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US discussing Russian aggression in Ukraine with India: Biswal

Press Trust of India  |  Washington 

The United States is in touch with India over the alleged Russian aggression in Ukraine, a senior Obama Administration official has told lawmakers, who expressed concern over India's close relationship with Moscow.

"We do make the point to our Indian colleagues, as we do to friends around the world, about our perspective, particularly with respect to Russian aggression in the Ukraine and the implications that that has," Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Nisha Desai Biswal said during a Congressional hearing.

"And we will continue to have those conversations with India and with other partners around the world," she added.

Biswal was responding to questions from Congressman Steve Chabot, who chaired the hearing on India yesterday.

"New Delhi has given Russia's aggression in Crimea implicit approval and strongly opposed sanctions on Moscow, calling Moscow's interests in Crimea legitimate," Chabot said.

"Can the US trust India to be a reliable partner on significant geopolitical challenges if, for example, we can't get India's support on this growing crisis? And has the Malaysian airliner shoot down changed India's attitude at all in this particular area?" he asked.

Biswal responded by saying: "India has its own history and its own relationships that guide its foreign policy, but our belief is that the more that we're able to closely consult on these critical issues and challenges that we face around the world, that we hope that we can bring closer together our perspectives and align efforts as much as possible."

"I would consider myself to be very pro-India, but their attitude on this matter with respect to Russia is very disappointing, to say the least, and I think a lot of other members would probably agree on that," Chabot said.

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First Published: Sat, July 26 2014. 00:39 IST