Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi yesterday told Russian President Vladimir Putin that now is not a time for war, with food, fertiliser and fuel security among the major concerns of the world at present.
“I know that today’s era is not an era of war, and I have spoken to you on the phone about this,” Modi told Putin on the sidelines of a regional security bloc summit in Uzbekistan, adding that democracy, diplomacy and dialogue keep the world together.
Putin told Modi he wanted to end the conflict in Ukraine as soon as possible and understood that India had concerns about the fighting. “I know your position on the conflict in Ukraine, your concerns...We will do our best to end this as soon as possible,” Putin told Modi.
“Unfortunately, just the opposing side, the leadership of Ukraine, announced its rejection of the negotiating process, and stated that it wants to achieve its goals by military means, on the battlefield,” Putin said.
Putin, who met Chinese President Xi Jinping at the summit, acknowledged on Wednesday Beijing’s concerns about the war.
Modi and Putin spoke on the sidelines of the Shanghai Co-operation Organisation (SCO) meeting, whose permanent members, besides India, include China, Russia, Pakistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.
“Our trade is growing, thanks to your additional supplies of Russian fertilisers to the Indian markets, which have grown more than eight fold. I am hopeful that this is going to be of huge help of the agricultural sector of India,” Putin said.
Modi called on leaders of regional security bloc to address energy and food crises sparked by the Covid-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine.
“The pandemic and the crisis in Ukraine have caused many disruptions in global supply chains, leaving the world facing unprecedented energy and food crises. SCO should strive to develop reliable, resilient and diversified supply chains in our region,” Modi said.
India and SCO member states are expected to discuss energy security at the summit, which coincides with a sharp rise in Indian imports of Russian oil, coal and fertiliser.
Modi also met Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan on the sidelines of the summit yesterday, in their first encounter in over two years since relations soured after Erdogan’s comments on Kashmir.
In early 2020 India’s government had summoned the Turkish ambassador to lodge a diplomatic protest after Erdogan, on a visit to Pakistan, said the situation in Kashmir was worsening.
His comments came after Modi’s government in 2019 withdrew the region’s autonomy and brought it under federal rule.
“The two leaders discussed ways to deepen bilateral co-operation in diverse sectors,” Modi’s office said on Twitter, posting a photo of him shaking hands with Erdogan on the sidelines of the Shanghai Co-operation Organisation (SCO) regional security group summit in Uzbekistan.
The meeting was not included on Modi’s tentative schedule for the summit shared by India’s foreign ministry with reporters.