New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday told Russian President Vladimir Putin that now was “not a time for war” on the sidelines of a regional summit as the Ukraine war enters its ninth month.
“Excellency, I know today’s time is not a time for war,” PM Modi told Putin in Samarkand as the two leaders began their first face-to-face meeting since Moscow’s forces invaded Ukraine.
The comments from PM Modi came just a day after Putin acknowledged that China – Russia’s key ally – had “concerns” over the conflict in Ukraine.
Putin told the Indian Prime Minister that he wanted to end the conflict in Ukraine, which began in February, as soon as possible and understood that India had concerns about the fighting.
“I know your position on the conflict in Ukraine, your concerns…. We will do our best to end this as soon as possible,” Putin told Mr Modi.
The summit comes as Russian forces face major battlefield setbacks in Ukraine.
“Unfortunately, just the opposing side, the leadership of Ukraine, announced its rejection of the negotiating process, and stated that it wants to achieve its goals by military means, on the battlefield,” Putin said.
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It is learnt that the two leaders discussed bilateral, regional and global issues on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit.
India has not yet criticised Russia for its invasion of Ukraine. New Delhi has been pushing for resolution of the crisis through dialogue.
New Delhi and Moscow have longstanding ties dating back to the Cold War, and Russia remains by far India’s biggest arms supplier.
Chinese President Xi Jinping on Thursday said China was willing to work with Russia to support “each other’s core interests”, though Putin admitted that Beijing had “concerns” about the situation in Ukraine that he would address.
The SCO – which also includes Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan – was set up in 2001 as a political, economic and security organisation to rival Western institutions. Putin to PM Modi on Ukraine: “Understand your concern”