India wants immediate end to Ukraine war

New Delhi, March 24 : India wants an immediate cessation of violence and hostilities in Ukraine and believes the only way forward is to return to the path of dialogue and diplomacy, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said on Thursday. The Minister also told the Rajya Sabha in comments that could be deemed to be critical of Moscow that India recognizes that “the global order is anchored on international law, UN Charter and respect for territorial integrity and sovereignty of all states”. The Minister said this after stating that India’s position on Ukraine was very clear and based on six principles. India, he said, wanted humanitarian access in a conflict situation. “We ourselves give humanitarian assistance. We have given 90 tonnes of humanitarian assistance so far and are looking at providing more specially medicines. We are in touch with the leadership of both Russia and Ukraine. The Prime Minister himself has spoken to both the Presidents,” Jaishankar added. The government also said that “realignment in the immediate neighbourhood” in the wake of the Russia-Ukraine conflict was “foremost in its attention”. “A lot of developments are taking place and we are monitoring them very, very carefully,” he said. The Minister was responding to a question by RJD’s Manoj Jha who wanted to know if the government was aware of a realignment in India’s neighbourhood. Responding to another question on growing proximity between Russia and China, he said: “We are aware of a lot of changes in international relations including Russia and China and a lot of other countries. We monitor and assess it from our national perspective and fashion our strategies in accordance with those developments.” Asked a question by Kerala Congress (Mani) member Jose K Mani, Jaishankar said: “Indian foreign policy decisions are made in Indian national interests. We are guided by our thinking, our views and interests, so there is no question of linking the Ukraine situation to issues of trade.” On India willing to purchase crude oil from Russia, Akali Dal member Naresh Gujral said the West buys oil from Moscow and gives New Delhi a lecture. Responding to Gujral, Jaishankar said: “I share the observations of the member.” He said that because of the problems in dealing with Russia following Western sanctions, “the government is examining various aspects including the payment aspect”. “In fact we import very little oil from Russia, less than 1 per cent of our imports. And many other countries import 10-20 times amount of oil that we do from Russia.” Responding to a question by Swapan Dasgupta, Jaishankar clarified that India’s position on Russia-Ukraine war was never as if it was not New Delhi’s problem. “Our position is that we are for peace. When the PM talked to (Presidents Vladimir) Putin thrice and (Volodymyr) Zelensky twice, the evacuation of students was a very big issue, but there was also a larger conversation on what we could do to encourage a cessation of hostilities and a return to dialogue and diplomacy,” he said. “Today, that sentiment is widely shared by many countries and I think we articulated it very strongly.” ASU MR

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