PM Modi virtually holds meeting with US President Biden, discuss Ukraine situation
New Delhi, Apr 11: In a virtual meeting with US President Joe Biden, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday night hoped that the ongoing talks between Russia and Ukraine will pave the way for peace in the conflict-torn country.
In his opening remarks, Modi described the recent reports of the killing of innocent civilians in Bucha city as "very worrying" and said India immediately condemned it and demanded a fair investigation.
The prime minister referred to his phone conversation with the Presidents of both Ukraine and Russia. "'I suggested President Putin have direct talks with the President of Ukraine," Modi said.
"As the world's two largest and oldest democracies, we are natural partners," Modi said on ties with the US, adding, "Our talks today are taking place at a time when the situation in Ukraine remains very worrying."
On his part, Biden welcomed India's humanitarian support for the people of Ukraine. The US President said US and India are going to continue their close consultation on how to manage and stabilise the effects of this Russian war.
He also referred to the strong and growing defence partnership between India and the US. The Modi-Biden meeting took place ahead of the fourth India-US '2+2' dialogue in Washington which will be led by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on the Indian side and their US counterparts, Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin and Secretary of State Antony J Blinken.
The virtual meeting comes in the midst of some disquiet in Washington over India's position on the Ukraine crisis as well as its decision to procure discounted Russian oil. The US President last spoke to Modi and other Quad leaders during a virtual meeting in March.
Unlike its Quad partner countries, India has not yet condemned the Russian invasion of Ukraine and it abstained from the votes at the UN platforms on the Russian aggression. India has been pressing for an immediate cessation of violence in Ukraine and seeking a resolution of the crisis through diplomacy and dialogue.
Modi held phone conversations with Russian President Vladimir Putin on February 24, March 2 and March 7. He had also spoken to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy twice. In a meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on April 1, Modi conveyed that India stands ready to contribute in any way to the peace efforts to resolve the conflict in Ukraine. PTI