Boris Johnson will use a visit to India this week to encourage Narendra Modi to loosen ties with Vladimir Putin’s Russia.
The Prime Minister will not seek to “lecture” his Indian counterpart, despite concerns within Government that Mr Modi has not been strong enough in condemning Russia’s actions in Ukraine.
Downing Street said Mr Johnson will promise to work with India and other countries in a similar position to reduce their dependence on Russian fossil fuels and defense equipment.
Cabinet Minister Brandon Lewis revealed the frustration within the Government about India’s position ahead of the Prime Minister’s visit.
“India has not yet come out as strongly as some of us would like to see about Ukraine,” the Northern Ireland Secretary told the BBC.
Mr Johnson will meet Mr Modi in New Delhi on Friday for talks.
At Tuesday’s Cabinet meeting, Mr Johnson told ministers the UK had a ‘deep and long-lasting partnership’ with India which he would seek to expand.
He said the UK would “continue to work with other countries to provide alternative options for defense procurement and energy for India to diversify supply chains away from Russia”, according to a Downing Street summary of the meeting.
But Mr Johnson said the UK “would not seek to lecture other democratically elected governments on what course of action was best for them”.
The Prime Minister’s official spokesman told reporters: “When it comes to India and other democratically elected countries we think the best approach is to engage with them constructively, to try to broaden the alliance of democratic states against Russia.
“We do not think that pointing fingers or shouting from the sidelines are effective ways of engaging with democratically elected countries.”