Russia’s unwillingness to exit from its “neighbouring country” was responsible for prolonging of the Ukrainian crisis, Jens Plötner said. The Foreign and Security Policy Advisor to German Chancellor Olaf Scholz is on a visit to India. Dr. Plötner on Monday met his Indian counterpart, National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval, and said India has an “important voice” in resolving the year-long crisis.
“We have great admiration for Indian diplomacy... This having been said, we do not have a shortage at the moment for mediators but we have an acute shortage of Russia’s willingness to stop this war and get out of its neighbouring country,” Dr. Plötner said in an interaction with the media at the residence here of Germany’s Ambassador to India, Philipp Ackermann.
The discussion between Dr. Plötner and top Indian policymakers is part of the prelude to the expected visit by Mr. Scholz later this month, which will be the latter’s first tour of India since taking over his country’s premiership from Angela Merkel in December 2021.
Last week, Mr. Doval attended the fifth meeting of NSAs on Afghanistan in Moscow, which was also addressed by Russian President Putin. In an expanding diplomatic initiative, Mr. Doval, alongside Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has maintained communication with both the Russian and the Ukrainian sides since the start of Russia’s “special military operation” against Ukraine in February 2022. “The Indian angle is very important; the voice of New Delhi is one which is heard very, very clearly and which is listened to in Moscow and that makes it all the more important,” Dr. Plötner said.
The high-level visit from Germany has come in the backdrop of India’s continued purchase of oil from Russia, which was criticised initially by Western powers. In recent weeks, however, there has been a slight softening of that criticism. Dr. Plötner refused to criticise India saying that his country had imported energy from Russia for many decades, and adding, “I will desist from giving marks to partner countries [on the issue].“ He said emphatically that Germany had “disinvested totally” from Russian energy, even though it had left an impact on the German way of life.
Dr. Plötner’s visit is the beginning of several high-level interactions between India and Germany that will continue throughout the G-20 meetings and culminating in a summit. Providing an impression of Germany’s current worldview, Dr. Plötner said, Germany and India were dealing with a “very messy international situation” because of the Russian campaign in Ukraine. The war in Ukraine is a European war that has “immediate” global repercussions, Dr. Plötner said, as it was being waged by violating the “rule of law”.
Such violations could turn the world into a “jungle”, Dr. Plötner cautioned, calling upon India to join Germany in strengthening global initiatives to stop climate change, and uphold values like democracy and human rights.