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Direct talks only way to end Ukraine conflict, PM Modi tells US President


Sandeep Dikshit

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 11

Prime Minister Narendra Modi told US President Joe Biden in an hour-long virtual meeting on Monday that the way out of the Russia-Ukraine conflict was direct talks which he had suggested in several phone conversations with Presidents Vladimir Putin and Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

No violation of sanctions: WH

India’s oil imports from Russia are only 1-2 per cent. They export 10 per cent from the US. It is no violation of any sanctions or anything along those lines. Jen Psaki, White House Press Secy

“The two leaders had an extensive exchange of views on several regional and global issues, such as the Covid pandemic, global economic recovery, climate action, South Asia and the Indo-Pacific region, and the situation in Ukraine,” said a release from the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO).

The White House headlined Biden’s conversation on Ukraine, including India’s energy purchases from Russia. There was no “concrete ask” but Biden told PM Modi that the US would be happy to help India diversify its supplies away from Russia. There was no mention of defence ties in the readout though India’s military imports from Russia are also in the US crosshairs.

Describing the situation in Ukraine as very worrying, especially the reports of killing of women, children and civilians in the city of Bucha, the Prime Minister pointed out that India had instantly condemned the deaths and called for an independent inquiry.

“I spoke several times with both Presidents and not only appealed for peace but also suggested direct talks. Recently, the news of the killing in Bucha was very worrying. We hope the ongoing discussions between Russia and Ukraine will lead to peace. We have also sent medicines and relief material and, on Ukrainian request, another consignment of medicines is being sent very soon,” informed the PM.

Though PM Modi did not touch on sanctions on which India and the US are not on the same page, he outlined the huge importance of better Indo-US ties. “The progress in Indo-US ties has given a new momentum which would have been hard to imagine a few decades ago,” he said. Biden, in his opening remarks, also mentioned the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine, especially Bucha and hoped that India and the US would continue their close cooperation on how to manage and stabilise Russian aggression. This virtual summit preceded the US-India 2+2 ministerial between US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, US Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin and External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh.

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