Ukraine foreign minister arrives in India, a historical ally of Russia

AP , Thursday 28 Mar 2024

Ukraine's foreign minister arrived in New Delhi on Thursday for a two-day visit to boost bilateral ties and cooperation with India, which considers Russia a time-tested ally from the Cold War-era.

FILE - Ukraine s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba.AP


Dmytro Kuleba will meet with his Indian counterpart Subrahmanyam Jaishankar on Friday, as well as the deputy national security advisor, according to India's Foreign Ministry.

On Thursday, Kuleba will pay his respects to Indian independence leader Mahatma Gandhi at the Rajghat memorial site.

His visit comes a week after Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Russian President Vladmir Putin, whom India has so far avoided criticizing over the war in Ukraine. Instead, New Delhi has stressed the need for diplomacy and dialogue on ending the war and has expressed its willingness to contribute to peace efforts.

On March 20, Modi posted on social media platform X, to say he had expressed to Zelenskyy “India's consistent support for all efforts for peace and bringing in an early end to the ongoing conflict,” adding that the country will continue to provide humanitarian assistance.

This came after Modi spoke to Putin to congratulate him on his re-election as president. According to a statement from India's Foreign Ministry, the two leaders agreed to further strengthen their relationship, while Modi reiterated that dialogue and peace was the best way forward for the Russia-Ukraine war.

Under Modi, India has promoted itself as a rising global player who can mediate between the West and Russia on the war in Ukraine.

In his phone call with Modi last week, Zelenskyy said he encouraged India to participate in the Peace Summit that Switzerland has offered to organize.

“Ukraine is interested in strengthening our trade and economic ties with India, particularly in agricultural exports, aviation cooperation, and pharmaceutical and industrial product trade,” the Ukrainian president said in a post on X.

At the United Nations, New Delhi has refrained from voting against Moscow, and has ramped up its purchases of Russian oil at discounted prices following the invasion.

Meanwhile, India has stepped up its engagements with Western powers like the United States and the European Union. New Delhi has been trying to reduce its dependance on Moscow for arms and technology because of disruptions in supplies due to the war. India is also part of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, or Quad, along with the U.S., Australia and Japan.

On a visit last year, Ukraine's Deputy Foreign Minister Emine Dzhaparova urged India to play a bigger role in helping end Russia's invasion, saying Kyiv would “welcome any effort that is directed at resolving the war."

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