Prime Minister Narendra Modi today reiterated India’s neutral stance on the war in Ukraine during his virtual meet with US President Joe Biden, who declared that the two nations are going to continue “close consultation on how to manage the destabilising effects of this Russian war”. Speaking of India’s contributions to war-torn Ukraine in terms of medicines and relief material, PM Modi also reminded the US President of New Delhi’s condemnation of the Russian aggression against civilians in Ukraine’s Bucha and expressed hope that the “ongoing talks between Russia and Ukraine will pave the way for peace”.
“I have spoken to the leaders of both Ukraine and Russia many times and urged them to directly talk,” PM Modi said today. “We hope that the ongoing talks between Russia and Ukraine will pave the way for peace,” he added.
The virtual meet — which PM Modi said was initiated by US — coincides with the maiden India-US 2+2 dialogue under the Biden administration. It also comes amid a fresh tranche of US sanctions against Russia and Washington’s efforts for a stronger line against Moscow from New Delhi.
Various US leaders have made it clear that they are not comfortable with India’s neutral stance. There has been concern over India’s purchase of Russian oil and gas, despite the US pressure on world leaders to take a hard line against Moscow.
On March 21, President Biden said India was an exception among Washington’s allies with its “somewhat shaky” response to the Russian offensive.
Today, the US President said, “I want to welcome India’s humanitarian support for the people Ukraine, who are suffering a horrific assault, including a tragic shelling on a train station last week that killed dozens … attempting to flee the violence”.
PM Modi reminded the US leader that India has taken a strong line against the violence in Bucha.
“Recently, the news of killings of innocent civilians in Bucha city was very worrying. We immediately condemned it and demanded a fair investigation… We have placed importance on the safety of the civilian population in Ukraine and the uninterrupted supply of humanitarian aid to them,” he said.
“When I came to Washington in September last year, you said that India-US partnership can contribute to the solution of many global problems. I completely agree with you. As the world’s two largest and oldest democracies, we are natural partners,” PM Modi added.
The two leaders had failed to reach a joint condemnation of the Russian invasion when they last spoke in March at a meeting of the “Quad” alliance of the United States, India, Australia and Japan.
Last week, New Delhi abstained when the UN General Assembly voted to suspend Russia from its seat on the 47-member Human Rights Council over allegations of war crimes.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi earlier said India’s needs are connected to both Russia and Ukraine, but the country is on the side of peace and hopes that all problems get resolved through dialogue.
Leave a Reply