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India can contribute to peace efforts in Ukraine, says Lavrov after meeting Modi, Jaishankar

Lavrov said at a media briefing after holding talks with External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar that no one would oppose if India decides to contribute to the peace initiatives.

Published: 01st April 2022 10:28 PM  |   Last Updated: 01st April 2022 10:28 PM   |  A+A-

In this photo provided by Indian Foreign Minister S. Jaishankar's Twitter handle, Jaishankar and his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov sit for a meeting in New Delhi. (Photo | Twitter)

Express News Service

NEW DELHI: India, with its "just and rational" approach towards international problems, can support peace efforts to resolve the ongoing situation in Ukraine if it chooses to play such a role, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Friday while complementing New Delhi's "independent" position on the conflict.

Lavrov said at a media briefing after holding talks with External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar that no one would oppose if India decides to contribute to the peace initiatives.

Describing India as an "important and serious" country, he said it does not come under any influence of the US.

Lavrov said India can play the role if it "with its position of just and rational approach towards international problems, (thinks) it can support such a process and no one would be against it".

He was responding to a question on whether India can play the role of a mediator in defusing the conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

The Russian foreign minister reiterated that it was for New Delhi to decide if it sees a "role which provides resolution of the problem in this present condition, and to provide equality and security".

He claimed that it was the Western countries that forced Russia into the conflict.

"I believe that India's foreign policy is characterised by independence and the concentration on the real national legitimate interests," he said.

Lavrov said Russia also follows the same approach and policy, and it has made both the "big" countries good friends and an important part of each other's international relations.

"We always respect each other's interests," he said.

Lavrov arrived in New Delhi on Thursday evening after concluding a two-day visit to China.

Hours before the Russian foreign minister landed in India, US Deputy National Security Adviser Daleep Singh cautioned that there will be consequences for countries actively attempting to "circumvent or backfill" American sanctions against Moscow.

Unlike many other leading powers, India has not yet criticised Russia for its invasion of Ukraine and it abstained from the votes at the UN platforms in condemning the Russian aggression.

However, last Thursday, India abstained on a resolution pushed by Russia on the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine, which was seen as reflective of its neutral position on the conflict.

India has been pressing for the resolution of the crisis through diplomacy and dialogue.

Modi has held phone conversations with Russian President Vladimir Putin on February 24, March 2 and March 7.

Modi had spoken to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy twice.

Last week, Jaishankar said in Parliament that India's position on the Ukraine conflict has been "steadfast and consistent" and that it has been seeking immediate cessation of violence.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday conveyed to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov that India stands ready to contribute in any way to the peace efforts to resolve the conflict in Ukraine and called for early cessation of violence in that country.

The prime minister communicated this when Lavrov called on him after holding wide-ranging talks with External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, a day after arriving in India on a two-day visit.

Ahead of his meeting with Modi, Lavrov said at a media briefing that India, with its "just and rational" approach towards international problems, can support the peace efforts if it chooses to play such a role.

"Foreign Minister Lavrov briefed the prime minister on the situation in Ukraine, including the ongoing peace negotiations," the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) said in a statement.

"The prime minister reiterated his call for an early cessation of violence, and conveyed India's readiness to contribute in any way to the peace efforts," it said.

On Wednesday, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba told NDTV that India can use its influence with Russia to convince it to stop the war in Ukraine.

Asked if he sees Prime Minister Modi being a possible mediator between Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelinskyy and Russian President Vladimir Putin, Kuleba said "if Prime Minister Modi is willing to play that role, we would welcome his efforts".

At the media briefing, Lavrov said India can contribute to the peace efforts if it "with its position of just and rational approach towards international problems, (thinks) it can support such a process and no one would be against it.

" He was responding to a question on whether India can play the role of a mediator in defusing the conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

The Russian foreign minister reiterated that it was for New Delhi to decide if it sees a "role which provides resolution of the problem in this present condition, and to provide equality and security."

Lavrov also complimented India's "independent" position on the conflict while describing it as an "important and serious" country that does not come under any influence of the US.

"I believe that India's foreign policy is characterised by independence and the concentration on the real national legitimate interests," he said.

