Modi and Zelensky meet at G7, advocate dialogue for peace

Narendra Modi, G7, Volodymyr Zelensky

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky held a “productive meeting” on the sidelines of the G7 summit in Italy. This bilateral meeting, which included prominent Indian officials such as External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar, Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra, and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, focused on the ongoing conflict in Ukraine and the broader implications for global stability.

Prime Minister Modi expressed India’s eagerness to cement its bilateral relations with Ukraine, highlighting the mutual benefits of strengthened ties. In a post on X (formerly known as Twitter), Modi emphasized that India believes in a human-centric approach to resolving conflicts, advocating for peace through dialogue and diplomacy. This stance underscores India’s longstanding diplomatic philosophy of seeking peaceful resolutions to international disputes and enhancing bilateral cooperation.

Since the escalation of hostilities between Russia and Ukraine in early 2022, India has maintained a balanced and nuanced position. New Delhi has continued to expand its ties with Western nations while preserving its strategic partnership with Moscow. This delicate balancing act has allowed India to ramp up its energy-resource procurement from Russia, despite facing scrutiny from Washington and Brussels.

India’s foreign affairs ministry spokesperson, Randhir Jaiswal, reiterated the country’s commitment to a peaceful resolution of the conflict. “The PM conveyed that India continues to encourage peaceful resolution of the conflict through dialogue and diplomacy,” he posted on X. This balanced approach reflects India’s broader foreign policy objectives of fostering global peace and stability while protecting its national interests.

Addressing an outreach session at the G7 summit, Modi emphasized the disproportionate impact of global uncertainties and tensions on the countries of the Global South. He highlighted India’s commitment to bringing the priorities and concerns of these nations to the world stage. This advocacy aligns with India’s historical role as a leader of the Non-Aligned Movement and its continued efforts to represent the interests of developing countries in global forums.

India’s participation in the upcoming Swiss-hosted peace talks on Ukraine, announced recently, marks a significant step in its diplomatic efforts to mediate the conflict. Zelensky expressed gratitude for India’s involvement, thanking Modi for sending a “high-level” delegation. Kiev has been keen on securing Modi’s personal participation in the peace conference, which notably excludes Russia.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba’s visit to Delhi in March was part of Kiev’s broader strategy to garner international support for its ‘peace formula’ for the conflict. During his visit, Kuleba emphasized that Ukraine-India relations have a promising future, contrasting them with what he described as India’s “extinct” Soviet legacy with Russia. He suggested that India’s close ties with Moscow could be leveraged to influence Russian behavior positively.

Despite Kiev’s efforts to sway New Delhi, India’s relationship with Russia remains robust and deeply rooted in history. Indian Foreign Minister S. Jaishankar has underscored the “time-tested” nature of this relationship, noting that both nations take “extra care” to look after each other’s interests. This enduring partnership has been reflected in the surge of bilateral trade, which reached $65 billion last year, largely driven by India’s imports of Russian oil.

India’s approach to the Russia-Ukraine conflict is reflective of its broader diplomatic strategy, which prioritizes strategic autonomy and balanced international relations. By engaging with both Western powers and Russia, India seeks to maintain its non-aligned stance while advancing its national interests. This strategy allows India to act as a potential mediator in international conflicts, leveraging its unique position to advocate for peaceful resolutions.

The meeting between Narendra Modi and Volodymyr Zelensky at the G7 summit underscores India’s proactive role in seeking a peaceful resolution to the Ukraine conflict. By advocating for dialogue and diplomacy, India aims to contribute to global stability while strengthening its bilateral relations with Ukraine. At the same time, New Delhi’s balanced approach to its relationship with Russia highlights its commitment to maintaining strategic autonomy in its foreign policy.

As the world looks towards the Swiss-hosted peace talks, India’s involvement will be closely watched. New Delhi’s ability to navigate the complex geopolitical landscape and act as a mediator could prove pivotal in the quest for peace in Ukraine. Through its engagement, India reaffirms its dedication to global peace and its role as a responsible international actor committed to the principles of dialogue and diplomacy. This multifaceted approach not only enhances India’s global standing but also contributes to a more stable and peaceful international order.

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