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All eyes on US Treasury Secy Yellen’s tour to New Delhi as India Russia ties deepen

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen meet in New Delhi

Amid deepening ties between India and Russia, US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen’s four day tour to India—her first since she took charge is being closely monitored. As Yellen said that ‘like-minded countries’ must come together to boost economic and trade cooperation among each other, Beijing based Global Times said that given India’s economic potential, “it is not surprising that the US wants to deepen economic ties with the country.”

Though Yellen and Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will hold the ninth meeting of India-US Economic Financial Partnership today, analysts said that the outcome of the visit will be scrutinised especially with a volatile geopolitical and geoeconomic situation.

The Narendra Modi government, notwithstanding rising pressure from the US and other western countries to condemn Russia in the wake of its Ukraine invasion, has continued to purchase oil from Moscow.

Sitharaman said India will continue to rely on the US to address the global economic challenges, in a more coordinated manner and in strengthening multilateralism.

The Wall Street Journal said that the US has shifted its approach to India since the invasion of Ukraine began, at first calling out its ties to Russia and warning the country against massively increasing its purchases of cheap Russian oil. “Now, the Biden administration is encouraging India to purchase Russian oil under a price determined by the U.S. and its allies, while more broadly tolerating the country’s relationship with Russia, analysts and administration officials say,” the report said.

“The focus isn’t who else India talks to, it’s how India interacts with the United States,” the news organisation quoted Jay Shambaugh, a counselor to Yellen as saying.

Meanwhile, Yellen said with concerns on supply chain, India and US should work together. She also said that the two countries share a common interest in strengthening the supply chains in a world “where certain governments wield trade as a geopolitical weapon.”

“For too long, countries around the world have been overly dependent on risky countries or a single source for critical inputs,” Yellen said. “For too long, countries around the world have been overly dependent on risky countries or a single source for critical inputs,” she added.

Also read: Why China’s Party Congress shows India has a five- year window to beef up its military deterrence