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Seeing consequences of Ukraine war, India advises return to dialogue: S Jaishankar

NEW DELHI: India and Russia have an “exceptionally steady” and time-tested relationship and the objective now is to fashion a balanced, mutually beneficial and long-term engagement in the backdrop of the increasing economic cooperation, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said on Tuesday during talks with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov in Moscow.

In his opening remarks, he said that “we are now seeing the consequences of Ukraine.”

“This is not an era of war — as Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Samarkand told Russian President Vladimir Putin. We are seeing the consequences of Ukraine. India strongly advises a return to dialogue. The global economy is simply too interdependent for significant conflict anywhere not to have major consequences elsewhere,” Jaishankar said in Moscow.

India has not condemned Russia since the start of the conflict and has maintained its independent position. On several UN forums, New Delhi has consistently called for a cessation of violence and advocated peace through diplomacy and dialogue.

“There are also the more perennial issues of terrorism and climate change, both of which have a disruptive impact on progress and prosperity,” Jaishankar said, adding that the COVID-19 pandemic, financial pressures and trade difficulties had taken a toll on the global economy.

“Our talks will address the overall global situation as well as specific regional concerns,” he said.

Jaishankar arrived in Moscow on Monday evening on a two-day visit amid growing global concerns over increasing hostilities between Russia and Ukraine.

“India and Russia engage each other in an increasingly multi-polar and re-balanced world. We do so as two polities who have had an exceptionally steady and time-tested relationship. In that background, I look forward to our talks,” he said.

Jaishankar’s visit to Russia assumes significance as it came over a week before the G20 summit in Bali which is set to extensively deliberate on the Ukraine conflict and its implications. It is his first visit to Moscow after the beginning of the Ukraine conflict.

“Our meeting today, is of course, devoted to assessing the state of our bilateral cooperation; exchanging perspectives on the international situation and what that means to our respective interests,” Jaishankar said.

“Where bilateral ties are concerned, you would agree that it is our objective today to fashion a contemporary, balanced, mutually beneficial, sustainable and long-term engagement,” he said.

“Especially as our economic cooperation increases, this is a significant imperative. We would be discussing how our shared goals are best achieved,” the External Affairs Minister added.