India keeps Russia close, US sore

India keeps Russia close, US sore

India remained unfazed even as the US expressed its tacit disapproval of a series of agreements inked by New Delhi and Moscow after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin here on Thursday.

New Delhi did not officially respond to Washington’s remark on India’s bid to augment its defence, economic and energy ties with Russia. Sources, however, said on Friday that India’s position on the issue had been clearly conveyed to the US through diplomatic channels.

“We have seen press reporting on India concluding business, nuclear and defence deals with Russia, but not confirmation of those agreements or specifics of what those agreements would entail,” Marie Harf, spokesperson of the US State Department, told journalists in Washington. “Our view remains that it is not time for business as usual with Russia,” she said.

Notwithstanding US frowns, the Modi-Putin meeting on Thursday was followed by signing of 20 agreements, including one for supply of crude oil from Russia to India for the next 10 years and another for training India’s armed forces at defence institutes in Russia.

New Delhi and Moscow also outlined an ambitious agenda for cooperation in the nuclear energy sector. Russia will build at least 10 more reactors in India over the next 20 years, with transfer of technology and local manufacturing of spares and components.

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