PM Modi dials Russian President Putin, repeats hope for “dialogue and diplomacy” to end war in Ukraine

Kremlin says PM expressed support for Putin on Wagner mutiny, discussed SCO summit, U.S. visit

Updated - June 30, 2023 09:30 pm IST

Published - June 30, 2023 12:10 pm IST - Moscow

President Vladimir Putin called PM Narendra Modi “a big friend” of Russia and said his ‘Make in India’ campaign has had a “truly impressive effect” on the country’s economy. | file photo

President Vladimir Putin called PM Narendra Modi “a big friend” of Russia and said his ‘Make in India’ campaign has had a “truly impressive effect” on the country’s economy. | file photo | Photo Credit: V.V. Krishnan

Days after his return from the United States, Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday, calling once again for “dialogue and diplomacy” to end the Ukraine conflict, while “expressing support” for Mr. Putin’s actions during the June 24 failed mutiny in Russia. During the conversation, which the Kremlin said had occurred “at the initiative of the Indian side”, PM Modi also spoke about upcoming contacts between both leaders at the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) virtual summit on July 4, and the BRICS and G-20 summits in August and September, and informed Mr. Putin about his recent visit to Washington. On Friday Chinese President Xi Jinping and Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif confirmed they will attend the virtual summit, as will leaders of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

“President Putin informed PM about the recent developments in Russia,” said a statement issued by the government. “While discussing the situation in Ukraine, PM reiterated his call for dialogue and diplomacy,” it said.

In a more detailed statement, the Kremlin said that Mr. Putin had given his assessment of the current situation in the “special military operation zone” in Ukraine, adding that he “stressed Kiev’s utter refusal to undertake political and diplomatic steps to resolve the conflict”. 

Also read: Rebellion in Russia: on the mutiny by Yevgeny Prigozhin of the Wagner private military company

“In connection with the events of June 24 in Russia, Narendra Modi expressed understanding and support for the decisive actions of the Russian leadership to protect law and order, ensure stability in the country and the security of its citizens,” said the statement issued by the Kremlin, referring to the short-lived rebellion by Wagner militia group chief Yevgeny Prigozhin, who had attempted a march on Moscow before calling it off and fleeing to Belarus. On Thursday, Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev had spoken to NSA Ajit Doval and briefed him on the developments.

Apart from the PM’s visit to Washington, the statement said the two leaders had spoken about bilateral projects and trade, and paid “particular attention” to interactions within the SCO and the G-20, in a possible indicator that President Putin intends to travel to Delhi for the G-20 summit on September 9-10. 

China’s Foreign Ministry on Friday confirmed Mr. Xi would attend the SCO summit via video-conference as well. 

“President Xi Jinping will deliver important remarks at the meeting and, together with other participating leaders, chart the course for the future growth of the organisation,“ said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning at a briefing in Beijing, adding that the other countries want the SCO to play a “bigger role in safeguarding regional security and promoting common development“.

Also read: Days after the Wagner mutiny, the spectres of ‘Black Saturday’ continue to haunt Russians

Since the military standoff at the Line of Actual Control (LAC) began in April 2020, PM Modi and President Xi have not spoken directly, with the exception of a brief meeting and exchange of greetings at the G-20 summit in Bali in 2022. They both also attended last year’s SCO summit in Samarkand, but did not have any public contact during the meeting, and have attended a number of virtual multilateral conferences.

Pakistan Prime Minister Sharif would also attend the summit, said the Pakistan Ministry of Foreign Affairs, adding that SCO leaders would “chart the future direction of cooperation” and would induct Iran as a new member of the organisation.

(with inputs from Ananth Krishnan)

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