WASHINGTON (AP) — A top Treasury Department official is set next week to make his first official trip to India since the start of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Amid tensions over India’s neutral stance on the invasion that began in late February, the U.S. wants the meetings to focus on how to deepen ties with the South Asian nation.
Treasury Deputy Secretary Wally Adeyemo will travel to Mumbai and New Delhi for meetings that include Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s office, the finance ministry, the Reserve Bank of India, and the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas.
And as India is set to lead the Group of 20 intergovernmental forum in 2023, Treasury says Adeyemo will “discuss key shared priorities such as bolstering energy security, addressing food insecurity globally, and combatting illicit financial flows.”
India hasn’t shunned Russia despite its membership in the regional Quad alliance with the U.S., Australia and Japan, Instead, it has maintained its business ties with Russia, depending on the Kremlin for energy and other exports.
The nation has boosted its purchase of Russian oil, buying roughly 60 million barrels in 2022 so far, compared with only 12 million barrels in all of 2021, according to commodity data firm Kpler.
The U.S. and Europe, however, are moving away from Russian energy — with Treasury officials promoting a price cap on Russian oil.
A Treasury statement says Adeyemo will meet with financial services and energy sectors executives in Mumbai and will speak about strengthening economic ties between the U.S. and India.
He will also underscore “our two countries’ deep economic, security, and cultural ties” and discuss ways to build “more resilient supply chains” through the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework that India joined as a founding member in May.
India is the world’s second-most populous country and largest democracy based on a population of 1.4 billion.
On Sunday, President Joe Biden issued a statement celebrating India’s 75th anniversary of independence, calling the U.S. and India “indispensable partners.”