New Delhi: The Kremlin is pressuring governments including India behind the scenes, threatening to upend defence and energy deals “unless they help block moves” by mostly Western countries at the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), aimed at turning Russia into a financial pariah over the Ukraine war, reports Bloomberg.
The FATF is an inter-governmental organisation that sets standards for combating dirty money, and pressure is building up on it to add Moscow to its “black list” or “gray list”. Bloomberg says it has reviewed documents and spoken to many people to establish how Russia is “targeting commercial partners ahead of a June meeting of the global watchdog against money-laundering”.
FATF had suspended Russia from membership of the body in February and Ukraine is pushing for further restrictions on Russia.
The Indian and Russian authorities did not respond to Bloomberg with comments but the agency says Russia has warned India that any further squeezing by FATF could put the following projects “under threat”:
1. Cooperation between oil giant Rosneft and Nayara Energy Limited,
2. Exports of Russian weapons and military equipment to India as well as defence sector technical cooperation,
3. Russian proposals for new joint aviation projects presented at the Aero India 2023 exhibition in February,
4. Technology and energy cooperation at the Kudankulam nuclear power plant in India, and
5. An agreement between Russian Railways’ RZD Logistics and the Container Corporation of India on cargo transportation services linked to development of a North-South trading corridor.
The US and its allies have managed to put pressure on Russia by turning it into the world’s most sanctioned country over the war in Ukraine, but Russia has softened the blow to its economy “by boosting ties with China, India and other countries that have stayed neutral”.
Blacklisting by the FATF would mean drawing a hard line, which would be tough for India to ignore and carry on with business as usual with Russia.
India has been abstaining on all the UN body resolutions on the Russian invasion of Ukraine over the last more than a year.
Bloomberg cites a Russian state agency earlier this month which “warned counterparts in India of a cascade of unpredictable and negative consequences for cooperation in defense, energy and transportation if the FATF adopts new measures against Russia, according to the officials, who asked not be identified because the issue is sensitive”.
The agency urged India in May to “vocally” oppose any moves by Ukraine to add Russia to the “black list” of FATF at a meeting expected to be held next month.