India is unlikely to follow the American advice on pursuing an alternative option to defence and energy procurement from Russia, a leading American global strategy and commercial diplomacy firm said Tuesday.
In a report on India, the prestigious Albright Stonebridge Group (ASG) said that it has heard from involved officials that there is disappointment with India’s neutral approach to Russia.
“US lawmakers grew concerned over Delhi’s relationship with Moscow following India’s repeated reluctance to condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine at the UN,” it said.
US Under Secretary of State Victoria Nuland visited Delhi to clear the air in advance of the annual “2+2” meeting likely to be held in April, and reportedly urged the Indians to pursue alternative defence and energy procurement options to Russia, the report said.
“It is unlikely that the Indian government will follow this advice – at least not as quickly as Washington would like. This wedge could diminish India’s reputation as a partner among the US politicians and the public and reduce the administration’s confidence in the bilateral relationship’s near-term possibilities,” said Albright Stonebridge Group.
“Nonetheless, the Biden administration has outwardly sought to soothe the Congress by contextualizing India’s moves and expressing optimism for the overall trajectory of the bilateral relationship,” it said.
“India’s importance to the White House’s Indo-Pacific strategy has mostly led the United States to decouple the Russia issue from the overall relationship with India but we have heard from involved officials that there is disappointment with India’s neutral approach,” the report said.
According to the Albright Stonebridge Group, the ruling BJP held on to power in four state assembly elections, including in the key state of Uttar Pradesh.
“Overcoming historic anti-incumbency tendencies and criticism over uneven economic recovery, these victories are a favourable indicator for the party’s prospects in the 2024 general elections,” it said.
“Though the Aam Aadmi Party won for the first time in Punjab, the lacklustre performances by the All-India Trinamool Congress and the Indian National Congress point to a fractured opposition and the continuation of the BJP’s dominance in national politics,” it said.