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‘India has to Make Its Own Choices’: Top US Official John Kirby on Russian Oil

John Kirby also said that PM Modi's visit was aimed to convey the importance of the India-US bilateral relationship.

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During a press briefing on Friday, John Kirby, White House National Security Council (NSC) Coordinator for Strategic Communications, commented on Prime Minister Narendra Modi's State visit to the US and said:

"India has to make its own choices about (Russian) oil purchases and we hope that we can continue to see that they purchase Russian oil at or below the price cap, as they have been."

He emphasied that Modi's visit was not centered solely on China but aimed to convey a message about the importance of the bilateral relationship between India and the US.

Kirby stated, "This State visit (of PM Modi) wasn't about China. India has challenges with China as well right on their doorstep."

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Regarding India's independent stance on addressing challenges with China, Kirby mentioned, "Quiet frankly, India has challenges with China on their own and they address these challenges largely on their own."

Kirby also highlighted the depth of the partnership between India and the US, Kirby noted, "President and PM Modi reaffirm that the partnership between India and the United States is deeper and more expansive than ever."

He further emphasized India's consequential role in solving global issues, stating, "There is just simply no partner that's going to be more consequential to helping solve all those problems than India."

President Joe Biden also spoke about the significance of the India-US cooperation during the visit.

He said:

"Our cooperation matters, not just for our own people but quite frankly to the whole world as our partnership is about more than the next breakthrough or the next deal as big as they may be. It is about tackling climate change, about exploring the universe, about lifting people out of poverty, preventing pandemics and giving our citizens real opportunity."

PM Modi had previously expressed optimism about the future, saying, "The coming together of talent and technology guarantees a brighter future."

Since the beginning of Russia's invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, India has received a fair amount of criticism for buying oil from Russia amid the war.

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar has defended India's move and said that the current situation is such where every country will try striking the best possible deal for its citizens.

The foreign minister, during his interaction with the Indian community in Bangkok in August 2022, said:

“We are not doing it in a defensive way. We are being very open and honest about our interests. I have a country which has a per capita income of two thousand dollars. These are not people who can afford higher energy prices. It is my obligation, my moral duty to actually ensure that I get them the best deal.”

He said that the world has somewhat accepted New Delhi’s position because it did not defend its decision, but made other countries realise its obligation to the Indian people.

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