EAM Jaishankar holds talks with Chinese counterpart Wang Yi
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar Credit: File image

New Delhi: India’s position on the Ukraine conflict has been “steadfast and consistent” as it has been seeking immediate cessation of violence and calling for ending the crisis through talks, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said on Thursday.

In the context of the unfolding developments in Ukraine, India has been emphasising that the global order is anchored on international law, the UN Charter and respect for territorial integrity and sovereignty of states, he said.

Jaishankar was replying to a question in Rajya Sabha.

“India’s position on the Ukraine conflict has been steadfast and consistent. We have expressed deep concern at the worsening situation and called for an immediate cessation of violence and end to all hostilities,” he said.

Jaishankar’s comments came in the backdrop of increasing disquiet in the West over India not criticising Russia for its invasion of Ukraine and abstaining from the votes at the UN Security Council to condemn the Russian aggression.

“In our conversations with global leaders at the highest levels, we have emphasised to all member States of the UN that the global order is anchored on international law, UN Charter and respect for territorial integrity and sovereignty of states,” he said.

“Our position on the situation in Ukraine in various international fora and bodies reflects this reasoning,” Jaishankar said.

The external affairs minister said India, at the UN Security Council, has called for an urgent ceasefire and ensuring safe passage for stranded civilians.

“As conveyed in our statements at the UN Security Council and the General Assembly, we have urged an urgent ceasefire and ensuring safe passage for stranded civilians,” Jaishankar said.

“We have also highlighted the humanitarian assistance extended by India to Ukraine and its neighbours at this hour of crisis,” he added.

Jaishankar also noted that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has spoken with the leadership of Russia, Ukraine, and its neighbours as well other major world leaders since the unfolding of the crisis.

“He conveyed our considered view to all parties concerned that there is no other choice but the path of diplomacy and dialogue,” Jaishankar said.

Modi spoke with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on February 26 and again on March 7.

“In these conversations, the prime minister expressed deep concern about the ongoing conflict and resultant humanitarian crisis. The prime minister reiterated his call for immediate cessation of violence and noted that India has always stood for peaceful resolution of issues and direct dialogue between the two parties,” Jaishankar said.

He said Modi also thanked the Ukrainian authorities for their facilitation in enabling more than 22,000 Indian citizens to return from Ukraine.

The external affairs minister also referred to Modi’s phone conversations with Russian President Vladimir Putin on February 24, March 2 and March 7.

“President Putin briefed the prime minister on the status of negotiations between the Ukrainian and Russian teams. The prime minister welcomed the ongoing negotiations between Russia and Ukraine and expressed hope that they would lead to cessation of the conflict,” Jaishankar said.

The external affairs minister said Modi suggested that a direct conversation between President Putin and President Zelenskyy may greatly assist the ongoing peace efforts.

Jaishankar said the safety and security of Indians in Ukraine was the top priority for the government.

“Even before the hostilities began, the safety of Indian nationals in Ukraine was our top priority. Accordingly, the evacuation of Indian nationals was undertaken on a mission mode,” he said.

“We were able to safely bring home 22,500 Indian citizens, including 147 foreign nationals belonging to 18 countries, from Ukraine since February,” he added.

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