Modi to Putin: Dialogue only way forward on Ukraine war

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday spoke to Russian President Vladimir Putin over phone and reiterated his call for dialogue and diplomacy “as the only way forward” in the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine. 

“In the context of the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, Prime Minister reiterated his call for dialogue and diplomacy as the only way forward,” the Prime Minister’s office said in a statement. During the telephonic conversation, PM Modi and Russian President Putin reviewed several aspects of the bilateral ties, including energy cooperation, trade and investments, defence and security cooperation and other sectors. 

 “The telephonic conversation between PM Modi and President Putin should also be seen as an important development as it has taken place amid growing tension with China in the wake of faceoff between Indian and Chinese troops in the Tawang sector,” diplomatic sources told The Daily Guardian. “Chinese aggression may not have figured during the talks, but the telephonic talk between Indian and Russian leaders must have given a message to Beijing which is trying to forge much closer economic and strategic ties with Moscow ever since it has come under attack from the West following war in Ukraine,” sources added. “What China cannot ignore is that India continues to be the top priority country for Russia as is evident from PM Modi’s sound equations and rapport with Putin that has been on display from time to time,” diplomats said. Despite the West’s pressure, New Delhi never criticised Moscow’s action against Ukraine. At the same time, India continued to tell Russia to return to dialogue and diplomacy to resolve the issue in what was seen as a balanced diplomatic approach by New Delhi. All this has been taken note of by the strategists in Beijing. Now, PM Modi’s fifth telephonic talk this year with Putin has reaffirmed the same close ties between India and Russia.

“The two leaders also discussed the global security scenario, which is a vast term that could include any issue related to security,” sources said, adding that the security cooperation was also discussed by them.  Sources said that PM Modi wants President Putin to attend the G-20 Summit next year.

This is the fifth telephonic talk between PM Modi and Putin this year. The Indian premier has spoken to the Russian President once on 24 February, twice in March (2nd and 7th), and once on 1 July.  PM Modi has had an in person meeting with Putin in Samarkand on the sidelines of SCO Summit.

“Following up on their meeting on Samarkand on the sidelines of the SCO Summit, the two leaders reviewed several aspects of the bilateral relationship, including energy cooperation, trade and investments, defence and security cooperation and other key areas. In the context of the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, the Prime Minister reiterated his call for dialogue and diplomacy as the only way forward,” stated a press note issued by the Government of India after the telephone conversation. A readout of the interaction given by the Russian side stated that President Putin gave “fundamental assessments of Russia’s line” at the war in Ukraine after being requested by Prime Minister Modi. 

PM Modi during a bilateral meeting with Putin in September on the sidelines of the annual summit of the SCO in Uzbekistan had pressed the latter to end the conflict in Ukraine soon, saying “today’s era is not of war”. On his part, Putin had told Modi that he was aware of India’s concerns over the Ukraine conflict and that Russia will do everything possible to end it as soon as possible.