SEPTEMBER 16, 2022
NEW DELHI: In some straight talk with Russian President Vladimir Putin, PM Narendra Modi told him on Friday that this isn’t the age of war, while also underlining the significance of democracy, dialogue and diplomacy. Modi also urged Putin to take the initiative in addressing, as he put it, some of the biggest problems the world is facing in the form of food, fuel and fertilizer scarcity.
Modi’s remarks, delivered publicly and in his first in-person meeting with Putin since Russia launched its military operation in Ukraine, are expected to assuage the feeling in the West that India has aligned itself with Moscow on the Ukraine issue by not just not condemning Moscow but also by increasing its crude and other imports from Russia.
India has always maintained that one of the pillars of its Ukraine position has been its initiative to remain in touch with both sides to promote dialogue and diplomacy and bring the hostilities to an early end.
PM Modi urges Putin for early end to hostilities in Ukraine
In his opening remarks before the meeting, Modi thanked not just Russia but also Ukraine for the evacuation of Indian students from Ukraine.
Putin, who spoke before Modi, acknowledged India’s position on Ukraine and said Russia will do its best to stop the conflict as soon as possible. Putin added though it was Ukraine which had refused to continue negotiations and declared it wanted to achieve its goals by military means.
In his opening remarks before meeting Vladimir Putin in Samarkand on Friday, PM Modi thanked not just Russia but also Ukraine for the evacuation of Indian students from Ukraine.
India has always maintained one of the pillars of its position on Ukraine has been its initiative to remain in touch with both sides to promote dialogue and diplomacy and bring the hostilities to an early end. Putin said though it was Ukraine which had refused to continue negotiations and declared it wanted to achieve its goals by military means. Putin also noted that India’s import of fertilisers from Russia had grown eight times after Moscow ramped up supplies on New Delhi’s request. He said trade was growing and large-scale joint projects in the oil and gas sector and nuclear power were being implemented.
Modi told the Russian president, “I have discussed this issue with you on phone several times. Yeh yug yudh ka nahi hai (this is not the era of war). Democracy, diplomacy and dialogue are all issues which touch the world. I look forward to discussing with you how we can move forward on the path of peace and also to understanding your point of view.” Interestingly, the PM also mentioned democracy apart from dialogue and diplomacy.
In a statement after the meeting, the Indian government said Modi reiterated before Putin his call for an early cessation of hostilities with Ukraine and the need for dialogue and diplomacy.
The leaders discussed bilateral cooperation and regional and global issues of interest. “Discussions also pertained to global food security, energy security and availability of fertilizers in the context of the challenges emanating from the current geo-political situation,’’ said the Indian government.
Modi also said the whole world knew and acknowledged there was an unbreakable bond between India and Russia.
“We give importance to the relationship because the two countries have been friends and stood by each other for many decades,’’ said Modi, adding that his friendship with Putin had grown stronger since he met him for the first time in 2021 as Gujarat chief minister.