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Steps Regarding War & Peace

Emine Aiiarovna Dzhaparova, the First Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, concluded her four-day visit to India on April 12, 2023. The Indian Ministry of External Affairs issued a statement, saying that it was the first visit to New Delhi by a Ukrainian minister since the beginning of the Russia-Ukraine War on February 24, 2022.

In the Indian capital, Dzhaparova held separate meetings with Indian Foreign Secretary Vinay Mohan Kwatra, Minister of State for External Affairs Meenakshi Lekhi, Deputy National Security Adviser Vikram Misri and other senior Government officials, mainly to discuss the current security situation in her country and different aspects of bilateral ties. According to diplomatic sources, the visiting minister sought India’s moral support to Ukraine against Russian aggression.

During her meetings with top political leadership in New Delhi, Dzhaparova urged India to play a bigger role in preventing Russian aggression. She reportedly requested the South Asian nation to invite the Ukrainian President to attend the G20 Summit, scheduled to be held in New Delhi in September (2023), as the leader of an observer state. However, India rejected the request. Soon after the Kremlin claimed that Russian oil sales to India surged more than 22-fold in 2022 as European buyers turned to other markets following the conflict in Ukraine, the visiting minister stressed: “I think that India should be pragmatic in diversifying its energy resources, diversifying military contracts, and also in diversifying political interaction.

Responding to a question on India-Russia ties during an interactive session with the local media held at the Indian Council of World Affairs (ICWA), the First Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine stated: “We are not in the position of instructing India in their economic ties with other countries. We only think it is crucial to diversify all of the resources, not only energy, but also military resources.” She added: “So we hope that India and Ukraine, even though we are distant geographically, but we will become closer physically and politically and in many other ways.” Dzhaparova told the press that her country, like India, had never attacked anyone, and was a victim of unprovoked and neocolonial war.

India reportedly remained silent during Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014. Recalling New Delhi’s gesture, Dzhaparova said: “India should recognise the danger of rising impunity in neighbourhoods. India also has a difficult neighbourhood with China and Pakistan. The Crimea episode has a lesson for India as well. Whenever impunity happens and if it is not stopped, it becomes bigger.

It may be noted that Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Viktorovich Lavrov visited India just a month after President Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin had ordered military action in Ukraine. He met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and External Affairs Minister Dr Subrahmanyam Jaishankar during his short trip to New Delhi. Significantly, India has yet to support any resolution brought by the US and European countries against Moscow on Ukraine War at the UN. Commenting on the issue, Dzhaparova stressed that India’s strategy of Avoidance of Liability would not be particularly useful in this kind of situation. Experts are of the opinion that the Ukrainian minister’s comments could be seen as referring to India’s territorial disputes with China and Pakistan. Without mentioning the decades-long Indo-Russian friendship, she said: “Ukraine really wants India and Ukraine to be closer. Yes, there is a history between us. But we want to start a new relationship with India.

Prime Minister Modi spoke to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Oleksandrovych Zelenskyy several times over the phone during the year-long war. President Zelenskyy sought India’s help to stop the bloodshed in his country. New Delhi has maintained cordial diplomatic ties with Kiev since the emergence of Ukraine as a new state after the breakup of the erstwhile Soviet Union nearly three decades ago. However, the Modi Administration is maintaining a diplomatic balance on the Russia-Ukraine War, keeping in mind New Delhi’s dependence on Moscow in various fields, including defence and oil. Experts are of the opinion that India, as the current President of G20, should take a bold step in order to restore peace between Moscow and Kiev.

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