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Russia plays down PM Modi’s remarks on Ukraine war

Updated on Sep 24, 2022 06:53 AM IST

Russian ambassador Denis Alipov instead emphasised that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has reiterated India’s commitment to expand the close ties with Russia.

Russian ambassador Denis Alipov on Friday played down the Indian leadership’s call for ending the war in Ukraine (ANI)

Russian ambassador Denis Alipov on Friday played down the Indian leadership’s call for ending the war in Ukraine and instead emphasised that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has reiterated India’s commitment to expand the close ties with Russia.

India and Russia, Alipov contended at a virtual news briefing, have a similar approach of advocating a peaceful resolution of the Ukraine conflict. He argued that Ukraine was talking about continuing military actions till it achieved “complete victory” on the battlefield but this is an “absolutely unrealistic” objective.

Also Read| ‘Era is not of war’: Modi publicly asks Putin to end Ukraine war. It’s a first

At a bilateral meeting with President Vladimir Putin on the margins of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Summit in Uzbekistan last week, Modi had nudged the Russian leader to end the war in Ukraine by saying “today’s era is not of war”. External affairs minister S Jaishankar repeated Modi’s remarks while addressing a UN Security Council meeting on Ukraine on Thursday, and reiterated India’s call for cessation of hostilities and a return to dialogue.

“Understandably, since the Ukraine conflict is in the headlines, much of the attention was drawn to the Prime Minister’s remarks [in Uzbekistan] to this end. Omitted stands the fact that there is nothing new in India’s approach, it has been very consistent from the beginning,” Alipov said in response to questions about the Indian leadership seeking an end to the war.

The Indian PM also made a “loud and clear reiteration” of commitments to “maintain and expand close and trustworthy relations with Russia” and spoke of the “unbreakable friendship” between the two countries, he said.

“Western leaders who quoted the Prime Minister’s remarks on Ukraine at the UN conveniently picked out parts of that conversation that suits their rhetoric,” Alipov said. “Russia’s approach doesn’t differ from that of India’s – we’ve been advocating the peaceful resolution of the Ukrainian conflict from the very beginning.”

Also Read| At UNHRC, India calls for independent probe into civilian killings in Ukraine

Alipov repeated Russia’s assertions that the US and NATO were responsible for the conflict in Ukraine by their “brazen” denial of Russia’s security concerns and by establishing a “dedicated springboard [that] presents an acute and immediate danger to Russia’s security”.

Putin told Modi in their meeting that Russia is prepared to cease hostilities as soon as possible, whereas the Ukrainian side is speaking “about continuing the military actions till complete victory” is achieved on the battlefield, Alipov said. “It should be clear to the whole world that this objective cannot be achieved...it is absolutely unrealistic,” he said.

Asked about the India-China standoff, Alipov described it as a “bilateral matter between India and China”. He added: “We do not want to get involved in the resolution of bilateral disputes between the two countries. We only encourage the two to find a quick and peaceful resolution to the border disputes.”

The Russia-India-China (RIC) mechanism is a promising platform that should be enhanced. “We believe this trilateral dialogue would help build an atmosphere of trust between all the participants and would ultimately be helpful to promote a unified agenda...,” he said.

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