Important to have India on board: Ukraine’s First Deputy Foreign Minister

Ukraine's Deputy Foreign Minister Dzhaparova said it is important to have India on board

April 10, 2023 02:11 pm | Updated 07:40 pm IST - NEW DELHI

Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) Secretary (West) Sanjay Verma (R) meets with Ukraine’s First Deputy Foreign Minister Emine Dzhaparova (L) in New Delhi on Monday

Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) Secretary (West) Sanjay Verma (R) meets with Ukraine’s First Deputy Foreign Minister Emine Dzhaparova (L) in New Delhi on Monday | Photo Credit: ANI

India is a global leader and can help in addressing key global challenges and promoting peace, Ukraine’s First Deputy Foreign Minister Emine Dzhaparova said on April 10 and invoked Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s message to Russian President Vladimir Putin in September last year that ‘today’s era is not of war’.

After briefing Secretary (West) in the Ministry of External Affairs Sanjay Verma on the ground situation in Ukraine, Ms. Dzhaparova said she updated the Indian side on Ukraine’s efforts to fight Russia’s “unprovoked aggression” and invited New Delhi to join President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s peace formula and the grain initiative.

Ms. Dzhaparova said it is important to have India on board.

At the same time, she also said that Ukraine is not in a position to instruct India on its economic relations with other countries, in an apparent reference to New Delhi’s energy ties with Moscow.

Also Read | India’s Russian oil imports now double that of Iraq

Ms. Dzhaparova’s visit to India is the first from Ukraine after Russia began its invasion of the east European country on February 24 last year.

Replying to a question during a brief interaction with reporters after meeting Mr. Verma, Ms. Dzhaparova described India as a global leader and a ‘Vishwaguru’ which can play a role in addressing global challenges.

“I think India is a global player. It is really a ‘Vishwaguru’ of the world. We are feeling the pain by actually fighting for the values. This is about justice.

“Russia is questioning the very existence of my country. In our history of 1,500 years, Ukraine never attacked any country,” she said.

“We never have this imperialistic and chauvinistic attitude towards our neighbours. We are victims of the unprovoked neo-colonial war. There is a need to promote peace and justice as your prime minister in Samarkand also said that ‘it is not an era of war’. Would we support this? Purely and fully,” she said.

The Ukrainian First Deputy Foreign Minister, referring to Russia, said, “Unfortunately, we have a country which questions the existence of other countries.” “On the question of India’s involvement — as a leader of the global south as a country holding the G20 presidency, we hope that India will be involved and engaged in global issues and challenges, economic challenges, energy challenges and nuclear challenges to a great extent,” Ms. Dzhaparova said.

In his bilateral meeting with Mr. Putin in Uzbekistan on September 16 in the Uzbek city of Samarkand, Mr. Modi said, “Today’s era is not of war” and nudged the Russian leader to end the conflict.

She also noted that an invitation to PM Modi to visit Ukraine is already there and Ukrainian President Zelenskyy will also extend the same to the Indian leader.

Asked about India’s economic ties with Russia, especially in the energy field, she said, “We are not in the position of instructing India in their economic ties with other countries...

“I think that India should be pragmatic in diversifying the energy resources, in diversifying military contracts, in diversifying political interaction.” At the same time, Ms. Dzhaparova noted that “what we see in my country when you are dependent on Russia, they will always use this blackmail instrument.” Ms. Dzhaparova described her meeting with Mr. Verma as a “great” one and that the talks focused on a wide agenda of bilateral track including digital transformation.

On the situation in her country, she said it is “quite difficult”, adding around 10,000 civilians were killed.

“I think it was an important conversation and I hope that our political dialogue will be much more intensified,” she said.

In a tweet, Mr. Verma said he and the visiting dignitary discussed bilateral engagements and cooperation going forward.

“Pleasure to receive Ukrainian Deputy FM @EmineDzheppar. Perspectives shared. Discussed bilateral engagements and cooperation going forward. Wishing her a good trip. Her first as DFM, but a country she is familiar with,” he said.

On her part, Ms. Dzhaparova said: “Updated on Ukraine’s efforts to fight russian unprovoked aggression. Invited India to join President Zelenskyy’s PeaceFormula & GrainFromUkraine initiative. Important to have India on board.” Zelenskyy put forward the ten-point “peace plan” for ending the conflict that included punishing those responsible for the war crimes, withdrawing all Russian troops from Ukraine, and restoring his country’s territorial integrity.

Under the plan, he also called for ensuring energy security, food security, and nuclear safety, adding a document confirming the end of the war should be signed by the parties when all the “anti-war measures” are implemented.

Following its invasion of Ukraine, Russia blocked maritime access to the Ukrainian ports that resulted in a total halt in the export of millions of tons of grains from that country, triggering a global food crisis.

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