India & Austria push for end to conflict in Ukraine | Read

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday reiterated India’s position that a solution to the Ukraine crisis cannot be found on the battlefield during his visit to Austria, conveying New Delhi’s assessment of the conflict.

The Ukraine war figured prominently in talks between Modi, the first Indian premier to travel to Vienna in 41 years, and Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer. The two sides also discussed ways to bolster cooperation in areas such as trade, investment, science and technology, green energy, and climate change.

Modi repeated the message he conveyed to Russian President Vladimir Putin in televised remarks at the Kremlin on Tuesday – peace talks under the shadow of guns can’t succeed and parties to the conflict need to return to dialogue. Nehammer said his discussions with Modi were an opportunity to find out about India’s assessment of the situation and to “familiarise India with European concerns”.

“Chancellor Nehammer and I have discussed in detail the ongoing conflicts around the world, whether it is the conflict in Ukraine or the situation in West Asia. I have said before that this is not a time for war. Problems cannot be solved on the battlefield,” Modi said after the talks, speaking in Hindi.

“The loss of innocent lives, anywhere, is unacceptable. India and Austria emphasise on dialogue and diplomacy for the earliest possible restoration of peace and stability. We are both ready to provide every possible cooperation to achieve this,” he said.

India and Austria, Nehammer said, are united by concerns over the geopolitical situation and the two leaders had “very intensive talks about the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine”. Pointing to Modi’s just concluded visit to Russia, Nehammer said: “It was particularly important for me to hear about the Prime Minister’s personal assessment regarding the intentions of Russia in respect of the peace process.”

Austria, as a neutral country and a non-NATO member, will be available as a site for dialogue and is willing to “act as a bridge builder”, Nehammer said.

A joint statement issued after the talks said both leaders supported “any collective effort to facilitate a peaceful resolution” of the Ukraine war in line with international law and the UN Charter. “Both sides believe that achieving a comprehensive and lasting peace in Ukraine requires bringing together all stakeholders and a sincere and earnest engagement between the two parties to the conflict,” the statement said.

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