India’s Pacific friends unfazed by Russia’s arms purchases

“We don’t want to see any country dominate or be dominated,” Senator Wong said.

The two ministers also discussed the war in Ukraine, ahead of a key United Nations vote to condemn Mr Putin for annexing seized Ukrainian territories.

India abstained in the Security Council earlier this month on a similar resolution and Dr Jaishankar declined to say how the Indian representative would vote this time. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky urged countries not to remain neutral.

Dr Jaishankar said India was “very clearly against conflict” and noted how developing countries in the South had been hit by rising food and fuel prices.

“We believe that this conflict has not served the interests of anyone, neither of the participants nor even of the international community,” he said.

Critics have linked India’s failure to sufficiently condemn Russia and its purchase of cheap Russian oil to New Delhi’s role as a major customer for Soviet and then Russian military equipment.

But Dr Jaishankar said his reliance on Russian weapons was a necessity, although he hinted it could end after Moscow’s battlefield losses.

“Our Russian inventory has increased for various reasons…for several decades Western countries did not supply arms to India and in fact saw a military dictatorship next to us [Pakistan] as a privileged partner,” he said.

“We make judgments, judgments that reflect both our future interests and our current situation. And my feeling is that with respect to this current conflict, like any military conflict, there are lessons to be learned. And I’m sure my very professional colleagues in the military would study it very carefully.

Senator Wong reiterated that Australia viewed Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as illegal, but denied that India’s stance was a setback for the Quad and its promotion of the human rights-based international order. rules.

“The Quad is working extremely well and I think the level of strategic trust and strategic consistency between the Quad partners is deep and firm,” she said.

Dr Jaishankar added that the Quad was a “mechanism” primarily focused on Indo-Pacific issues, as that was where the convergence between the four members, Australia, India, Japan and the United States , was the strongest.