India has had a long-standing defence relationship with Russia for many years when the United States was not available to be a partner, a top advisor of US Secretary Antony Blinken said, adding that "Washington fully understands New Delhi's long-standing ties to Moscow."
Derek Chollet, Blinken's top advisor said that the US is there to support India and the partnership between US and India has tremendous potential. "We understand that India has had a long-standing defence relationship with Russia over many years and part of that was because the United States was not available to be a partner. It is decades ago and we face a much different reality today. Over the last 10 years, the US-India Defence Partnership has changed dramatically," he said.
Asserting that India is a strategic partner of the United States, Chollet said: "We're natural allies. And this partnership has tremendous potential. It's already paying dividends for both countries in the region and all around the world. And we think, really, there's nowhere to go but up."
He also noted that the US is in close touch with India. "We fully understand their long-standing defence ties to Russia," Blinken's top advisor said.
It is to be noted that Russia might not be able to make equipment at its previous rates due to sanctions imposed against Moscow. Some of the Russian arms plants reportedly have halted production as they face difficulties in importing source components.
When asked about how the US is planning to use this opportunity (arms export) to lure India, Blinken's top advisor said: "It's not so much about luring India away. We see this partnership is growing organically. And this is something both sides seek to achieve in terms of making our relationship across the board but especially our defence relationship, even stronger."
The Indian military uses several Russian-made weapons, including tanks, artillery guns and missile systems. New Delhi has also signed deals to purchase Russia's S-400 air defence system, which has been under threat of US sanctions under Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA).