In a message with a twofold purpose, India’s Defense Minister Rajnath Singh addressed the Indian-American community of San Francisco by both warning China and rebuking Biden’s attempt to influence their foreign policy.
In an implicit criticism of Biden’s handling of the conflict in Ukraine, Singh made clear the diplomatic stance of Prime Minister Modi. India, he explained, “does not believe in a diplomacy of a zero-sum game,” and will pursue friendly relations with any other nation bilaterally.
“If India has a good relationship with one country,” Singh explained, “it does not mean that its relationship with any other country will deteriorate.”
In other words, India will continue treating Russia the same that it has always done and expects the Biden administration to back off on its attempts to pressure Modi’s regime to do otherwise.
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U.S. officials have been highly critical of Modi’s decision to continue purchasing Russian oil at discount prices, and President Biden recently asked Modi not to accelerate purchases. After that call, White House officials indicated that they could not rely on India to “stand with them in fully condemning Putin.” Singh has confirmed their suspicions: India will not economically castrate itself to please Biden and his interventionist agenda. Instead, they will continue developing trade relations that benefit the Indian people regardless of how establishment figures in Washington feel.
Turning to China, Singh addressed the growing threat to India’s east, where clashes between Chinese and Indian troops have left soldiers dead on both sides.
“I cannot say openly what [Indian soldiers] did and what decisions we took. But I can definitely say that a message has gone to China that India will not spare anyone if India is harmed,” he said.
Since 2020, a standoff between the two BRICS members has been fraught with tension as both contest ownership of the Ladakh region. That year, two significant clashes left 20 Indian soldiers dead and an undisclosed number of Chinese troops. But, Singh has now implied that China received the worst of it.
Singh closed his address with a few remarks that should raise concern among Americans hoping for a better future. Highlighting and praising the unwillingness of San Francisco’s Indian population to assimilate, he congratulated them for “maintaining this complete Indian identity.”
“This is not a small thing. People lose their cultural identity when they stay at some place for a long time,” he said.