India’s Modi says to Russia’s Putin: Now is not the time for war

In the last of the setbacks for the Russian leader, Modi told him that it must be done “on the path of peace”, and reminded him of the importance of “democracy, diplomacy and dialogue”.

Modi’s comments came in a face-to-face meeting on Friday, on the sidelines of a regional summit, and highlighted Russia’s growing isolation on the diplomatic stage. They came just a day after Putin admitted that China also had “questions and concerns” about the invasion.

“I know that today is not a time of war and we have talked to you many times over the phone that democracy and diplomacy and dialogue are all these things that touch the world,” Modi told Putin at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit. The city of Samarkand in Uzbekistan.

“Certainly in the coming days we will have an opportunity to discuss how we can move towards peace, I will also have an opportunity to understand your point of view,” he added, according to a readout of the meeting by the Indian Ministry. of Foreign Affairs.

Putin responded by saying he was aware of the Indian leader’s concerns.

“I know your position on the conflict in Ukraine and I know your concerns. We want all this to end as soon as possible,” he said.

Modi’s apparent criticism of Russia’s invasion is only the latest setback for Putin, whose forces have suffered major battlefield defeats in recent weeks. Ukraine says it has reclaimed about 8,000 square kilometers.

Diplomatically, Moscow also seems to be losing, as highlighted by the exchanges at the Samarkand summit, which brings together the leaders of Russia, China, India, Pakistan, Iran and the four Central Asian countries.

Moscow and Beijing appeared eager to present a united front at the summit to counter the United States and its allies.

However, there have been signs of division in the wake of Russia’s invasion, which has unsettled leaders in former Soviet territories in Central Asia, who worry that Russia could encroach on their lands as well.

India and China are Russia’s biggest oil customers and suggestions in recent days that both have reservations about war are giving Moscow food for thought.

At the summit, after acknowledging China’s concerns, Putin said: “We highly value the balanced position of our Chinese friends regarding the Ukraine crisis.”

New Delhi, like Beijing, has strong ties to Moscow since the Cold War and has so far largely shied away from outright condemnation of an invasion by Russia, which remains India’s largest arms supplier.

In a statement released after Friday’s meeting, India’s Ministry of External Affairs said the discussions between the two leaders “also covered food security, energy security and availability of fertilizers in the context of challenges arising from the current geopolitical situation.”

“They agreed to continue the relationship,” added the ministry.

The meeting comes as heavy shelling continues in areas of southern and eastern Ukraine that are retreating from Russian forces. Ukrainian officials say they have found at least 440 graves in a mass burial site in the city of Izium in the newly liberated Kharkiv region.