US Treasury official to visit India amid tensions in Ukraine

WASHINGTON (AP) — A senior Treasury Department official is scheduled to make his first official trip to India next week since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine began.

Amid tensions over India’s neutral stance on the invasion that began in late February, the United States wants the meetings to focus on how to deepen ties with the South Asian nation.

Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo will travel to Mumbai and New Delhi for meetings that include Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s office, the Ministry of Finance, the Reserve Bank of India and the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas.

And as India is set to lead the Group of Twenty intergovernmental forum in 2023, the Treasury said Adeyemo “will discuss key common priorities such as enhancing energy security, tackling insecurity food in the world and the fight against illicit financial flows”.

India has not shunned Russia despite its membership in the regional Quad alliance with the United States, Australia and Japan. Instead, it maintained its trade ties with Russia, depending on the Kremlin for energy and other exports.

The nation has increased its purchases of Russian oil, buying about 60 million barrels so far in 2022, compared to just 12 million barrels in 2021, according to commodity data firm Kpler.

The United States and Europe, however, are moving away from Russian energy – with Treasury officials promoting a cap on Russian oil prices.

A Treasury statement said Adeyemo will meet leaders from the financial services and energy sectors in Mumbai and discuss strengthening economic ties between the United States and India.

He will also highlight “the deep economic, security and cultural ties of our two countries” 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 second most populous country in the world and the largest democracy based on a population of 1.4 billion people.

On Sunday, President Joe Biden released a statement celebrating India’s 75th anniversary of independence, calling the United States and India “indispensable partners.”

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