12:39 PM EDT
Moderator: Awesome, thank you. And thank you to everyone who joined. So, as a reminder, this call is in the background, which is due to a senior executive, and the contents of the call are blocked until the end of the call.
For your awareness, not for reporting, our speaker today [senior administration official]. So, with that said, I’ll turn it over to you for some quick comments above, and then we’ll take some questions.
Senior Executive Officer: Awesome. Thanks, [moderator], And thank you to everyone who joined. As [moderator] I said make some comments and then let’s do some questions.
I wanted to talk about President Biden’s meeting with Prime Minister Modi. He almost met with Prime Minister Modi, and this precedes the US-India 2 + 2 ministerial post, which Secretary Flinken and Secretary Austin are holding today with their Indian counterparts.
President Biden last spoke to Prime Minister Modi along with other Quad leaders in early March. Also, you may recall that President Biden personally welcomed Prime Minister Modi to the White House last September.
During the meeting, President Biden said that our partnership with India is one of our most important relations and that the two leaders had the opportunity to have an hour-long, highly honest dialogue to discuss bilateral and global issues. The meeting was warm and productive, and they covered a lot of land.
Leaders were able to talk about joint efforts in a global effort to end the COVID-19 epidemic. They talked about climate. They talked about strengthening the world economy. They talked about maintaining a free and open Indo-Pacific region, including the development of the Indo-Pacific economic structure and infrastructure.
President Biden had the opportunity to continue our close consultations with our Government and with India at various levels for several weeks on Russia’s brutal war against Ukraine. The United States and India are jointly consulting on mitigating the effects of global volatility in the global food supply and other commodity markets.
And across 2 + 2, today, Secretary Blingen and Secretary Austin, of course, will have the opportunity to go many more, including compliance with these issues and sanctions – again, including cooperation in food distribution, including energy.
It also includes 2 + 2 scientific and technological partnership initiatives. They obscure relationships between people. They will cover up terrorism; Implementation of key security partnerships; New domains of cooperation in space and the Internet and emerging technologies; And multilateral cooperation.
But meeting the leaders at the top was a very useful touch point for both of them to share perspective on various issues.
So, I stop there and take two questions. Thanks.
Reviewer: Awesome. Can you please specify the instructions for asking a question?
Q, Can you talk a little bit about whether there is any discussion on the call about India’s energy purchases from Russia, whether there should be a formal agreement on whether to stop it and how it should be? thank you very much.
Senior Executive: Both leaders cover a full range of issues related to Russia-Ukraine. It was a very honest conversation. I think you have seen – even in Prime Minister Modi’s top comments, he talked about it. They were very direct conversations.
On energy issues: Of course, this is debatable. We know what India is – you know, we did not ask India to do anything in particular; We have a very open conversation. We know that not all nations can do what we do. We know that India is not the main consumer of Russia’s oil. Its current imports account for 1 to 2 percent of its total energy imports.
And, now, our energy payments – our energy payments are exempt from current restrictions. We are clear that we have been able to ban the import of oil and LNG and coal from Russia, but other countries have to make their own choices.
We do not think India should accelerate or increase Russia’s energy imports. And the US is ready to support India, stay in the conversation with India about diversifying its imports.
Q Hey there. Following the last question, but in a – slightly broader sense: India is one of the countries that has been most reluctant to speak out against the war in Ukraine. They have apparently abstained from many votes at the UN, including the next day’s referendum – on removing Russia from the Human Rights Council.
What – did the President bring it up? Is this an opportunity for the President to push India against the neutral position they have taken – you know? Did he do it specifically? Did you ask India in particular to take a side?
Senior Executive Officer: So, India is going to give its own judgments. Prime Minister Modi brought the situation back in his public comments and the debate took place. That is, the President shared his opinion and Prime Minister Modi shared his opinion.
In recent days you have seen some pretty strong statements condemning the killings of civilians in India and New York and supporting the demand for an independent inquiry. India also supplies humanitarian relief supplies to Ukraine, including medicine and other supplies.
In the early days there were close consultations about Indian students to be expelled from Ukraine.
So we are going to continue these talks with India. I think India will make its own decisions, but we are going to continue the discussions.
As I mentioned earlier, there have been discussions on how Putin can mitigate the destructive effects of the war, including on food supply, where India is in a position to help – and there has been discussion about what India can do. To do.
Q Hi. Thanks guys. In fact, following the previous two questions – in the case of oil, but on a wider scale I wondered if there were any explicit promises made by India. I know you said that the Prime Minister initially made some comments that seemed to use harsh words to condemn Russia’s behavior. Is this a kind of satisfactory condemnation from the point of view of the Biden administration?
Senior Executive: I mean, Prime Minister Modi used this opportunity to share his views in a very honest way about what is happening.
We know that India has concerns about the relationship between Russia and China. India is facing a very tense situation on the Line of Control. When India sees the close ties between China and Russia, it is going to obviously affect their thinking.
Was there – no definite questions or definitive answers, but the leaders were able to step back and exchange pretty detailed and honest opinions.
Q Hi, thank you. Thanks for doing this. Since the situation in both Sri Lanka and Pakistan is not so good, I wanted to ask you if the neighboring country was discussed. Did that issue come up for discussion, and what was it?
Senior Executive Officer: Yes, the leaders discussed regional developments in South Asia. They touched on some of the developments that have taken place in Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. I know our foreign colleagues can pursue those discussions. It was not a detailed discussion of the leaders, but it came. I hope there will be detailed discussions throughout the next day and a half.
Reviewer: Awesome. Everything is OK. Well, thanks to everyone, for joining. As a reminder, this call was in the background, due to a “senior executive”. Also the ban on the call will be lifted at the end of this call.
If you have any other questions, please contact me and we will make sure to contact you.
Thanks to everyone.
12:50 PM EDT