New Delhi: US Deputy National Security Advisor for International Economics, Daleep Singh, a key architect of Washington DC’s economic sanctions against Russia, created controversy in India Thursday when he urged the country not to enhance ties with Moscow.
He made the remark while on a two-day visit to New Delhi that began Wednesday, and hours before Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov arrived in the national capital.
In an interview with CNN-News18, he said it is unlikely that Russia would come to India’s defence should China breach the Line of Actual Control (LAC) again.
“The more Russia becomes China’s junior partner, the more leverage China gains over Russia, the less and less favourable that is for India’s strategic posture. Does anyone think that if China breaches the Line of Actual Control, that Russia would now come to India’s defence? I don’t,” he said.
Brahma Chellaney, geostrategist and professor of strategic studies at the Centre for Policy Research in New Delhi, noted in a tweet Friday that Chinese aggression at the LAC had been going on for almost two years, but US President Joe Biden hadn’t yet commented on the issue.
While interacting with journalists in New Delhi Thursday, Daleep Singh had cautioned that there would be consequences for countries actively attempting to “circumvent or backfill” American sanctions against Moscow, adding that the US would not like to see a “rapid” acceleration in India’s import of energy and other commodities from Russia.
Singh hails from an illustrious Sikh family and is the grand-nephew of the first ever Asian-American to be elected to the US Congress. The 47-year-old, who was appointed to the Biden administration in February last year, has previously also been part of the Barack Obama administration, in which Biden was Vice-President.
Grandnephew of first Asian US Congressman
Daleep Singh was born to a Sikh family in Olney, Maryland, and was raised in North Carolina. In an op-ed for the White House last June, he wrote, “My parents left India for America in the 1970s. I was born in Maryland, spent a few years in Chicago, and settled in North Carolina when I was about seven years old.”
He also detailed how his father, a turbaned Sikh, was once told by his boss that if he wanted to keep his job, he’d need to fit in better: “So that’s what my dad did — he sacrificed part of his identity to provide for his family.”
Singh earned his Bachelor’s degree from Duke University, and an MBA/MPA from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Harvard, with a focus on international economics.
Singh’s family has roots in politics. His granduncle, Dalip Singh Saund, was the first Asian-American to be elected to the US Congress. Saund served as a US House Representative from California from 1957 to 1963, and was popularly nicknamed “Judge” by colleagues and peers.
Saund, who hailed from Chhajjalwaddi in Punjab, first arrived in the US in 1920 and studied at the University of California’s agricultural school and mathematics department. In Los Angeles, he met his wife, Marian Kosa, and became a naturalised US citizen in 1949. That was his ticket into the Imperial County Democratic Central Committee, after which he began contesting in local elections to Congressional races.
Politics, academia & private sector
In February 2021, Daleep Singh was appointed Deputy National Security Advisor in the National Security Council, and deputy director of the National Economic Council, as part of the Biden administration.
In February 2020, he had joined the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, and also served as a member of the Executive Committee. At the New York Fed, he served as head of the Markets Group, which entailed forming policy, strategy and other operational and analytical tasks for the bank.
Like many of Biden’s administrative picks, Singh was part of the Obama administration. He served in the US Treasury from 2011 to 2017, as acting assistant secretary for financial markets and deputy assistant secretary for international affairs.
Apart from politics, Singh has held positions in the private sector and academia. For example, he was the chief US economist of SPX International, a global investment firm, and then briefly a non-resident Senior Fellow with the Atlantic Council, as well as an adjunct lecturer at Johns Hopkins University, School of Advanced International Studies.
(Edited by Gitanjali Das)