India will do “everything” necessary to resolve the war in Ukraine, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Saturday during a meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, on the sidelines of the G-7 summit in Hiroshima, Japan. Mr. Modi expressed anguish at the devastation caused by the war and conveyed his personal desire to end the hostilities, during the interaction which was his first with Mr. Zelensky since the war began in February 2022.
“You know much more than any of us the pain of war but I could very well understand your pain and the pain of the Ukrainian people when our children narrated the circumstances in your country after they were brought back last year. I want to assure you that India — and personally myself — will certainly do everything that is necessary to resolve this crisis,” Mr. Modi said in his interaction with Mr. Zelensky. The PM was accompanied by National Security Adviser Ajit Doval and External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar, while the Ukrainian President was accompanied by his security and foreign affairs team, including Andriy Yermak, head of the Office of the President.
‘Dialogue and diplomacy’
Taking to social media to share details of the interaction, Mr. Zelensky said that he had discussed the peace formula with Mr. Modi, and also raised Ukraine’s requirement for mobile hospitals and demining support.
Foreign Secretary Vinay Mohan Kwatra told the media that Mr. Zelensky had invited Mr. Modi to visit Ukraine. He added that the PM had “conveyed India’s clear support for dialogue and diplomacy to find a way forward”. Mr. Modi also gave an assurance that India would continue to provide humanitarian support to the people of Ukraine.
The two leaders had last met on the sidelines of the COP26 summit in Glasgow on November 2, 2021. Mr. Modi has repeatedly called upon Moscow and Kyiv to start dialogue and stop hostilities. Earlier this year, the G-20 Foreign Ministers’ meeting witnessed a heated exchange between the western delegates and the Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, as the west pressed the G-20 to take up the issue of Ukraine. India, on its part, has been saying that the matters concerning the developing world or the Global South are more important and should be highlighted.
Reflecting that Indian position in his opening remarks at the G-7 meeting, the Prime Minister indirectly raised the commodities crisis that was triggered by the war in Ukraine.
There is an urgent need to remove the “political obstacles” that have emerged in the global fertilizer supply chains, Mr. Modi said, supporting natural farming as an alternative to fertilizers. “We need to strengthen the global fertilizer supply chain and remove the political obstacles that have emerged in it. We also have to control those expansionist tendencies that are trying to control fertilizer resources. Across the world, we can bring natural farming as an alternative to fertilizer,” Mr. Modi said, arguing in favour of an “inclusive food system”. The crisis in Ukraine has affected fertilizer supplies across the world.
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Addressing a working session of the meeting of the G-7 countries, the Prime Minister also raised the need to safeguard the rights of transgender individuals. “We have made laws to safeguard the rights of transgender persons,” he said.. He presented India’s development as centred on women’s welfare and said, “Today women’s development is not a matter of discussion in India because today we are the leader in women-led development.”
Inclusive food system
He also highlighted India’s millets initiative, noting that millets could help in addressing nutrition requirements, climate change, water conservation and food security. “Our priority should be the building of an inclusive food system that will focus on the welfare of the most vulnerable people and marginal farmers,” the PM said.
Earlier, Mr. Modi met the Prime Minister of Vietnam Pham Minh Chinh, on the sidelines of the G-7 summit. “They also discussed opportunities in the fields of defence, building resilient supply chains, energy, science and technology, human resource development, culture and people-to-people ties,” the Ministry of External Affairs announced after the meeting.
Mr. Modi started his engagements by meeting Japanese PM Fumio Kishida, and unveiling a bronze bust of Mahatma Gandhi near the Motoyasu river in Hiroshima, the first city to have experienced atomic bombing in human history. The PM also met with French President Emmanuel Macron and South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol.