PM Modi meets President Zelenskyy, offers help but no invite to G20

India did not budge from Ukraine’s pressure tactics; No decision yet on inviting it to G20 Summit

| Updated: 21 May, 2023 2:55 pm IST
Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy with PM Narendra Modi in Hiroshima 

NEW DELHI: While Prime Minister Narendra Modi assured Ukraine, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy that India will do “whatever is possible” to find a solution to its conflict with Russia, he did not accede to the demand of inviting Ukraine to the G20 Summit.

While President Zelenskyy has been travelling to various forums in the Western world in an effort to drum up support for his country, this was the first time he met in-person with PM Modi, a key leader from the Global South that is finally rising to its potential.

In their first in-person meeting since November 2021, Prime Minister Narendra Modi assured Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy that India will do “whatever is possible” to find a solution to the conflict.

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“Over the past one-and-a-half years, we have spoken on the phone, but after a long time, we have an opportunity to meet. The war in Ukraine is a very big issue for the whole world. It has had many different impacts on the whole world. But I don’t see this as a political or economic issue, for me, this is an issue of humanity, an issue of human values,” PM Modi told President Zelenskyy during their meeting on the sidelines of the G7 Summit in Japan’s Hiroshima.

“I wish to assure you that India and I, in my personal capacity, will do whatever is possible to find a solution to this (conflict),” PM Modi said.

Besides PM Modi, the Indian delegation at the talks included External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval.

Since February 2022, India has provided at least 99.3 tonnes of humanitarian assistance to Ukraine and neighbouring countries. These include medicines, blankets, tents, tarpaulins and medical equipment.

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During their telephone conversation in October last year, PM Modi told President Zelenskyy that there could not be a military solution to the conflict in Ukraine. India has called for an immediate cessation of hostilities and urged both sides to revert to dialogue and diplomacy.

While there is pressure on India, from the Western world, to sever its ties with Russia, India has steadfastly refused to budge from any such demands. In fact, India has been standing with Russia, with External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar has been busting Western myths about India’s relationship with its traditional ally.

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But despite Western pressure, India continued to buy crude oil from Russia to fulfil its energy needs. India also played a key role in processing Russian crude as well as diamonds, a decision that has riled the Western world.

However, India has taken a balanced position and abstained from voting against Russia in several resolutions at the UN Security Council.

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