Rights abuse and Russian oil: Friction points at the India-US 2+2 ministerial talks

12 April, 2022 | Mayukh Debnath

Image Credit @DrSJaishankar/Twitter World

US is monitoring instances of human rights abuse in India, said US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in a joint press briefing after the 2+2 India-US Ministerial Dialogue.

India and US reiterated several usual bilateral commitments during the 2+2 India-US Ministerial Dialogue. However, some friction points emerged during the otherwise flawless diplomatic engagement. The 2+2 bilateral talks took place after the virtual meeting between Prime Minister Modi and US President Joe Biden.

Monitoring rights abuse in India

US is monitoring instances of human rights abuse in India, said US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in a joint press briefing after the 2+2 India-US Ministerial Dialogue. Blinken informed the press, “We are monitoring some recent concerning developments in India including a rise in human rights abuses by some government, police and prison officials.” This remark by the US side during the wider India-US summit came off as the lone thorn in a bed strewn with rose petals of diplomatic statements. Rajnath Singh and S Jaishankar chose to not comment on the remarks by Blinken.

Jaishankar’s repartee on purchase of Russian oil

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Monday (IST) reiterated India’s stand on purchase of Russian oil. Jaishankar stated, “If you’re looking at (India’s)energy purchases from Russia, I’d suggest your attention should be on Europe. We buy some energy necessary for our energy security. But I suspect, looking at figures, our purchases for the month would be less than what Europe does in an afternoon.”

US: Avoid defense deals with Russia

After the 2+2 ministerial dialogue between India and US on Monday (IST), US Secretary of State Antony Blinken urged all countries to avoid purchasing weapon systems from Russia. He remarked, “We continue to urge all countries to avoid major new transactions for Russian weapons systems, particularly in light of what Russia is doing to Ukraine.”

India the net security provider in Indo-Pacific

The delegation-level talks between Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and US Secretary of Defense Llyod Austin also touched upon the subject of Chinese hostility in the Indo-Pacific region. The US side stressed upon India’s role as the net provider of security in the region. Austin stated, “We have identified a new opportunity to extend the operational reach of our military to coordinate more closely together across the expanse of the Indo-Pacific. We walked on the Indian Navy’s decision to join the combined maritime forces in Moraine Bahrain and we have also committed to more high-end exercises together.”

Path to global economies passes through strong India-US ties: Rajnath

Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said that cooperation between India and US is vital for peace and security that is a prerequisite for access to global economies. “Today’s defence bilateral and 2+2 meeting between India and the US is very important to strengthen the strategic defence engagement. This meeting will make us more capable to work in areas of mutual interest. Our increasing cooperation will be important to accessing global economies and maintaining peace and security,” stated Singh.