On Friday (September 16), Prime Minister Narendra Modi told Russian President Vladimir Putin about the need to establish global peace and end the conflict in Ukraine. He made the remarks during a bilateral meeting with Putin on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Summit (SCO) in Samarkand in Uzbekistan.
“Today’s era is not of war and I have spoken to you about it on the call. Today we will get the opportunity to talk about how we can progress on the path of peace. India and Russia have stayed together with each other for several decades,” the Indian Prime Minister told the Russian President.
PM Modi also thanked Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy for facilitating the evacuation of Indian students from the war-torn areas. He added, “We spoke several times on the phone about India-Russia bilateral relations and various issues. We should find ways to address the problems of food, fuel security and fertilizers.”
“Today’s era isn’t of war & I’ve spoken to you about it on the call. Today we’ll get the opportunity to talk about how can we progress on the path of peace. India-#Russia has stayed together for several decades”: PM Modi in bilateral meet with Russian President Putin#SCOSummit pic.twitter.com/Fsl6CtX6gO— DD News (@DDNewslive) September 16, 2022
Russian President Vladimir Putin acknowledged the concerns raised by the Indian Prime Minister. “I know about your position on the Ukraine conflict. I know about your concerns. We want all of this to end as soon as possible. But the other party, the leadership of Ukraine has claimed… that they refuse to engage in the negotiation process.”
“They said they want to achieve their objectives, as they say, on the battlefield militarily. We will keep you abreast of everything that is happening over there. We are actively engaging on international platforms. We are in discussion on international issues. Sometimes these issues are something that is not very good news…,” Putin emphasised.
He further emphasised that the trade between India and Russia is growing and that the supply of Russian fertilisers to India has grown more than 8 times. “I am hopeful that this is going to be of huge help of the agricultural sector of India,” he remarked.
The two-day summit was attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping along with other leaders from a total of fifteen heads of state and the heads of ten international organizations.
US Media heaps praise on PM Modi for ‘rebuking’ Putin
On Friday, the US media heaped praise on the Indian Prime Minister for ‘bluntly and publicly’ challenging Putin to stop the war in Ukraine.
The Washington Post wrote, “The rare reproach showed the 69-year-old Russian strongman coming under extraordinary pressure from all sides. Internationally, he is facing calls to end the war not only from his traditional critics in the West but also from Asian partners whom he cannot paint as beholden to the U.S.”
It further added, “Russia and India for years have enjoyed close bilateral cooperation, but, as with China, Putin’s decision to invade Ukraine has tested the relationship.”
Similarly, The New York Times lauded the Indian government for looking Putin in the eye. It wrote, “Mr Modi’s comments came a day after President Xi Jinping of China — in his first face-to-face meeting with Mr Putin since the invasion began — struck a far more subdued tone than the Russian president, and steered clear in his public comments of any mention of Ukraine.”
“All along, India has called for dialogue while avoiding challenging Russia as an aggressor, with its officials quietly insisting that their country is an intermediate power and needs to maintain ties and credibility with both Russia and the West in order to help make peace,” it concluded.
This is the first in-person SCO Summit since the Covid epidemic. The most recent SCO Heads of State Summit took place in Bishkek in June 2019.
The SCO currently has eight member countries (China, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Pakistan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan), four observer states interested in acceding to full membership (Afghanistan, Belarus, Iran, and Mongolia), and six “Dialogue Partners” (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Cambodia, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Turkey).