President Biden’s draconian sanctions against Russia are continuing to sow backlash beyond the Western world, as Russia and India move toward trading in their respective currencies.
Moscow’s foreign ministry touted the progress in moving away from the dollar but said there is more work to be done, the Russian state media outlet RT reported.
India, Russia drift from dollar
The Russian diplomat Zamir Kabulov said that India and Russia are working toward transacting trade in their own currencies, but trade imbalances remain an issue.
“India still buys from us more than five times than it sells. Specialists are working on this, looking for a reasonable compromise,” the diplomat said.
Ironically, Biden’s sanctions on Russia have deepened economic ties between Russia and nations like China, India, and Brazil, which are also chafing at the dollar’s leverage after watching Biden wield the currency like a nuclear weapon.
Biden’s attempt to destroy Russia’s economy by cutting it off from the SWIFT international payment system spooked countries outside the West like India, which moved to allow the rupee as a medium of international trade earlier this year.
Fear of sanctions looms large
Indian lenders are wary of trading in rupees internationally after witnessing the economic warfare Biden has waged against Russia, Reuters reported.
“They (Western nations) can impose a sanction on us, it will be a major business and reputational loss,” one Indian banker said.
Still, economic ties are deepening between Russia and India.
India goes its own way
The ambivalence of India, the world’s biggest democracy, toward the war in Ukraine has rattled the Western alliance and undermined Biden’s moral argument that the war is a battle for democracy itself.
“For us, Russia has been a steady and time-tested partner and, as I said, any objective evaluation of our relationship over many decades would confirm that it has served both our countries very, very well,” Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar said last month.
There are also signs that the war in Ukraine is pushing Russia and communist China closer together. The nations conducted joint naval exercises in the East China Sea Thursday.
While India has pressured Russia to seek diplomacy to end the conflict in Europe, Biden has promised to support Ukraine for “as long as it takes.”