Lavrov said Russia also follows the same approach and policy, and it has made both the "big" countries good friends and an important part of each other's international relations.

We always respect each other's interests, he said.

In a statement on the Lavrov-Jaishankar talks, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said the two sides discussed developments pertaining to Ukraine.

It said they assessed the overall state of cooperation and considered the implications of recent developments on trade and economic relations.

The MEA said Jaishankar underlined that as a developing economy, global volatility in different domains is of particular concern to India.

"It is important for both countries that their economic, technological and people to people contacts remain stable and predictable," it said.

"The external affairs minister emphasised the importance of cessation of violence and ending hostilities. Differences and disputes should be resolved through dialogue and diplomacy and by respect for international law, UN Charter, sovereignty and territorial integrity of states," it said.

Lavrov arrived in New Delhi on Thursday evening after concluding a two-day visit to China.

Hours before the Russian foreign minister landed in India, US Deputy National Security Adviser Daleep Singh cautioned that there will be consequences for countries actively attempting to "circumvent or backfill" American sanctions against Moscow.

Unlike many other leading powers, India has not yet criticised Russia for its invasion of Ukraine and it abstained from the votes at the UN platforms in condemning the Russian aggression.

However, last Thursday, India abstained on a resolution pushed by Russia on the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine, which was seen as reflective of its neutral position on the conflict.

India has been pressing for the resolution of the crisis through diplomacy and dialogue.

Modi has held phone conversations with Russian President Vladimir Putin on February 24, March 2 and March 7.

Modi had spoken to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy twice.

Last week, Jaishankar said in Parliament that India's position on the Ukraine conflict has been "steadfast and consistent" and that it has been seeking immediate cessation of violence.

Lavrov, while emphasising on the Rupee Ruble payment system for trade between India and Russia, also appreciated India’s stand on the conflict in Ukraine.

Lavrov was on a two-day visit to India where he met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and External Affairs Minister, Dr S Jaishankar.

Lavrov said that Russia has developed a system to engage in trade in national currencies with countries like India, to bypass the dollar.

"As regards using Rupee and Ruble in our financial trade dealings, I would recall many years ago we started moving in our relations with India, China and with other countries using the dollar, euros to more use of national currencies," Lavrov said today adding that the Rupee-Rubal payment system is ongoing for many years and India could use it to trade oil, military hardware and other goods.

He also said that Russia would be ready to supply India any goods, as they already had good relations with ministries of trade and finance with India.

PM Modi, on meeting Lavrov, reiterated his call for an early cessation of violence and conveyed India’s readiness to contribute in any way to the peace efforts.

Dr Jaishankar’s also spoke about restoration of peace and said the meeting had taken place in a difficult international environment, the first since Russia invaded Ukraine.

"India has always been in favour of resolving differences and disputes through dialogue and diplomacy," Dr Jaishankar added.

Meanwhile, the Russian minster reiterated that the new currency exchange, if brought to use, would be able to bypass the impediments which illegal and unilateral sanctions of the west had created.

Russia’s central bank had several years ago established a system for the communication of financial information and India had a similar system.

"It is absolutely clear that more and more transactions would be done through this system using national currencies, bypassing dollar, euro and other currencies," he said.

On the Russia-Ukraine conflict, Lavrov appreciated India’s stance and said India is taking the situation in the entirety of effect and not just one-sided way.

India has called for an immediate ceasefire but abstained from all UNSC resolutions condemning Russian aggression.

India is committed to buying 6 billion tonnes of crude from Russia at a discount of $20 per barrel from public sector undertakings like IOCL negotiations are for an additional 4 million tonnes by the private sector companies.

Meanwhile, India is being pressurised to rethink on expanding its trade ties with Russia, though leeway has been given to import oil.

"Washington would not set any red line for India on its energy imports from Russia but did not want to see a rapid acceleration in purchases," said US Deputy National Security Adviser for International Economics, Daleep Singh, on his visit to India yesterday.

British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, who was in Delhi yesterday, also said that Britain respected India’s decision to buy discounted Russian oil, while advocating stringent sanctions on Russia relating to the ports, gold and energy sectors.

(With PTI Inputs)



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