By Alistair Smout
LONDON -Britain is very disappointed with India’s stance on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, trade minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan said on Thursday ahead of the conclusion of a second round of trade talks.
India has avoided condemning Russian actions since it invaded Ukraine three weeks ago, to the frustration of allies including the United States, and abstained from voting at the United Nations calling out Russia’s aggression.
Earlier this week two Indian officials also said the country may take up a Russian offer to buy crude oil and other commodities at a discount.
Britain launched talks over a free trade agreement with India in January, and the second round of negotiations is due to finish on Friday. Both sides have said they aim to conclude discussions this year.
Asked if India’s stance towards Russia would impact those trade talks, Trevelyan said that she hoped India would shift its stance.
“We are very disappointed, but we continue to work with Indian partners and hope that their views will change,” she told reporters, adding that the talks could yield benefit for both sides.
“India is an incredibly important trading partner for the UK.”
Russia is a long standing arms supplier to India, and Britain’s foreign minister Liz Truss has suggested deepening economic and defence ties with India to help end its dependence on Moscow.
Trevelyan said that Britain would “continue to work with countries around the world to make sure that (Russian President Vladimir) Putin is unable to fund this war in the future.”
She spoke on the sidelines of the UK-Türkiye Green Finance Conference in London, where she announced Britain’s biggest ever export finance deal to build railways in Turkey.
She highlighted Turkey, a NATO ally, as standing robustly against Russia over its invasion of Ukraine.
“They are part of the challenge of stopping Putin’s ability to progress this war and we will continue to work closely with our Turkish partners on those matters,” she said.