New Delhi is pursuing a balanced and independent foreign policy, Denis Alipov says
Efforts by the US and its allies to pressure India into joining their campaign against Russia have been in vain, Moscow's ambassador to New Delhi, Denis Alipov, has said.
"The Western pressure on India continues. The policy in this regard is being openly formulated by the US - it's about tearing it [India] from Russia," Alipov told the Izvestia newspaper in an interview published on Monday.
The Russian diplomat added that "maintaining friendly relations with our country is in the national interests of India. I believe that it won't sacrifice them at somebody else's whim."
Amid Russia's standoff with the West over Ukraine, New Delhi has been "pursuing a balanced policy, demonstrating independence in decision-making," Alipov insisted. "The tactics of political pressure aren't working with it."
Since the outbreak of the conflict in Ukraine in February 2022, India has been reluctant to relent to demands by the US and EU to condemn Moscow or to join Western sanctions.
During a meeting with Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky at the G7 summit last month, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that New Delhi would do "everything we can" to help resolve the crisis between Moscow and Kiev.
Meanwhile, India has boosted economic ties with Russia, with trade turnover standing at $39.8 billion last year, according to New Delhi. The two nations had previously aimed to cross the $30-billion mark by 2025.
Russia has become India's largest supplier of oil, with deliveries increasing twelvefold in 2022 and reaching 24 million tons, Alipov pointed out. "It's important that the sides are interested in long-term contracts and not only when it comes to oil," he added.
Moscow and New Delhi are "creating and perfecting mechanisms that allow us to continue cooperating regardless of the unilateral anti-Russian sanctions," he stated.
One such mechanism is switching to national currencies in bilateral trade, the ambassador explained, adding that India "obviously sees risks linked to foreign currencies."
"I suppose we wouldn't have given up on the dollar if we weren't forced to do so. The de-dollarization trend is being set by the Americans themselves," Alipov claimed.