Why Zelenskyy is looking to PM Modi to help end Ukraine war

Why Zelenskyy is looking to PM Modi to help end Ukraine war

Why Zelenskyy is looking to PM Modi to help end Ukraine war

The Ukrainian president recognises Modi’s influence over Russian president Vladimir Putin and wants India to play a proactive role in forging peace

Within days of returning from his US trip, where he addressed the Congress, Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy telephoned Prime Minister Narendra Modi with expectations of India’s help in implementing a peace formula with Russia as was proposed by Modi at the G20 Bali summit. Zelenskyy, like other world leaders, is aware of Modi’s equation with Russian president Vladimir Putin and the influence the Indian PM can exercise in helping end the war in Ukraine.

Zelenskyy‘s trust perhaps developed from a recent remark by CIA director William J. Burns that Modi had used his influence over Putin to avert the use of nuclear weapons in Ukraine. The remark assumed significance since Putin had warned of the increasing threat of nuclear war and said that Russia would fight with all available means.

The CIA chief’s remarks are considered as another endorsement of India’s position on the Ukraine conflict. Since Russia invaded Ukraine in February, Modi and Zelenskyy have spoken on the phone four times. Modi has also spoken to Putin a number of times. In the last telephonic conversation with Zelenskyy on October 4, Modi had said that “no military solution” was possible on issues between Russia and Ukraine and that India was ready to contribute to peace efforts.

In September, Modi, in his bilateral meeting with Putin at the SCO summit in Samarkand, had conveyed to Russia that “now is not an era of war”. Given the historic ties between New Delhi and Moscow, Modi’s message had received praise from the West, particularly the US, which saw it as a public rebuke of Russia. Modi reiterated his anti-war message in a declaration by leaders of the G20 in Bali last month.

Since the war broke out, India has sent 12 shipments, totalling 99.3 tonnes of humanitarian aid, to Ukraine and its neighbours. These consist of prescription medicines, blankets, tents, tarps and other supplies. In a televised address on December 27, Zelenskyy referred to his telephonic conversation with Modi the previous day and felt that New Delhi could be “more active in efforts to end [Russia’s] aggression”. “Today I spoke with the prime minister of India. Next year, it will be India that will preside over the G20. I wished Mr Modi a fruitful presidency, and fruitful not for someone in particular but for everyone in the world who values peace,” he said.

External affairs minister S. Jaishankar too has pointed out that India and PM Modi have become the “voice of the world”, especially the developing countries, in pushing for an end to the Ukraine conflict through dialogue and diplomacy. He added that India is among the countries all sides are sharing their views with.

Courtesy: India today