Sanctions against Russia | National

India’s position on unilateral sanctions hasn’t changed a bit: Ministry of External Affairs

The MEA’s comments come after a number of European countries have made it clear they intend to keep pushing for India to shift its position on the conflict and on its refusal to join the U.S. and E.U.’s sanctions.

The MEA’s comments come after a number of European countries have made it clear they intend to keep pushing for India to shift its position on the conflict and on its refusal to join the U.S. and E.U.’s sanctions. | Photo Credit: AP

India’s position on sanctions against Russia hasn’t changed “one bit”, asserted the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), speaking about the likelihood of renewed requests from European countries for India to join the sanctions imposed by Western countries during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s European tour next week. The visit to Germany, and Denmark for the Nordic Summit, and France, from May 2-4, where Mr. Modi will meet with leaders of at least seven European countries, is the Prime Minister’s first visit abroad in 2022, the MEA said on Thursday, and while “topical issues” like Ukraine would be discussed, the government expects to see more substantive bilateral subjects on the agenda for talks.

“We have a new Chancellor [Olaf Scholz] there...this will be the first interaction with him,” MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said at a briefing on Thursday, adding that the PM’s attendance at the second Nordic Summit would give relations with Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden a more “structured format”, and the visit to France will make Mr. Modi one of the earliest foreign visitors after President Emanuel Macron’s re-election there.

Ahead of the PM’s meetings in Berlin, the German Ambassador said that strengthening ties between democracies is important in times of “turmoil and crisis”, without referring directly to the Ukraine conflict.

The MEA’s comments come after a number of European countries have made it clear they intend to keep pushing for India to shift its position on the conflict and on its refusal to join the U.S. and E.U.’s sanctions. In separate interviews to The Hindu this week, Foreign Ministers of Luxembourg, Poland, Portugal and Poland had all expressed the hope that New Delhi would reconsider its refusal to criticise Russia, and even to use PM Modi’s relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin to convince him to stop the war. In a sharp response on Wednesday, External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar said India cannot be a “pale imitation” of others nor does it need the “approval” of others.

To a question from The Hindu about whether India plans to play a mediatory role in the conflict during the briefing on Thursday, the spokesperson said that while India is in touch with both Russia and Ukraine during this period and is ready to assist in any way required, the government hasn’t received “any particular requests from either side to carry a message or anything like that”. Mr. Bagchi also said he would be “surprised” if Mr. Modi were to stop in Moscow on his way back from the three-nation tour.

“Our position on sanctions hasn’t changed one bit. We have always stood by UN sanctions,” the spokesperson said, when asked if Mr. Modi will discuss other sanctions imposed by Western countries with European leaders during his visit, adding that India continues to hold inter-Ministerial discussions to see how India can keep its economic engagement with Russia “stabilised”.

In a statement on Thursday, German Ambassador Walter Lindner said the Sixth Inter-Governmental Consultations in Berlin on May 2-3 that will include several Ministers from both sides, plans to strengthen the rules-based international order in the Indo-Pacific and tackle pressing global challenges, such as climate change, transition to renewable energy, scientific and economic cooperation, migration, mobility, health. “In a world of turmoil and crisis, it is important to strengthen ties between friends and democratic nations, and exchange views on regional and global matters,” he added.


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Printable version | Jun 23, 2022 3:27:11 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/indias-position-on-unilateral-sanctions-hasnt-changed-a-bit-ministry-of-external-affairs/article65364521.ece