New Delhi: “India has close and friendly relations with both the United States and Russia and they stand on their own merit,” the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) told Parliament on Thursday, in reply to a query whether the Ukraine war had affected ties.
MEA’s statement comes in response to the recent remarks made by US President Joe Biden calling India’s stance on the Russian invasion of Ukraine “shaky”, which was later clarified by the US State Department.
“India has called for an immediate cessation of hostilities and return to the path of diplomacy and dialogue with respect to the conflict in Ukraine,” Minster of State, MEA, Meenakshi Lekhi stated in a written reply. Lekhi was replying to a question raised by Member of Parliament K. R. Suresh Reddy.
In addition, the government also informed that it had evacuated around 22,500 Indian nationals from Ukraine since February. It also added that as part of its timely response to the crisis, the country launched ‘Operation Ganga’ under which 90 evacuation flights including, 14 Indian Air Force flights were operated and were monitored at the MEA on a 24×7 basis as well.
Lekhi said that Prime Minister Modi spoke to Presidents of Russia and Ukraine on multiple occasions and “specifically took up the issue of safe evacuation of Indian nationals, especially from Kharkiv and Sumy”.