Ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s much-anticipated meeting with US President Joe Biden in Tokyo on 24 May, India today called for an immediate cessation of hostilities in Ukraine, saying ”diplomacy and dialogue” was the best path to resolve the Russia-Ukraine conflict.
Briefing reporters on the PM’s 23-24 May visit to Japan, Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra, on Sunday, said the PM would take part in the Quad Summit on 24 May along with the American leader and the prime ministers of Japan and Australia.
Dismissing criticism of the Quad by certain countries especially China, he said it was a grouping of countries rooted in democracy, pluralism, and market economy. Beijing has been quite vocal in its criticism of the Quad, saying its main objective was to contain China’s rise.
The summit would focus on peace and stability in the Indo-pacific and the Covid-19 vaccine initiative of the four Quad countries. He indicated that the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine arising from the ongoing war and the situation in Afghanistan and Sri Lanka would also figure prominently during the summit.
More than the Quad Summit, all eyes will be on the meeting between Modi and the US president since New Delhi has not openly criticised Moscow or stopped oil purchases from Russia, much against the wishes of the American administration.
The Ukraine issue is likely to come up in a big way at the Modi-Biden meet. ”Our position on Ukraine is amply clear and has been reiterated many times. Right from the time when hostilities began (in February), we asked for an immediate cessation of hostilities and dialogue remains the best policy to move forward in this regard,” Kwatra said.
The foreign secretary stated that the two leaders would focus on further strengthening the multi-faceted Indo-US relationship which has acquired momentum and depth in recent years.
Modi would also have a bilateral meeting with Japanese PM Fumio Kishida. The foreign secretary said the two leaders would continue their discussions on deepening bilateral economic cooperation, including trade and investment, clean energy, and cooperation in India’s North-eastern states. A bilateral meeting was also expected with the new PM of Australia, where voting was going on today.