Not in India’s best interests to invest in Russian military equipment, says US defence secretary

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United States Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on Tuesday said it was not in India’s best interest to continue investing in Russian military equipment, PTI reported.

Austin made the remarks during a Congressional hearing on the annual defense budget in the presence of members of the House Armed Services Committee.

“We continue to work with them [India] to ensure that they understand that it’s not in their – we believe that – it’s not in their best interest to continue to invest in Russian equipment, ”Austin said, according to PTI.

He added that it was Washington’s requirement going forward that India downscales the type of equipment they are investing in. “And look to invest more in the types of things that will make us [Washington] continue to be compatible, ”he remarked.

Austin was responding to a question by Congressman Joe Wilson, who had been urging India to speak out against Russia’s aggression in Ukraine.

“Gruesomely, our treasured ally India, the world’s largest democracy, is choosing to align itself with the Kremlin by choosing Russian weapons systems over American and allied options,” Wilson said, according to PTI.

He further asked Austin about the possible weapons platforms that the United States could offer to India through its foreign military sales program that would “incentivize” New Delhi to reject Russia.

To this, Austin said that the United States has a range of capabilities that it can provide or offer to India.

Last week, the United States Deputy National Security Advisor Daleep Singh had also cautioned India saying that countries that attempt to circumvent the sanctions imposed on Russia will face consequences.

The US official had warned that Russia would not help India if China made incursions along the Line of Actual Control again.

Singh had made these remarks after it had emerged that India was considering options to buy crude oil from Russia as its prices have fallen during the Ukrainian conflict.

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