Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s remarks during his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Samarkand were not a change in India’s position on the conflict in Ukraine, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar has said as he underlined that New Delhi has been urging for early cessation of hostilities between the two countries.
Responding to a question on Russia’s referendum in areas of Ukraine that it has occupied, Jaishankar told a group of Indian reporters here on Wednesday that India would reflect its views on the issue at the UN in New York. “I think it is an issue that will be coming up for consideration, my understanding, is in the United Nations. So, I would urge you to wait and see what our ambassador there has to say,” he said.
About the meeting between Prime Minister Modi and Russian President Putin in Samarkand on September 16, Jaishankar said this was the first face-to-face meeting between the two leaders after the commencement of the Ukraine conflict.“So, it was very natural when they have a face-to-face meeting that, you know, will begin the meeting with the press there, you make the press remarks, and we’ll look at the video of that particular occasion, that’s exactly what happened,” he said.
“Now, it’s not as if we have not said that before. We have been expressing our concern about the conflict, about the urgency for early cessation of hostilities, about the need for dialogue and diplomacy. So there has been a steady refrain. It was entirely natural that if the Prime Minister of India and the President of Russia were meeting at this juncture that these subjects would be addressed. And I think that’s what the Prime Minister did,” he said.
Jaishankar said that Modi’s comments to Putin in Samarkand were not a change in India’s position on Ukraine.“It was an obvious subject to come up at the meeting. The position that the Prime Minister took was consistent with the position that we have been taking earlier. Now, possibly it was received and perceived in a way because it was a face-to-face meeting, whereas earlier on these were reports of conversations that had taken place,” Jaishankar said.
“So, in terms of the impact that they made on the global media, I think it’s understandable that a physical meeting made a stronger impact than the sort of second-hand report in a way,” he said. Prime Minister Modi pushed Russian President Putin to end the conflict in Ukraine, saying “today’s era is not of war” even as he called for finding ways to address the global food and energy security crisis.
Modi also underlined the importance of democracy, dialogue and diplomacy during a bilateral meeting with Putin that took place on the sidelines of the annual summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) in this Silk Road city.
“Today the biggest worry before the world, especially developing countries, is food security, fuel security, fertilisers. We must find ways to these problems and you will also have to consider them. We will get an opportunity to talk about these issues,” Modi said in his opening remarks. Jaishankar said the Ukrainian issue would naturally continue to feature in all important international discussions