On Tuesday, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin stated that the US expects India to reduce its reliance on Russian military hardware in the future. During a Congressional hearing on the annual defence budget, Austin told members of the House Armed Services Committee, “We continue to work with them (India) to ensure that they understand that it is not in their — we believe that — it is not in their best interest to continue to invest in Russian equipment.”
“And going forward, our need is that they downscale the types of equipment they invest in and try to invest more in the types of things that will keep us compatible,” Austin added.
The remarks came in response to a query from Congressman Joe Wilson, who criticised India’s stance on Russia in the midst of the continuing conflict between Russia and Ukraine. “Unfortunately, our valued ally India, the world’s largest democracy, has chosen Russian weapons systems over American and allied options,” Wilson added.
“What weapons platforms could we give through the foreign military sales programme to incentivize rush — Indian leaders to reject Putin and align with its natural democratic allies?” he wondered.
“I hope you will continue to work with India’s wonderful people.” “And what a powerful ally they can be if we remove some of the sales limitations,” Wilson remarked.
The United States is concerned about India’s reliance on Russian military hardware, but New Delhi has stated that it will continue to buy inexpensive Russian oil. On Monday, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki stated that the US feels that increasing Russian energy and other commodity imports is not in India’s best interests.
Tanks, artillery guns, and missile systems are among the Russian-made weapons used by the Indian military. New Delhi has also agreed to buy Russia’s S-400 air defence system, which has been sanctioned by the US under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA).