New York: India’s External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar has said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent remarks to Russian President Vladimir Putin – that “today’s era is not of war” on the Ukraine invasion were consistent with the existing Indian position.
Addressing reporters at the conclusion of his 10-day tour of the US, Jaishankar also said that the UN Security Council reforms and counter-terrorism will be the focus of India’s presidency of the elite world body in December, which will also be the last month of its eighth term as a non-permanent member.
The minister’s Washington DC visit was packed with back-to-back meetings with officials – including a working dinner at Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s home, lawmakers, business leaders, and policy mavens, but it was marked most starkly by considerable excitement on the American cite over Modi’s remarks to Putin on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization’s summit in Samarkand, Uzbekistan.
Jaishankar sought to tamp down the excitement somewhat, noting that India had been conveying the same message to Russia for a while, but privately. “The position that the Prime Minister took was consistent with a position that we have been taking earlier,” he said.
He added the remarks were possibly “received and perceived in a way because it was a face-to-face meeting… I think it’s understandable that a physical meeting made a stronger impact than sort of a second-hand report.”
The Russian invasion of Ukraine had led to some difficult conversations between India and the US as New Delhi refused to condemn it as robustly as the US-west wanted, and, also, Indian not only continued to buy Russian oil but it stepped up its purchases to take advantage of the discounted rates on offer. The western government felt that India – and China – softened the sanctions imposed on Russia. (IANS)