US 'playing long game' and 'investing in a relationship' with India: White House NSA

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By Reena BhardwajWashington [US], June 16 (ANI): As India continues to remain neutral on the Russian-Ukraine War, the United States said it is playing a “long game” with respect to its relationship with India and is “investing in a relationship” with India that is not going to be judged on its non-aligned foreign policy.

“India is a sovereign democratic nation, they will make their own decisions and we are not here to lecture them or to insist on a certain outcome,” White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan told at a forum organized by the Center for a New American Security (CNAS), a Washington based think tank.

India’s strategically independent foreign policy on the Russian-Ukrainian War that started earlier this year has put New Delhi in the international spotlight. As many hoped that India would have aligned itself with Ukraine and against Russia, given New Delhi’s growing involvement with Washington in the Quad grouping, Sullivan stressed that the US does not judge India for not participating in Russian sanctions imposed by the western world.

“We are playing the long game here. We are investing in a relationship that we are not going to judge by one issue,” the White House top official noted.

The US has often publicly acknowledged that it understands India’s historic ties with Russia and how it would be difficult for India to quickly cut its ties with Russia. Sullivan added that the US continues a strategic dialogue with India referring to regular telephonic conversations between President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the in-person meeting between the two leaders a couple of weeks ago in Tokyo.

“Obviously, we have different historical perspectives, different muscle memories, but we feel confident that the dialogue we have going with India right now will bear fruit over time, in a way that is not about forcing them to change or demanding, but rather, is the kind of iterative approach and a strategic relationship that tended well, will lead to better outcomes,” Sullivan added.

Sullivan further added that the Russian-Ukrainian War issue is “quite consequential”, but the US is going to judge India over the “fullness of time” as the two democracies work to converge on the major strategic questions facing the two countries.

“On one of those questions, how to deal with the challenge posed by China. There’s much more convergence today, and that is important to US foreign policy,” added Sullivan. (ANI)