Prime Minister Narendra Modi told Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday that now “is not the time for war” as the war in Ukraine enters its ninth month, on the sidelines of regional summits.
“Your Excellency, I know today is not a time for war,” Prime Minister Modi told Putin in Samarkand, where the two leaders began their first face-to-face talks since Moscow’s army invaded Ukraine.
Prime Minister Modi’s remarks came a day after Putin acknowledged that Russia’s main ally, China, has “concerns” about the conflict in Ukraine.
Putin told the Indian prime minister that he wanted to end the conflict in Ukraine that began in February as soon as possible and understood India’s concerns about the fighting.
“I know your position on the conflict in Ukraine, your concerns… We will do our best to end this as soon as possible,” Putin told Mr Modi.
The summit comes as Russian troops face a major battlefield setback in Ukraine.
“Unfortunately, on the contrary, Ukrainian leaders have announced their rejection of the negotiating process, expressing their desire to achieve their goals on the battlefield by military means,” Putin said.
It is reported that the leaders of the two countries discussed bilateral, regional and global issues during the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit.
India has yet to criticize Russia for invading Ukraine. New Delhi has been pushing for a solution to the crisis through dialogue.
New Delhi and Moscow have a longstanding relationship dating back to the Cold War, while Russia remains by far India’s largest arms supplier.
Chinese President Xi Jinping said on Thursday that China was willing to cooperate with Russia to support “each other’s core interests”, even as Putin acknowledged Beijing had “concerns” about the situation in Ukraine that he would address.
The SCO — which also includes Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan — was founded in 2001 as a political, economic and security organization that competes with Western institutions.