G7 Summit | Way to peace is through 'dialogue and diplomacy': PM Modi to Zelenskyy

Modi met Zelenskyy on the sidelines of the G-7 summit in Italy's Apulia region.
Last Updated : 14 June 2024, 12:13 IST

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New Delhi: India will do whatever it can to peacefully end the Russia-Ukraine conflict, Prime Minister Narendra Modi told President Volodymyr Zelenskyy of the beleaguered East European nation ahead of the peace summit in Switzerland on Saturday and Sunday.

Modi and Zelenskyy had a meeting on the sideline of the 50th G7 summit at Apulia in Italy on Friday. This was the second meeting between the two leaders after Russia launched its special military operations in Ukraine in February 2022. They had earlier met on the sideline of the previous G7 summit at Hiroshima in Japan last year.

Modi also had bilateral meetings with British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and French President Emmanual Macron on the sideline of the G7 summit. The prime minister attended the outreach events the G7 leaders held with other nations on the margins of the summit of the bloc.

A senior diplomat will lead the delegation from New Delhi at the peace summit, which will be held in Switzerland to work out a roadmap for peace in Ukraine. The summit during the weekend is being seen as a move by Kyiv to get the international community’s endorsement for the 10-point peace formula proposed by Zelenskyy, who got over 160 countries invited to the conclave.

Russia, however, decided against attending the summit being officially hosted by Switzerland. China and Saudi Arabia would not attend the conclave though. India's western neighbour Pakistan also decided to stay away from the peace summit.

New Delhi decided to send a delegation to the peace summit although Moscow’s decision to stay away from it raised questions if the initiative would lead to a process that might lead to peace in Ukraine.

“India is eager to further cement bilateral relations with Ukraine,” Modi posted on X after his “productive meeting” Zelenskyy, adding: “Regarding the ongoing hostilities, (I) reiterated that India believes in a human-centric approach and believes that the way to peace is through dialogue and diplomacy”.

Zelenskyy had in the past repeatedly requested Modi during phone calls to send a high-level delegation to the peace summit.

“We discussed the development of bilateral relations and trade, in particular in the context of the Black Sea export corridor functioning. We explored the possibility of exchanging experience in the use of new technologies in agriculture,” Zelenskyy posted on X after meeting Modi on Friday. “We also talked about the Global Peace Summit and issues on its agenda. I thank Prime Minister Modi for sending a high-level delegation to the summit.”

It was at the G20 summit at Bali in Indonesia in November 2022 that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky first presented a 10-point peace plan to end Russia's military operations in his country.

The 10-point plan included the restoration of the territorial integrity of Ukraine and a complete withdrawal of troops by Russia as well as prosecution of people responsible for war crimes. Moscow rejected the peace formula offered by Kyiv.

New Delhi drew flak from the United States and the rest of the West for not joining the clamour against Moscow after Russia launched its “special military operations” in Ukraine in February 2022. New Delhi has been maintaining a strategic balance in its ties with Moscow and Washington DC. India’s decades-old strategic partnership with and its dependence on the Soviet Union and its successor Russia for military hardware appeared to have stopped New Delhi from speaking up against Moscow.

India has been circumventing sanctions imposed by the US and the rest of the West on Russia and continued bilateral trade. It has also increased oil and coal imports from Russia. Modi, however, told Russian President Vladimir Putin in Samarkand in September 2022 that it was not an era of war, and the Moscow-Kyiv conflict should be resolved through dialogue and diplomacy.

Published 14 June 2024, 12:13 IST

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