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India’s Modi Congratulates Putin, then Calls Zelenskyy, Pushing Diplomacy

March 21, 2024 (EIRNS)—India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi yesterday telephoned, first, Russian President Vladimir Putin, and then Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelenskyy. He congratulated President Putin on his re-election victory. It was a friendly and warm conversation with Modi wishing the Russian people “prosperity and well-being,” according to the Kremlin readout. Modi tweeted that the two “agreed to work together to further deepen and expand India-Russia Special & Privileged Strategic Partnership in the years ahead.” He also assured the Russian President that India was intent on working to help achieve a negotiated resolution to the Ukraine crisis.

Modi reported in a post on his conversation with Zelenskyy, which Modi characterized as a good one, that he “conveyed India’s consistent support for all efforts for peace and bringing an early end to the ongoing conflict. India will continue to provide humanitarian assistance guided by our people-centric approach.”

Ukraine is keen on getting India’s participation at the peace talks that are being arranged by the Swiss government, likely this Summer. China indicated that it will be attending as well. The phone calls were perhaps an attempt to clarify India’s position before they accept such an invitation. Russia said it will not be participating in this conference, even if it receives an invitation. The Russian Ambassador to Switzerland characterized the conference as “pointless.”

Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba is scheduled to visit India next week, and Zelenskyy reported that he spoke with Modi about increasing trade ties. He called it “important” for India to be part of Ukraine’s proposed peace conference in Switzerland later this year.