This is not an era for war, so dialogue should be the answer, New Delhi’s top diplomat has said
Ukraine and Russia are the only parties that should decide when and how they resume peace talks, Indian External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar has said.
“The Indian position articulated by my Prime Minister [Narendra Modi] is that this is not an era of war, that dialogue and diplomacy is the answer,” he said during a joint press-conference with his visiting German counterpart, Annalena Baerbock.
“What is the basis for people to have that dialogue is for the countries concerned [to decide]. It’s not for India to specify or to advocate [specific conditions].”
The remark came in response to a question from the German media about New Delhi’s position on the Ukrainian crisis and whether it considered Russian incorporation of several former Ukrainian regions “a legitimate foundation” for peace talks.
Amid the ongoing conflict, four former Ukrainian regions joined Russia following referendums. Back in 2014, Crimea overwhelmingly voted to join Russia following a coup in Kiev.
The Ukrainian government has dismissed the votes as a “sham” and pledged to continue fighting Russia until its troops are pushed back to their pre-2014 positions.
Moscow maintains it was open to peace talks and that Kiev’s Western sponsors interfered when the two parties were on the path towards settling their differences in late March.
“We were prepared to make a deal on the terms that [the Ukrainians] proposed themselves,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said last week. “They were not allowed to do that because the war had not made enough profit for those who supervise and direct it.”
The diplomat said the US and the UK had prolonged the conflict in Ukraine by derailing negotiations. They were motivated by a desire to hurt Russia and make a profit from weapons sales, he alleged.
Lavrov was referring to talks mediated by Türkiye that took place in Istanbul. The proposed peace deal would have ensured Ukraine’s neutral status in exchange for security guarantees from major world powers.