Ukraine crisis: PM Modi conveys to Lavrov India’s readiness to contribute to peace efforts

PTI, Apr 2, 2022, 10:39 AM IST

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday conveyed to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov that India stands ready to contribute in any way to the peace efforts to resolve the conflict in Ukraine and called for early cessation of violence in that country.

The prime minister communicated this when Lavrov called on him after holding wide-ranging talks with External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, a day after arriving in India on a two-day visit.

Ahead of his meeting with Modi, Lavrov said at a media briefing that India, with its ”just and rational” approach towards international problems, can support the peace efforts if it chooses to play such a role.

He also said that no pressure can affect Russia’s partnership with India and that his talks with Jaishankar reflected the depth of the special and privileged strategic partnership between the two sides.

”Foreign Minister Lavrov briefed the prime minister on the situation in Ukraine, including the ongoing peace negotiations,” the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) said in a statement.

”The prime minister reiterated his call for an early cessation of violence, and conveyed India’s readiness to contribute in any way to the peace efforts,” it said.

On Wednesday, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba told NDTV that India can use its influence with Russia to convince it to stop the war in Ukraine.

Asked if he sees Prime Minister Modi being a possible mediator between Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelinskyy and Russian President Vladimir Putin, Kuleba said ”if Prime Minister Modi is willing to play that role, we would welcome his efforts”.

At the media briefing, Lavrov said India can contribute to the peace efforts if it ”with its position of just and rational approach towards international problems, (thinks) it can support such a process and no one would be against it.” He was responding to a question on whether India can play the role of a mediator in defusing the conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

The Russian foreign minister reiterated that it was for New Delhi to decide if it sees a ”role which provides resolution of the problem in this present condition, and to provide equality and security.” Lavrov also complimented India’s ”independent” position on the conflict while describing it as an ”important and serious” country that does not come under any influence of the US. ”I believe that India’s foreign policy is characterised by independence and the concentration on the real national legitimate interests,” he said.

Lavrov said Russia also follows the same approach and policy, and it has made both the ”big” countries good friends and an important part of each other’s international relations.

”I have no doubt that any pressure will affect our partnership, but you know that others have been trying to suppress the relationship between India, Russia and China…They (West) are forcing others to follow their politics,” he said.

In a statement on the Lavrov-Jaishankar talks, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said the two sides discussed developments pertaining to Ukraine.

It said they assessed the overall state of cooperation and considered the implications of recent developments on trade and economic relations.

The MEA said Jaishankar underlined that as a developing economy, global volatility in different domains is of particular concern to India.

”It is important for both countries that their economic, technological and people to people contacts remain stable and predictable,” it said.

”The external affairs minister emphasised the importance of cessation of violence and ending hostilities. Differences and disputes should be resolved through dialogue and diplomacy and by respect for international law, UN Charter, sovereignty and territorial integrity of states,” it said.

Lavrov arrived in New Delhi on Thursday evening after concluding a two-day visit to China.

Hours before the Russian foreign minister landed in India, US Deputy National Security Adviser Daleep Singh cautioned that there will be consequences for countries actively attempting to ”circumvent or backfill” American sanctions against Moscow.

Unlike many other leading powers, India has not yet criticised Russia for its invasion of Ukraine and it abstained from the votes at the UN platforms in condemning the Russian aggression.

However, last Thursday, India abstained on a resolution pushed by Russia on the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine, which was seen as reflective of its neutral position on the conflict.

India has been pressing for the resolution of the crisis through diplomacy and dialogue.

Modi has held phone conversations with Russian President Vladimir Putin on February 24, March 2 and March 7.

Modi had spoken to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy twice.

Last week, Jaishankar said in Parliament that India’s position on the Ukraine conflict has been ”steadfast and consistent” and that it has been seeking immediate cessation of violence.

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