PM Modi renews call to end Russia-Ukraine war, says no country will be a winner
NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Monday called for an end to the war in Ukraine, with the Indian leader asserting that no party can emerge victorious from the conflict that has already impacted poor and developing countries.
Addressing a joint media interaction after the biennial India-Germany inter governmental consultations in Berlin, Modi said that since the beginning of the Ukraine crisis, India has called for an immediate ceasefire and insisted that dialogue is the only way to resolve the dispute. India is also deeply concerned by the war’s humanitarian impact, he said.
“We believe that no party will emerge victorious in this war. Everyone will suffer losses and that is why we are in favour of peace,” Modi said, speaking in Hindi and without naming Russia in his remarks.
“The turmoil caused by the Ukraine conflict has resulted in oil prices skyrocketing. There is a shortage of food grains and fertilisers in the world. This has burdened every family in the world, but its impact on developing and poor countries will be more severe,” he added.
Scholz accused Russia of violating the “fundamental principles of international law”, and said the war and brutal attacks on the civilian population in Ukraine “show how unrestrained Russia has been in violating the fundamental principles of the UN Charter”.
He added, “Thus, I repeat my appeal to [Russian President] Vladimir Putin – end this war, end the senseless killing, withdraw your troops from Ukraine.”
Scholz said the war highlighted the importance of a rules-based order, and that he and Modi discussed this matter in great detail. “We agree on the fact that borders should not be changed through the use of violence and that the inviolability of borders and the sovereignty of nations has to be universally accepted,” he said.
The world community should ensure a better future “not by waging wars against each other but by pursuing economic growth and development together”, Scholz added.
Modi said that in addition to sending humanitarian aid to Ukraine, India is helping other friendly countries through food exports, oil supplies and financial assistance.
A joint statement issued after the inter-governmental consultations said Germany “reiterated its strong condemnation of the unlawful and unprovoked aggression against Ukraine by Russian forces”, reflecting the differences between the two sides on the issue.
Both countries “unequivocally condemned civilian deaths in Ukraine”, and sought “an immediate cessation of hostilities”. They emphasised the global order was built on the UN Charter, international law and respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity of states, and “discussed the destabilising effect of the conflict in Ukraine and its broader regional and global implications”.
Like other European leaders, Scholz cautioned that the Ukraine crisis could have an impact on the Indo-Pacific region. While the Indo-Pacific is among the most dynamic regions of the world, it faces a “number of conflicts and challenges”, he pointed out at the media interaction.
“Thus Germany is going to maintain and further intensify, where possible, its varied commitment on the ground. India is amongst the very important partners of ours here,” he said.
Scholz further emphasised the importance of strengthening a multilateral order, saying the world can develop well only if nations agree that future international relations “will be characterised and marked by many countries, not by a few powerful countries”.
He said: “India numbers among those countries that are of greatest importance with regard to this perspective, not only because it is the country with the biggest population but also because of the part it plays and the share it has in the global economy.”
Germany, one of India’s key economic and strategic partners in Europe, has been hit hard by the Ukraine crisis, especially because of its dependence on Russian energy. While the German leadership has signalled it intends to completely cut its reliance on Russian coal and oil by the end of 2022, the country is unlikely to be able to phase out its purchase of Russian gas for another two to three years.
Indian officials acknowledged before the start of Modi’s three-nation tour on Monday that the Ukraine issue would figure in the prime minister’s engagements in Berlin, Copenhagen and Paris, though the principal focus will be on bolstering cooperation in areas such as trade, green growth and security.
India has so far not publicly criticised Russia, the country’s main supplier of defence hardware, for the invasion of Ukraine. It has repeatedly called for a ceasefire and a return to the path of dialogue and insisted that the sovereignty and territorial integrity of states should be respected. Modi has also suggested there should be direct talks between the Russian and Ukrainian presidents.