Ukraine commended India on Thursday for not supporting Russia’s claims over the Crimean peninsula. Speaking to The Hindu , the First Deputy Prime Minister of Ukraine, Stepan Kubiv, said that his government appreciated India’s neutrality and wanted to partner modernisation plans of the Indian armed forces.
“I am thankful to India for its strong support for the unity and the integrity of Ukraine and for not supporting annexation of Crimea by Russia. The war with Russia has united and consolidated our country and we are ready to play a supportive role in India,” said Mr. Kubiv during an exclusive chat with The Hindu .
Following the intervention in Crimea, Russia annexed the region on March 18, 2014. However, India has maintained that the situation should be resolved peacefully.
Mr. Kubiv arrived late on Wednesday and participated in the Republic Day ceremony in the capital. He left for Visakhapatnam for the Global Partnership Summit. In Delhi, he held a meeting with Minister of State for External Affairs M.J. Akbar during which both sides firmed up plans for the joint inter-government commission which is likely to meet for the sixth session in Kiev in April. Mr. Kubiv is the co-chairman of the commission with Mr. Akbar.
On top of his agenda is Ukraine’s offer of military hardware to the Indian armed forces. “Ukraine wants to complete the contract, signed in 2009, on modernisation and overhauling of An-32 fleet for the Indian Air Force. Armoured infantry vehicles, equipment engineering, patrol boats, space research are some of our other priorities in relation with India,” Mr. Kubiv said, revealing that Ukraine will send a strong contingent for the “Aero India 2017” in Bengaluru.
India and Ukraine are also on track to revive high-level political dialogue. The last big visit from India was 12 years ago when President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam visited Kiev in 2005. “We hope that after a gap of 12 years, we will be able to welcome the Indian President once again,” Mr. Kubiv said, explaining that India had accepted Ukraine’s invitation to President Pranab Mukherjee for a state visit.
Mr. Kubiv said that Ukraine had recovered from the impact of the war and emerged as a safe destination for students from all over the world.