Indo-US: Modi-Biden talks before 2+2 India-US dialogue
India on Monday said it has appealed to Russia and Ukraine to have direct talks between the presidents of the two countries and expressed concern over the killing of innocent citizens in Bucha in Ukraine. Making this assertion Prime Minister Narendra Modi also said “we condemned the incident and also demanded an impartial probe.” Reiterating India’s stand in the ongoing conflict, Modi told US President Joe Biden in a virtual summit “I have spoken with Presidents of both Ukraine and Russia over the telephone, several times. I not only appealed to them for peace but also suggested President Putin hold direct talks with the Ukrainian President. Detailed discussions were held over Ukraine, in our Parliament.”
Narendra Modi’s talks with Joe Biden took place hours before the all-important two-plus-two dialogue between the defence and foreign ministers of the two countries commenced in Washington. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar will review the bilateral strategic and defence relations with their US counterparts Lloyd Austin and Antony Blinken in the fourth annual two plus two.
Amidst criticism in the west about India not taking a stand against Russia on the Ukraine issue, Modi told Biden “recent news of the killing of innocent citizens in Bucha city was very concerning. We immediately condemned it and also demanded an impartial probe. We hope that through the talks between Russia and Ukraine, a path for peace would come out.” Incidentally, Biden some days back said India’s position on the conflict is “somewhat shaky.”
On his part, US President Joe Biden in his talks with Modi said “We share a strong and growing major defence partnership. The majority of our partnership is a deep connection between our people and our shared values. Our friendship and our shared values. I want to welcome India’s humanitarian support for the people of Ukraine.” Biden also said the United States and India are going to continue our close consultation and how to manage the stabilizing effects of this Russian war. “Our continued consultation and dialogue are key to ensuring the US-Indian relationship continues to grow deep and stronger,” Biden said.
Elaborating upon India’s efforts to mitigate the problems of people trapped in the ongoing conflict, Modi said “today, our interaction is being held at a time when the situation in Ukraine is a matter of concern. A few weeks back, over 20,000 Indians were stranded in Ukraine, most of them were young students.”
It is the first of its kind interaction between the two leaders that would coincide with the maiden India-US 2+2 dialogue under the Biden administration. “This morning, I’m meeting virtually with Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India. I look forward to furthering deepening ties between our governments, economies, and people,” Biden said in a tweet.
On Sunday, the White House said that President Biden and Prime Minister Modi would meet virtually on Monday. The two leaders will discuss cooperation on a range of issues, including ending the COVID-19 pandemic, countering the climate crisis, strengthening the global economy, and upholding a free, open, rules-based international order to bolster security, democracy, and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said.
The two leaders, who met in person in Washington last year for the QUAD heads of state summit, will meet again on May 24 in Japan this year.
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