why aren’t we banning China and India” in an interview that aired on Wednesday because they “buy fuel from Russia and fuel this war.” , help finance Putin’s war”.

And while it acknowledged that “there are major loopholes and Europe is still buying natural gas and will still be for another year,” he did not suggest sanctioning European countries to buy Russian energy as he did in India and China. had to have.

Blinken did not respond to his question about sanctions on India and China.

At a White House briefing by President Joe Biden’s spokesperson Jen Psaki, a reporter asked about “pressure” on India not to work with Russia or to provide aid.

Saki pointed out that India is importing only between 1 to 2 per cent of its oil from Russia and added, “We are ready to support India – to diversify its imports and serve as a reliable supplier.” in any endeavor.”

To the reporter’s question whether the absence of an ambassador is affecting how the US can put pressure on India, Saki said, “We also engage with countries through multiple channels.”

He referred to a recent visit to New Delhi by Deputy National Security Adviser Dalip Singh, who said it “clearly stated what would be the consequences and mechanisms for violating the sanctions”.

He also clarified that “we do not think that India should accelerate or increase imports of Russian energy and other goods, even as clearly these decisions are made by individual countries,” he said. said.

Eric Garcetti’s nomination as ambassador to India has hit a roadblock in the Senate, which is yet to approve the appointment of envoys.

Due to questions if the mayor of Los Angeles knew about the sexual assault allegations against a close aide and did not act, two Republican senators have blocked the nomination from coming to the full Senate for a vote, even though It has to be approved by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

In an evenly divided Senate, Biden’s Democratic Party would need the support of all 50 of its senators to fix the nomination without the support of any Republican senators.

But some Democrats are hesitant to declare support for Garcetti.

Psaki reiterated that Biden stands with him.

He said New Delhi is an “incredibly important diplomatic position”.

The senior administration official’s mention of a “widespread discussion about ways to advance our cooperation on global food security” opens up another avenue for cooperation between the US and India – and possibly the Quad – on a global problem.

Exports from Russia, the world’s largest wheat exporter and Ukraine, the world’s largest wheat exporter, have been disrupted by the invasion, prompting the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) to warn that a food crisis particularly affecting developing countries is imminent. Because availability will have an impact on wheat and its prices.

India is the world’s second-largest producer of wheat after China, but its exports have been small – about 5.5 million tonnes last year, according to US Department of Agriculture data.

While its domestic consumption is huge, India is sitting on huge stock of wheat. Much more than a safety net buffer would be needed and New Delhi could take steps to fill some of the global food gap – estimated at around 100 million tonnes.

As a model for this, India provided COVID-19 vaccines across the world, especially to developing countries and the Indo-Pacific Group of India, the US, Japan and Australia under the joint humanitarian program of the Quad. Produce 1 billion doses of the vaccine for distribution in developing countries.

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