At PM Narendra Modi-Vladi Putin dinner, India’s most direct appeal to end war in Ukraine

This will be the 16th meeting between Prime Minister Modi and President Putin in the past decade.

New Delhi:

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is currently on a two-day official visit to Russia, has called for an end to the more than two-year-old war in Ukraine. During an informal meeting with President Vladimir Putin at his official residence in Moscow, Prime Minister Modi told him that there could be no solution on the battlefield.

Prime Minister Modi is believed to have told Putin during the dinner: “India has always advocated respect for the UN Charter, including territorial integrity and sovereignty. There is no solution on the battlefield. Dialogue and diplomacy are the way forward.”

Additionally, Prime Minister Modi expressed concerns about Indian nationals who were duped into joining the Russian military by unscrupulous travel agents. Sources said Russia has pledged to repatriate all affected personnel.

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Nearly two dozen Indians are believed to have been forced to fight in the war against Ukraine after being tricked into coming to the country by agents on the pretext of getting high-paying jobs.

A widely circulated video earlier this year showed a group of men from Punjab and Haryana – dressed in army uniforms – claiming they had been tricked into fighting in the war in Ukraine and redoubling their pleas for help.

It was Modi’s first visit to Russia since his country launched its campaign in Ukraine and since he returned to power last month for a record third term. Since then, India has refrained from explicitly condemning Russia and abstained from voting on UN resolutions critical of Moscow.

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Vladimir Putin congratulated Prime Minister Modi on his third term, saying his re-election confirmed Modi’s effectiveness in promoting India’s interests: “The results speak for themselves; India is now the world’s third largest economy.”

This meeting marks the 16th face-to-face encounter between Prime Minister Modi and President Putin in the past decade, with their last face-to-face interaction being at the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation summit in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, in 2022.

In 2019, Prime Minister Modi was awarded Russia’s highest state award, the Order of the Holy Apostle Andrew the First-Called.

This is Prime Minister Modi’s first visit to Russia since the conflict between Moscow and Kiev began in 2022.

At the end of his visit to Russia, Prime Minister Modi will embark on a historic trip to Austria, marking the first visit by an Indian Prime Minister to the country in 40 years.

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