NEW DELHI, March 2 (PTI): Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday said India was fully prepared to contribute to the peace process to find a solution to the Ukraine conflict, even as his Italian counterpart Giorgia Meloni pitched for a “central role” for New Delhi in cessation of hostilities.
The Ukraine conflict figured in the wide-ranging talks on bilateral, regional and global issues between Modi and Meloni, who is on a state visit to India, with the visiting dignitary strongly condemning the “unlawful and unprovoked aggression” by the Russian armed forces.
Modi’s remarks on the Ukraine crisis come at a time when foreign ministers of G-20 countries are meeting here.
“From the very beginning of the Ukraine conflict, India has made it clear that this dispute can only be resolved through dialogue and diplomacy. India is fully prepared to contribute to any peace process,” Modi told reporters here.
Addressing the media alongside Modi, the Italian Prime Minister said she hoped that India, during its G-20 presidency, can play a central role in facilitating and negotiating the process for cessation of hostilities and just peace in Ukraine.
The joint statement issued after the bilateral talks had a separate paragraph noting Italy’s strong condemnation of the Russian armed force for the aggression against Ukraine.
“Italy reiterated its strong condemnation of the unlawful and unprovoked aggression against Ukraine by Russian Armed Forces,” it said.
PM Modi said he and the Italian Prime Minister voiced concerns over the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine and the adverse impact the conflict has had on developing countries.
He said all countries have been impacted by the food, fertiliser and fuel crisis triggered by the Ukraine conflict.
“Especially, developing countries have been affected adversely. We voiced our concerns on this issue and stressed on joint efforts to address these issues,” Modi said.
In the joint statement, India and Italy called for the cessation of hostilities and expressed their serious concern about the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine.
“The two Prime Ministers discussed the destabilizing effect of the conflict in Ukraine and its broader regional and global implications. Both sides agreed to remain closely engaged on the topic,” it added.
India has abstained on the UN resolutions on Ukraine and consistently underlined the need to respect the UN Charter, international law and the sovereignty and territorial integrity of states.
India has also consistently underlined that in the conflict, the entire global South has suffered “substantial collateral damage” and developing countries are facing the brunt of the conflict’s consequences on food, fuel and fertiliser supplies.
Later, addressing a presser, foreign secretary Vinay Mohan Kwatra said the Italian Prime Minister expressed whole-hearted support for India’s G20 presidency and appreciated India’s position on the Ukraine conflict.
“Both leaders shared concerns over the impact of the Russia-Ukraine conflict on the global economic situation, in particular its impact on the vulnerable economies of the global south,” Kwatra said.