Ukraine hopes India will play key role in planned global peace summit | Latest News India - Hindustan Times

Ukraine hopes India will play key role in planned global peace summit

Feb 23, 2024 08:34 PM IST

Borovets said about 5,000 Indian students are currently in Ukraine – down from 22,000 at the start of the war - and her country “really wants them back”

New Delhi: Ukraine hopes India will play a crucial role in a planned “peace summit” of world leaders to be hosted by Switzerland in March to find a resolution to the conflict triggered by the Russian invasion, Ukrainian deputy foreign minister Iryna Borovets said on Friday.

Ukrainian deputy foreign minister Iryna Borovets (Twitter/@raisinadialogue)
Ukrainian deputy foreign minister Iryna Borovets (Twitter/@raisinadialogue)

Reiterating President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s invitation to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to visit Ukraine, Borovets said in an interview that India could also play a key part in the reconstruction of her war-ravaged country, where damage to infrastructure has been estimated at almost $500 billion.

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Borovets described as “evil” and “outrageous” the reports that Indian nationals who had secured support jobs with the Russian Army had been forced to fight with Russian troops along the border with Ukraine. Her comments came hours after India advised its citizens to stay away from getting caught up in the conflict.

“We are very grateful that India shows interest in participating in the global summit. They are just waiting for the invitation that [has] to be sent by the Swiss [government] because it will be held in Switzerland,” Borovets said, referring to the global summit being organised in late March at Zelenskyy’s request.

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Borovets noted that an Indian premier hasn’t travelled to Ukraine in recent years and said Zelenskyy had conveyed an invitation to Modi to visit Ukraine while expressing his readiness to come to India for a meeting. The two sides are also preparing for a visit to India by Ukrainian foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba “very soon”, she said.

India has consistently called for an end to hostilities in Ukraine and a return to the path of dialogue and diplomacy – as echoed in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s message to Russian President Vladimir Putin that “today’s era is not of war” - though New Delhi has refrained from criticising Moscow’s actions.

Borovets endorsed Modi’s remarks but said that “Russia does not respect this”. Ukraine is fighting to restore its territory and to throw out an aggressor, whereas Russia has shown no interest in having a conversation about peace, she said.

“Therefore, we suggest to countries of the world, and especially India, to come to this global peace summit, to sit at the table and facilitate discussions on the terms of future peace within each point of [Zelenskyy’s] formula, like nuclear safety, food security, return of prisoners of war and civilians and restoration of territorial integrity,” she said.

Besides participating in the Raisina Dialogue, India’s flagship conference on geopolitics and geo-economics, Borovets met foreign secretary Vinay Kwatra and deputy national security adviser Vikram Misri and discussed the situation on the frontlines in Ukraine, Zelenskyy’s peace formula and the planned peace summit.

Borovets said the rebuilding of Ukraine offers major opportunities for Indian businesses and investors as the damage to infrastructure has been estimated at nearly $500 billion.

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“There will be huge space for businesses to be involved in rebuilding infrastructure and housing,” she said, adding there is also scope for India and Ukraine to be involved in the joint production of futuristic weapon systems such as drones. “We extend an invitation to the Indian side to be part of this recovery,” she said.

Asked about reports that some Indian nationals with support jobs in the Russian military had been forced to fight on the frontlines with Ukraine, Borovets noted there was no official reaction on the matter from the Ukrainian side as yet and said, “However, the pure fact is [that this] is evil, it’s horrible, this is illegal. How can you invite people to offer them a job and then forcefully conscript them into the army? This is outrageous.”

She compared the developments to Russia “forcefully” deporting children from occupied Ukrainian territories and putting “them up for illegal adoption”.

Borovets said about 5,000 Indian students are currently in Ukraine – down from 22,000 at the start of the war - and her country “really wants them back”.

“We want them back in our universities and are prepared for that. A lot of universities in the eastern part of Ukraine have transferred their capacities to the western part, which is relatively calmer. We understand that security reasons could prevent them from coming. However, we are waiting for them and inviting them to come after the war ends,” she said.

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