US Treasury official to visit India amid tension over Ukraine

New Delhi has not shunned Moscow and has maintained business ties with the country in energy and other areas

Wally Adeyemo, the deputy treasury secretary, will discuss shared priorities such as bolstering energy and food insecurity. Antonie Robertson / The National
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A top US Treasury Department official is set next week to make his first trip to India since the start of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Amid tension over India’s neutral stance on the invasion that began in late February, the US wants the official visit to focus on how to deepen ties with the South Asian nation.

Wally Adeyemo, the deputy treasury secretary, will travel to Mumbai and New Delhi for meetings with officials from Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s office, the finance ministry, the Reserve Bank of India, and the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas.

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And as India is set to lead the Group of 20 intergovernmental forum in 2023, Treasury says Mr Adeyemo will “discuss key shared priorities such as bolstering energy security, addressing food insecurity globally and combating illicit financial flows”.

India has not shunned Russia despite its membership in the regional Quad alliance with the US, 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 about 60 million barrels in 2022 so far, compared with only 12 million barrels in all of 2021, commodity data firm Kpler reported.

The US and Europe, however, are moving away from Russian energy — with Treasury officials promoting a price cap on Russian oil.

A Treasury statement says Mr Adeyemo will meet financial services and energy sector executives in Mumbai and will speak about strengthening economic ties between the US 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 the largest democracy, based on its population of 1.4 billion.

President Joe Biden on Sunday issued a statement celebrating India's 75th anniversary of independence, calling the US and India “indispensable partners”.

Updated: August 19, 2022, 7:03 PM
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