A Ukrainian minister ended a visit to India Wednesday after appealing for humanitarian aid and diplomatic backing from New Delhi, which has avoided condemning Russia’s invasion of its European neighbour.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government has walked a tightrope between India’s increased security cooperation with Western countries and its reliance on Moscow for defence and oil imports.
Emine Dzhaparova, Kyiv’s first deputy foreign minister, met her Indian counterpart this week in the first face-to-face talks between the two countries since the conflict began last year.
Dzhaparova requested medicines and medical equipment and passed along a letter from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky addressed to Modi, a statement from India’s foreign ministry said on Wednesday.
“Ms Dzhaparova, during her visit, highlighted Ukraine’s desire to build a stronger and closer relationship with India,” it said.
Dzhaparova told a think tank in New Delhi on Tuesday she believed India could play a greater role in ending the war.
“We welcome any effort that is directed at resolving the war,” she told the audience, urging India to use this year’s G20 presidency to draw attention to the conflict.
India has stopped short of publicly denouncing the invasion but Modi told Russian President Vladimir Putin last year this was “not a time for war”, comments seen as a rebuke to Moscow.
India’s long-standing security ties with Russia have put New Delhi in an awkward diplomatic position and, while it has called for an end to hostilities in Ukraine, it has refused to condemn the invasion outright.
India is also snapping up discounted crude from Russia, resisting Western pressure to freeze out Moscow.
It has opted instead to strengthen trade ties with its long-standing ally — with the added benefits of tempering inflation while saving public money.