Dialogue and diplomacy can end war: Modi at G7

By, New Delhi
May 22, 2023 12:08 AM IST

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi believes dialogue and diplomacy is the only way to resolve the Ukraine conflict and will work towards contributing to the situation. Modi spoke at the G7 Summit outreach session alongside President Volodymyr Zelensky, who had provided his peace formula to the world. India has played a constructive role in conflict resolution, balancing economic interests and geopolitical compulsions with global expectations for peace efforts. Modi called for respecting the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all states, and for solutions to be found at the negotiating table.

India believes dialogue and diplomacy is the only way to deal with the Ukraine conflict and will do everything possible to contribute to resolving the situation, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Sunday at a session of the G7 Summit attended by President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea James Marape greets Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Port Moresby on Sunday. (PTI)
Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea James Marape greets Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Port Moresby on Sunday. (PTI)

Speaking a day after his first meeting with Zelensky since the start of the Russian invasion in February 2022, Modi told the outreach session of the G7 Summit in Hiroshima that crises in one region affect all countries in today’s inter-connected world, and developing countries with limited resources are grappling with the profound impact of a food, fuel and fertiliser crisis.

Zelensky sat between Modi and South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol at the session with the theme “Toward a peaceful, stable and prosperous world”. Besides leaders of the world’s seven largest economies, the session was attended by the heads of eight guest countries, including India, Indonesia and Australia.

“We heard President Zelensky today. I also met him yesterday. I do not consider the current situation as an issue of politics or economy. I believe this is a matter of humanity, a matter of human values,” Modi said, speaking in Hindi.

“From the very beginning, we have maintained that dialogue and diplomacy is the only way. And we will make every possible effort to contribute, in whatever way India can, for resolving this situation,” he said.

Modi made a similar commitment on Saturday at his meeting with Zelensky, who updated the Indian leader on his 10-point peace formula and sought New Delhi’s cooperation in demining operations and medicine.

India has played a constructive role in conflict resolution so far, deftly balancing its economic interests and geopolitical compulsions with the increasing global expectation on New Delhi to lead peace efforts as an emerging superpower that can exert influence on Russia to come to the negotiating table. Instead of being a blind follower of any one side, India has carved its own path by not discontinuing its trade partnership with Moscow and at the same time helping Ukraine with medical and other humanitarian aid, stressing all along that this is “not an era of war”.

India has not publicly criticised Russia’s invasion of Ukraine or voted in favour of resolutions at UN bodies denouncing Moscow’s actions. It has insisted that a solution to the conflict must be found at the negotiating table, and called for respecting the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all states.

New Delhi has also repeatedly highlighted the fallout of the conflict on developing countries, especially in the context of food and fuel security. At his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Uzbekistan last September, Modi nudged him to end hostilities.

“In today’s inter-connected world, crises in any one region affect all the countries. The developing countries, which have limited resources, are the worst affected. In the current global situation, these countries are facing the maximum and most profound impact of the food, fuel and fertiliser crisis,” Modi said at the G7 session.

Modi said it is necessary for all countries to respect the UN Charter, international law, and sovereignty and territorial integrity of all states. “Raise your voice together against unilateral attempts to change the status quo. India has always been of the opinion that any tension, any dispute should be resolved through peaceful means, through dialogue,” he said.

“And if there is a solution from the law, then it should be accepted,” he said, pointing out it was in this spirit that India resolved its land and maritime boundary disputes with Bangladesh.

Modi was critical of the United Nations’ failure to prevent conflicts in the current era and to tackle terrorism, saying “institutions created in the last century are not in line with the system of the 21st century”.

He said, “It raises the question as to why we are facing the need to discuss matters of peace and stability in distinct forums. The UN, which was established with the very purpose of establishing peace, why does it often fail to prevent conflicts today? Why has even the definition of terrorism not been accepted in the UN as yet?”

Global bodies do not reflect the realities of the current era and this is why reforms should be given concrete shape in institutions such as the UN. “It will also have to become the voice of the Global South. Otherwise, we will just keep talking about ending conflict. The UN and the Security Council will become just a talk shop,” he said.

Modi concluded by citing Lord Buddha, saying he had provided the solution centuries ago to the war, unrest and instability facing the world today. “Enmity does not calm enmity. Enmity is pacified by affinity,” he quoted from Buddha’s teachings and said everyone should move forward together in this spirit.

In a message about the outreach session posted on his Telegram channel, Zelensky said Ukraine has proposed its peace formula to the world and will not sit at the negotiating table with Russia as long as “Russian invaders remain on our land”.

“The coloniser must get out. And the world has enough power to force Russia to restore peace step by step,” he said.

Zelensky added: “We have developed the peace formula in a way that ensures each of its points is backed by UN resolutions. And in a way that everyone in the world can choose the track they can contribute to. From Japan to the Arab countries, from Europe to Latin America, we find support for our formula.”

In a separate video message, Zelensky said he had a “serious talk” with Modi at their meeting on Saturday. “I gave an update on the progress of our peace formula. We have already passed many stages of presenting the formula to the leaders and countries from different parts of the world... And we will do everything so that the involvement of the world in our peace initiative is the fullest possible,” he said.

Zelensky said he believes that “India will participate in the restoration of the rules-based international order that all free nations clearly need”.

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