Sunday, 29 May, 2022

Lavrov’s India Visit

Modi reiterates call for ‘cessation of violence’

Modi reiterates call for ‘cessation of violence’
India’s Prime Minisster Narendra Modi PM Narendra meets Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in New Delhi on Friday. — HT Photo

NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi met with visiting Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov this evening, in a significant gesture amid international pressure on India to take a stand against Russia's Ukraine invasion, reports NDTV.

PM Modi and the Russian Foreign Minister met for 40 minutes. The Prime Minister has not publicly met any other visiting Ministers in the past two weeks, including those from UK, China, Austria, Greece and Mexico.

According to a press release from the Prime Minister's Office, PM Modi called for an end to violence as Lavrov briefed him on the situation in Ukraine, including pace negotiations.

"Prime Minister reiterated his call for an early cessation of violence, and conveyed India's readiness to contribute in any way to the peace efforts," said the press statement.

Earlier today, Lavrov had said he wished to convey a "message personally" from President Vladimir Putin to PM Modi.

"The President (Putin) and the Prime Minister are in regular touch with each other and I will report to the President about my negotiations. He sends by the way his best regards to Prime Minister Modi and I would appreciate an opportunity to deliver this message personally," the Russian Foreign Minister had said in his opening remarks at a discussion with Foreign Minister S Jaishankar.

The Russian minister's visit comes amid intense pressure on India over Russian oil imports, with the US warning of "consequences" for countries attempting to circumvent American sanctions against Moscow.

Reports suggest India could buy greater volumes of discounted Russian oil and both sides are keen on having a rouble-rupee arrangement for bilateral trade.

Hours before Lavrov's arrival, US Deputy National Security Adviser Daleep Singh cautioned that there would be consequences for countries actively attempting to "circumvent or backfill" American sanctions against Moscow.

"I come here in a spirit of friendship to explain the mechanisms of our sanctions, the importance of joining us to express shared resolve and to advance shared interests. And yes, there are consequences to countries that actively attempt to circumvent or backfill these sanctions," said Daleep Singh, to a question about India buying discounted oil from Russia.

A Bloomberg report said Russia is offering India steep discounts on the direct sale of oil amid mounting international pressure.

India has not yet openly criticised Russia for its invasion of Ukraine and it has abstained from votes at the UN on resolutions condemning Russia. But last week, India abstained on a resolution pushed by Russia on the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine, which was seen as reflective of its neutral position on the conflict.

The Russian Foreign Minister praised India's stance. "These days our Western colleagues would like to reduce any meaningful international issue to the crisis in Ukraine... (We) appreciate that India is taking this situation in the entirety of facts, not just in a one-sided way," Lavrov said.

On the possibility of PM Modi as mediator in the Ukraine crisis, he said, "India is an important and serious country. If India plays that role that provides resolution, India as our common partner... we are for security guarantee of Ukraine... West has ignored its responsibility... India can support such process".