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Ahead of Putin's India visit, US warns not good time for business with Russia

Source: PTI
December 06, 2014 15:52 IST
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Ahead of Russian President Vladimir Putin's India visit, the United States has said it would not impact President Barack Obama's trip to the country in January but warned now was not the right time to do business with Russia.

"It is possible to have good relationships with multiple countries even when we disagree on things," State Department Deputy Press Secretary Marie Harf told reporters.

"But again, it is not, to my knowledge, impacting any visits one way or the other," said Harf when asked about Putin's visit to India next week.

The visit, expected to focus two-way trade which currently stands at $10 billion, will be Putin's first since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took over in May.

Obama is also scheduled to visit India to attend the annual Republic Day celebrations as chief guest in January. "First, let's wait and see what comes from the visit. I know there is a lot of rumours, often of trade deals or economic deals, but let's see what is actually put into practice here," said Harf.

"What we have said before, now is not the time for business as usual with Russia. We have conveyed this certainly to our allies and to our partners across the world," she said.

Russia has been heavily sanctioned by the US and the European Union for its support to pro-Moscow rebels in eastern Ukraine and its annexation of Crimea earlier this year.

On India-US civil nuclear cooperation, Harf said the two sides have renewed their commitments to fully implement the cooperation agreement, to find a way to allow US-origin reactors to eventually be built in India. "The two leaders also agreed in their joint statement to establish a contact group for advancing the implementation of civil nuclear energy cooperation, which will address administrative issues, liability, technical issues, licensing, and other topics as required.

"So there's a path forward here for this to keep moving," Harf said.

Responding to another question on India's dealing with Russia and Iran, the spokesperson said: "We certainly do not turn a blind eye to any action that could be sanctionable when it comes to sanctions on any country. That is certainly not true."

Harf said the US, in fact, has very vigorous sanctions enforcement and work very closely with its partners to ensure they can meet their obligations under international sanctions architectures.

Image: Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Russian President Vladimir Putin

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