New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Tokyo tomorrow. Notably, this is the first in-person meeting between the two leaders after the Russia-Ukraine war started on February 24 last year. The Ukrainian president is attending the summit on an invitation by Japan, the current chair of the powerful grouping. Since the Ukraine conflict began, PM Modi has spoken to Russian President Vladimir Putin as well as President Zelenskyy a number of times. New Delhi has sought a diplomatic solution to the conflict while Modi, in comments seen as mildly critical of Russian President Vladimir Putin, told him in September that now was “not an era of war”.
Prime Minister Modi’s appeal to President Putin for a “cessation of violence” and for all sides to return to the dialogue table was certainly a notch up from India’s earlier explicitly neutral stance, and carried a hint of the compulsions to get off the fence, though still largely maintaining a balance.
PM Modi’s phone conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin underlined that Delhi will for now stick to a path of strategic ambivalence on the Ukraine crisis. This is a pragmatic choice, one that reflects the complexities of a realist world and Delhi’s own positions on territorial integrity and sovereignty, its own concerns about its unresolved borders, it’s a difficult relationship with its two northern neighbours.
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In a phone conversation with President Zelenskyy on October 4 last year, PM Modi said there can be “no military solution” and that India is ready to contribute to any peace efforts. India has maintained that the crisis must be resolved through diplomacy and dialogue.
PM Modi is in Japan to attend the Group of Seven (G7) summit. The prime minister is visiting the East Asian country at the invitation of his Japanese counterpart, Fumio Kishida.
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Japan is hosting the G7 summit as the current chair of the powerful grouping. PM Modi will be in Hiroshima for the G7 summit from May 19 to May 21. He is expected to speak on global challenges, including food, fertiliser and energy security.
Notably, PM Modi will hold bilateral meetings with Japan, South Korea, Vietnam, and France ahead of the Quad Summit, tomorrow. He will meet Yoon Suk Yeol, President of the Republic of Korea; Pham Minh Chinh, Prime Minister of Vietnam; and Emmanuel Macron, President of France.