India is engaged with all parties on Ukraine: Foreign Secretary

Harsh Vardhan Shringla says India has direct interest in the region, dialogue is the only way forward

February 27, 2022 10:00 pm | Updated February 28, 2022 10:13 am IST - NEW DELHI

 Harsh Vardhan Shringla. File

Harsh Vardhan Shringla. File | Photo Credit: PTI

India has "every reason" to contribute in resolving the Ukrainian conflict, said Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla on Sunday. Addressing a special briefing on the crisis and its humanitarian dimensions, Mr. Shringla said that India believes dialogue between the warring sides is the only way ahead.

"We have been engaged with all parties. Our Prime Minister has spoken with the Presidents of Russia and Ukraine. The External Affairs Minister has been in touch with a very wide range of interlocutors who are involved in the situation. We are essentially a country that has direct interest in the region. We have friends and equities in the area," Mr. Shringla in response to a question from The Hindu.

The response was part of several similar comments from a number of global capitals that sought ceasefire in the conflict that erupted on February 23 with the Russian invasion of Ukraine. An early initiative for dialogue arose on Sunday with Belarus providing a venue for a meeting between Russian and Ukrainian representatives.

Ukraine's envoy to India had sought an intervention by PM Modi in resolving the crisis on February 24, which was followed by Mr. Modi's calls to President Vladimir Putin of Russia and President Zelensky of Ukraine. In his phone call with Mr. Zelensky, PM Modi had conveyed "anguish" at the tragic loss of lives in the fighting and "expressed India's willingness to contribute in any way towards peace efforts".

"We have every reason to be in touch with all concerned and if we can play — if there is any way that anyone can contribute; it's not just us but anyone — in alleviating what is a difficult situation, I am sure they would do what it takes," Mr. Shringla said.

The Indian Foreign Secretary continued to engage officials on both sides and met Russian and Ukrainian envoys on Sunday.

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