Johnson pledges to prevent British exports to India from ending up in Russia | Boris Johnson
Boris Johnson has said he will plug the loopholes to ensure British exports to India don’t end up being used in Russian weapons, as he admitted the war in Ukraine could continue until the end of the year. next year and that Russia could win.
Speaking in Delhi at the end of a two-day visit, the British PM warned that Vladimir Putin was resorting to a “radical approach” in Ukraine; and suggested that the UK would help “fill” countries, including Poland, if they supplied heavy weapons such as tanks to kyiv.
Johnson was asked for a report from the Royal United Services Institute (Rusi), warning that India was a major arms smuggling route to Vladimir Putin’s regime.
He pointed to the ban on exporting tech products to Russia, saying, “We want to make sure we keep this tight. We will be careful not to allow any loopholes of any kind…we will take steps to ensure that these things do not come through other routes into Russia.
Hours before Rusi’s analysis was published, the government announced it would ease arms export license agreements with New Delhi by issuing an open general export license to India, welcoming cooperation tighter on defense as one of the victories of the Prime Minister‘s two-day trip.
Rusi’s report, a 26-page overview of Russia’s military situation, says Western economic sanctions mean Moscow will become increasingly dependent on smuggling components to keep its jets, missiles and other munitions functioning. high tech. Some components have a dual civilian and military use.
Its authors, Jack Watling and Nick Reynolds, warn that “Russia has put in place mechanisms for laundering these articles via third countries”, and they argue that India should be subject to specific restrictions. “Restricting access therefore probably means preventing the export to countries like India of goods that are in some cases used for civilian purposes,” they write.
They add: “Additionally, there are a myriad of companies based around the world, including in the Czech Republic, Serbia, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Turkey, India and China, who will take considerable risks to meet the Russia’s supply needs”.
Labour’s shadow defense secretary John Healey accused Johnson of taking a “vanity trip” and urged him to do more to press India to clamp down on exports that could be used for defence.
“Boris Johnson’s vanity trip to India was designed to distract from his breaking the law and his failure to tackle the cost of living crisis. But he can use this report to help stop the Russian war in Ukraine. He must press for Prime Minister Modi to act urgently to crack down on arms parts passing through India and into the hands of Russia,” he said.
Asked about briefings from Western intelligence figures suggesting the Ukrainian conflict could drag on for many more months and result in a Russian victory, Johnson said: “The saddest thing is that it’s a realistic possibility.
“Of course Putin has a huge army. He has a very difficult political position because he made a catastrophic mistake, so the only option he has now is really to try to use his appalling, overwhelming, artillery-led approach, trying to crush the Ukrainians.
Johnson said Putin was close to securing Mariupol – but he paid tribute to Ukrainian resistance: “Whatever military superiority Vladimir Putin might be able to exert in the next few months – and I’m agree that it could be a long time – he will not be able to conquer the minds of the Ukrainian people.
He announced that the UK would reopen its embassy in Kyiv next week and suggested that more ministers could follow his example and visit the Ukrainian capital in the coming weeks.
And he suggested the UK could send arms to neighboring countries that could supply arms to Ukraine. “We are looking at sending tanks to Poland to try to help them as they send some of their T72s [tanks] in Ukraine,” he said.
A spokesperson for the MOD clarified the remarks on Friday evening, saying: “As announced by the Prime Minister, the UK is currently considering sending British Challenger 2 tanks to Poland. Although no decision was made, these would be deployed at short notice and operated by British service personnel to bridge the gap between Poland’s donation of tanks to Ukraine and the arrival of replacements.
Johnson discussed Russia’s invasion of Ukraine with Modi during bilateral talks on Friday morning.
Indian Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla told reporters that Johnson had “put no pressure” on Modi over the matter.
In a statement alongside Johnson on Friday, Modi called for an “immediate ceasefire” in Ukraine and stressed the importance of diplomacy, but did not criticize Russia, which is the biggest supplier of arms of India.
India has abstained in successive United Nations motions condemning Russia and continues to buy oil from Moscow.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov met Modi in Delhi this month and insisted the two countries would continue to find ways to trade, despite Western sanctions against Russia.