MOSCOW: Ukraine expects India to provide it with more humanitarian aid, as well as participating in the country’s reconstruction once the fighting is over, Indian newspaper The Hindu reported on Friday, citing diplomatic sources.
The article quoted an unnamed – apparently Ukrainian – official as saying that on top of becoming a security guarantor for Ukraine, Kiev is “also expecting that India will participate actively in post-war construction.”
Speaking to Indian media in early April, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said he would like to see the country as a “security guarantor if they’d be willing.”
In an interview with Ukrainian journalists one month later, the head of the Office of the President of Ukraine, Andrey Yermak, said that seven nations had by then agreed to take on that role – the US, UK, France, Germany, Turkey, Poland, and Italy.
India, however, was not mentioned, and no official comment has since been made by New Delhi regarding its willingness to guarantee Ukraine’s security once the conflict is over.
One area in which India has not remained on the sidelines is humanitarian assistance to Kiev, which has totaled around 230 tons to date, according to The Hindu. The aid has come both from the Indian government and private businesses, especially pharmaceutical companies headquartered in the country.
Making the case for more assistance, the unnamed diplomatic sources said Ukraine’s GDP could drop by as much as 50pc due to Russia’s military operation, and according to the officials cited by The Hindu, up to 30pc of Ukraine’s infrastructure – costing around $100 billion – has been destroyed to date.
Politically, India has so far remained neutral, refraining from openly condemning or supporting either side of the conflict. Unlike many nations, New Delhi has not imposed sanctions on Russia.
India has also repeatedly abstained from condemning Russia’s actions in votes at the UN Security Council General Assembly and Human Rights Council.
New Delhi has called for the “sovereignty and territorial integrity of states” to be respected, and urged the “immediate cessation of violence and hostilities” in Ukraine. India has also said Kiev and Moscow should return to the negotiating table, as “dialogue is the only answer to settling differences and disputes.”
Commenting on India’s stance, Mira Rapp-Hooper, director for the Indo-Pacific on the White House National Security Council, said in late March that while Washington deemed it “unsatisfactory, to say the least,” it was not surprising.
India and Russia have had close relations for decades. According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, New Delhi was the top buyer of Russian weapons in 2021.
Last month, Reuters reported that India had received 34 million barrels of discounted Russian oil since February, more than 10 times the value of the total imports from the country year-on-year.
During a visit to India in early April, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov described relations between the two countries as a “strong strategic partnership.”