Ukraine minister to raise country’s participation in G20 during India visit

Apr 08, 2023 11:35 PM IST

The journalist-turned-politician, the senior most of Ukraine’s five deputy foreign ministers, will begin a four-day official visit on April 9.

Ukrainian minister Emine Dzhaparova is expected to make a push for India to do more in its G20 presidency to end the Ukraine crisis during her trip to New Delhi next week, the first such visit since the start of the Russian invasion in February 2022.

Emine Dzhaparova, Ukraine’s first deputy foreign affairs minister (Twitter Photo)
Emine Dzhaparova, Ukraine’s first deputy foreign affairs minister (Twitter Photo)

Dzhaparova, the senior most of Ukraine’s five deputy foreign ministers, will begin a four-day official visit on April 9. She is expected to lobby for India’s support for Ukraine amid the dragging war with Russia during her interactions with Indian officials and leaders, people familiar with the matter said on Saturday.

The 39-year-old journalist-turned-politician will meet the minister of state for external affairs Meenakshi Lekhi and deputy national security adviser Vikram Misri and hold talks with Sanjay Verma, secretary (West) in the external affairs ministry, according to a statement issued on Saturday.

Also Read: Journalist-turned-top Ukrainian minister to visit India. 5 things about Emine Dzhaparova

The talks between Verma and Dzhaparova are expected to focus on bilateral relations, the current situation in Ukraine and global issues of mutual interest, the statement said.

Besides her official engagements, Dzhaparova will deliver a talk on the theme “Russia’s war in Ukraine: Why the world should care” at the Indian Council of World Affairs (ICWA), a think tank under the external affairs ministry, and participate in a closed-door discussion with members of India’s strategic community at another think tank on April 11.

The people cited above said that during her meetings in New Delhi, Dzhaparova is expected to take up the issue of Ukraine’s participation in meetings within the G20 framework and the possibility of President Volodymyr Zelenskyy addressing the G20 Summit in New Delhi in September, just as he had done during last year’s summit in Bali.

Dzhaparova is also expected to lobby for India’s backing for Zelenskyy’s 10-point peace plan, which the Ukrainian president unveiled during his virtual address to last year’s G20 Summit, the people said.

Zelenskyy raised his peace plan with Prime Minister Narendra Modi during a phone conversation on December 26 last year. “I wished for a productive presidency in #G20. It was on this platform that I announced the peace formula and now count on India’s participation in its implementation,” Zelenskyy said in a tweet at the time. He had also said in a statement that “India can be more active in efforts to end aggression”.

According to an Indian government statement at the time, PM Modi “conveyed India’s support for any peace efforts” and assured Zelenskyy of India’s commitment to continue providing humanitarian aid to the affected civilian population.

The possibility of Dzhaparova conveying an invitation to Modi to visit Ukraine is not being ruled out, the people said.

Also Read: Ukraine war: Tharoor praises Modi govt for deft handling of ties with US, Russia

The external affairs ministry’s statement described India-Ukraine relations as “warm and friendly” and said there is multifaceted cooperation between the two sides.

“Over the last 30 years of establishing diplomatic relations, bilateral cooperation between the two countries has made significant progress in the areas of trade, education, culture and defence. [Dzhaparova’s] visit will be an occasion to further mutual understanding and interests,” it added.

However, the official talks and meetings scheduled with Dzhaparova by the Indian side reflect the low-key nature of the visit.

India hasn’t publicly censured Russia for its invasion of Ukraine, though it has called for an immediate end to hostilities and for a return to dialogue and diplomacy to end the conflict. India has also stepped up the purchase of discounted Russian commodities, especially crude oil and fertilisers, drawing criticism from some Ukrainian leaders in the past.

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