US says it has raised concerns with India about ties with Russia

In this pool photo distributed by the Russian state agency Sputnik, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi shake hands during an informal meeting at the Novo-Ogaryovo state residence on July 8, 2024 [Getty]

The United States has raised concerns with India about its relationship with Russia amid Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, a US State Department spokesperson told reporters on Monday in response to questions about a meeting between Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Why it is important

India has faced pressure from the West to distance itself from Moscow after Russia invaded Ukraine. New Delhi has thus far resisted that pressure, citing its longstanding ties with Russia and its economic needs.

Modi met Putin in Russia on Monday in the prime minister’s first visit since Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022.

After meeting Moscow’s Indian community, Modi had an informal meeting with Putin at his residence at Novo-Ogaryovo outside Moscow, where the leaders drank tea on a terrace, rode in a golf cart together and visited stables.

In a post on social media platform X, the prime minister said his talks with Putin “will surely go a long way in further cementing the bonds of friendship” between the two countries.

Key quote

“I will look to Prime Minister Modi’s public remarks to see what he talked about but as I said, we have made quite clear directly with India our concerns about their relationship with Russia,” a State Department spokesperson said in a press briefing.

“And so we would hope (that) India and any other country when they engage with Russia would make clear that Russia should respect the UN Charter, should respect Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”


Russia has been India’s largest weapons supplier since the Soviet Union days. However, India has also been seeking other options, as the Ukraine war hobbled Russia’s ability to supply munitions and spares.

Modi last visited Russia in 2019 and hosted Putin in New Delhi two years later, weeks before Russia began its offensive against Ukraine.

India has shied away from explicit condemnation of Russia ever since and has abstained on United Nations resolutions censuring Moscow.

But Russia’s fight with Ukraine has also had a human cost for India.

New Delhi said in February that it was pushing the Kremlin to send back some of its citizens who had signed up for “support jobs” with the Russian military, following reports some were killed after being forced to fight in Ukraine.

Washington in recent years has looked to woo New Delhi, with political analysts saying the US sees India as a counter to China in the Asia-Pacific.

While the West has tried to isolate Putin, China, India and powers in the Middle East, Africa and Latin America have continued to build ties. 

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