Dmytro Kuleba urges India to end its close ties with Russia

Dmytro Kuleba

Days after Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba urged India to drop its “Soviet legacy” ties with Moscow, US Ambassador to India Eric Garcetti, commenting on the alleged involvement of a government official in the assassination plot targeting Khalistani separatist Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, warned New Delhi not to cross an “unacceptable red line.”

Kuleba arrived in India on March 28 for a two-visit as part of his effort to drum up support from Global South countries. After arriving in New Delhi, he told local media that India “is a very important player in the world, and we need India to restore just and lasting peace in Ukraine.” The words are not only a recognition of India’s growing importance but are also part of a charm offensive following Kiev’s unjustified criticisms of the South Asian country in recent years.

It is recalled that Kuleba himself criticised India in 2022 for purchasing Russian oil. He changed his tune days before his arrival in New Delhi, telling The Times of India newspaper that Kiev was not against India’s economic engagement with Russia but that the “red line for Ukraine is financing Russia’s war machine.”

After gaslighting India by claiming that it was not against economic engagements with Russia, Kuleba said in an interview with the Financial Times, “The cooperation between India and Russia is largely based on the Soviet legacy. But this is not the legacy that will be kept for centuries; it is a legacy that is evaporating.”

There is absolutely no indication that the Soviet legacy of Moscow-New Delhi ties is evaporating; rather, the partnership is only strengthening further.

Since the launch of the Russian military operation in Ukraine, New Delhi has received a barrage of criticism from the West for remaining neutral while deepening trade and energy ties with Moscow as Western sanctions failed to collapse the Russian economy. With the war now in its third year and criticisms towards India have mostly ceased, even from Kuleba himself, it is ridiculous to believe that the Soviet legacy has “evaporated.”

Indians vividly remember that the US has traditionally favoured Pakistan to the detriment of India and that even though there are currently mutual interests in opposing China, that does not mean New Delhi is now subject to the full interests and whims of Washington. Evidence of US domineering efforts against India is seen with the US Ambassador recently providing a “red line” warning.

No government or its employee can be involved in the alleged assassination of another country’s citizen, which is “just an unacceptable red line,” said Garcetti in a direct reference to the alleged assassination plot of Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, a New York-based lawyer who seeks Sikh separatism in northwest India, otherwise known as Khalistan.

In the interview with ANI on March 31, the US ambassador added, “Any country, having an active member of their government involved in a second country trying to assassinate one of their citizens. That’s, I think, usually a red line for any country. That’s a basic issue of sovereignty. That’s a basic issue of rights.”

Despite Gurpatwant Singh Pannun making continued threats against India and Prime Minister Narendra Modi and being recognised as a terrorist by Indian authorities, he enjoys dual citizenship in the US and Canada.

“The position of my government is that in this particular case, there has been certain information provided to us which we are investigating,” Jaishankar said, highlighting India’s interest in its own security on this topic. “So, as and when we have something to say on the investigation, we would be very glad to speak about it. At this point, beyond the fact that there is an investigation going on, we have nothing more to say.”

It is noted that Garcetti’s comments come as US authorities allowed pro-Khalistan extremists to hold another referendum on Khalistan in California on March 31 despite repeated requests from India to end these attacks on its sovereignty.

Effectively, the US harbours Sikh separatists recognised as terrorists by New Delhi but then issues “red lines” whilst also urging India to relinquish its deep-rooted ties with Moscow. Adding insult to injury, the US proxy Kuleba also tried to dissuade India from Russia, stating that it is “largely based on the Soviet legacy,” which falsely alludes that there are not many commonalities or mutual interests in their relations today.

As India continues to rise, Washington and its most ardent proxies will continue to gaslight and softly antagonise the South Asian country but not push hard enough so long as Russia and China remain the top priorities. Nonetheless, what it does show is that although the US and Ukraine do not have India’s best interests in their consideration, they still recognise India as an important player in the 21st century and the need to have its support.


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