PM Modi To Putin On Ukraine War

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PM Modi said he had placed the Global South’s expectation on peace and stability before Vladimir Putin.

A day after a children’s hospital in Kyiv was destroyed amid a wave of strikes by Russia, PM Narendra Modi has told Russian President Vladimir Putin that it is “heart-wrenching” when innocent children are killed.

On Tuesday, the second and final day of his Russia visit, the Prime Minister held a bilateral meeting with Mr Putin, their first in two years. This is also the first such meeting since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022.

Addressing the invasion head-on after recognising the close ties between the two countries, PM Modi told the Russian president: “If innocent children are murdered; if innocent children die, it is heart-wrenching.”

Stating that the two leaders had listened to each other’s views on Ukraine on Saturday, the Prime Minister said he had placed the Global South’s expectations on peace and stability before Mr Putin and reiterated that “no solution is possible on the battlefield”. This is the same message that the PM was reported to have given the Russian President during their private dinner the previous evening.

Emphasising that India was ready to cooperate in all possible ways for the restoration of peace, the PM said in Hindi, “I assure you and the world community that India is on the side of peace. Listening to you yesterday has given me hope. For new generations to have a bright future, peace is essential. Peace talks do not succeed amidst bombs, guns and bullets.”

Addressing a press conference later in the day, Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra said, “The deaths of innocents yesterday… the Prime Minister was very clear and categorical in expressing his concern and regret at the loss of these innocent lives, including, in particular, the children yesterday. He clearly said, roughly translated into English, that the solution to this conflict is not to be found on the battlefield and that it is possible only through dialogue and diplomacy.”

‘Our Cooperation Helped World’

Economic cooperation between the two countries, especially in the areas of energy, trade, manufacturing, and fertilisers, was also a key item on the agenda for the meeting.

Despite criticism from the West, India has become a major buyer of Russian oil and this has benefited both countries because it also provided a much-needed export market for Moscow after several countries in Europe decided not to make oil purchases from it because of the Ukraine invasion.

This mutually beneficial trade featured in PM Modi’s opening remarks to Mr Putin during the meeting.

Expressing confidence that India-Russia ties will strengthen further, the Prime Minister, who is on his first bilateral visit in his third term, said cooperation between the two countries in the energy sector helped the world as well.

“We could insulate common citizens in India from difficulties in terms of availability of fuel because of your cooperation. Not just this, the world has to accept that the India-Russia fuel agreement helped, indirectly, stabilise the global market,” he told Mr Putin.

At a time when India has seen a string of terror attacks in Jammu and Kashmir, PM Modi told Mr Putin that the country has faced the challenge of terrorism for around 40 years. “I condemn all forms of terrorism,” he said.

Pointing out that the world has had to face multiple challenges in the past five years, first due to Covid-19 and then because of various conflicts, the PM said, “When the world faced a shortage of food, fuel and fertilisers, we did not allow our farmers to face problems, and our ties with Russia played a role in it.”

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