Can India Broker Peace Between Russia-Ukraine? – OpEd


“It is pertinent to note that India has been constantly calling on both Russia and Ukraine to end the war and choose dialogue and diplomacy”.

India believes in “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam” is a Sanskrit phrase which means “the world is one family.” Many peace lovers are wondering can India the land of Buddha and Gandhi broker peace between the two conflicting sides Russia and Ukraine. This conflict has unsettled the entire world economy and disturbed the global geopolitics.

In the initial few weeks of the invasion the topic of negotiation did crop up  between Russia and Ukraine and they did sit up a few times. But, both sides  want a win win  agreement. The chances of an agreement will be better if a third party, acceptable to both sides mediates. However, Turkey did try but now the world now stands almost fully divided, finding a competent mediator would be difficult.At this stage of the war in Ukraine,  the prospect of any kind of negotiated peace between Russia and Ukraine better to term between President Putin and  President Zelensky seems remote.  Today, the sides have  suspended their diplomatic efforts.

The only mediator acceptable to both sides Russia and Ukraine could be Prime minister Modi of India. India has been friendly with both Russia and Ukraine, on the basis of shared interests.  Indian PM Modi along with his affluent External Affairs Minister Dr Jaishankar can just facilitate to initiate a dialogue between the parties to talk to each other involving other diplomats and leaders of the world to assist the mediator acceptable to both the sides .

Ukrainian Ambassador Igor Polikha  had earlier urged Indian Prime Minister  Modi to intervene to de-escalate the Ukrainian crisis by pursuing diplomacy with President Putin and help Ukraine as  India is an influential global player and for many years, was the leader of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), which was created at the time of the cold war.At present, we are pleading for political assistance from India. Modi ji is one of the most powerful leaders of the world and has a special partnership with Russia…I don’t know how many world leaders Putin would pay heed to, but due to the rapport Modi ji shares, I am hopeful that the Russian President would at least consider his words. “We are expecting a much more favourable attitude from the Indian government.” 

Not withstanding the fact that Ukraine has a history of anti India stance and always supported Pakistan,  Indian Prime Minister Modi continues to speak to the Russian President  to initiate  diplomatic peace talks with Ukraine and end the war.As late as the 22nd meeting of the Heads of State of the SCO  held in Samarkand, Uzbekistan on 15th and 16 th of September 2022.Prime Minister Modi  told Putin that “It is not an era of war.”President Putin  to Prime Minister Modi  “I know about your position on the conflict in Ukraine, and I know about your concerns. We want all of this to end as soon as possible. Unfortunately, the opposing side, the leadership of Ukraine, announced its abandonment of the negotiation process, and declared that it wants to achieve its goals by military means, as they say, ‘On the battlefield’.” Maintained that it would only get worse if Ukraine does not back down. 

In the interest of world peace,  all the stakeholders and the UN should take the initiative to take Prime Minister Modi in confidence and encourage him  to try and make an effort to re-initiate a dialogue  between the two with the positive support of the UN.At the moment Modi may be the only leader acceptable to both Russia ,Ukraine and other stake holders.

 Kissinger had said:“Far too often the Ukrainian issue is posed as a showdown: whether Ukraine joins the East or the West. But if Ukraine is to survive and thrive, it must not be either side’s outpost against the other.” Honestly, a neutral Ukraine will be in  everyone’s interest to make a beginning to any dialogue.

The Way forward :

  • Foremost is that Russia should put a stop to any further offensive or counter offensive action. 
  • A neutral Ukraine will be in  everyone’s interest. 
  • Ukraine should have the right to choose freely its economic and political associations, including with EU.
  • Ukraine to avoid a showdown and still survive with grace will be well advised Not to  join the NATO. 
  • US and NATO should keep away from expanding East into traditional areas of the Soviet Union or of Russian influence.
  • Ukraine should be free to have any type of government  with the expressed will of its people. 
  • If Ukraine accepts permanent neutrality,  Russia needs to give an undertaking that it will not attack Ukraine.
  • No foreign militaries,weapons or nuclear weapons should be allowed to be positioned on Ukraine’s territory. 
  • The UN and the five permanent members have to guarantee the security of Ukraine and their  borders. Moscow would have to withdraw from all the areas it has occupied since the invasion.

Both Russia and  Ukraine are always ready to Negotiate !

Russian President  Putin  declared on 30 September 2022 his willingness to negotiate with Ukraine after he announced the illegal annexation of regions of Ukraine that are  occupied by Russian troops!  

Ukrainian President  Zelensky also said that he is ready “to agree on coexistence on equal, honest, dignified, and fair terms.” …. “We are ready for a dialogue with Russia, but with another president of Russia.”  he further announced 

: Ukraine is speeding up its plans to join NATO. President  Zelensky with his recent successful counter offensives,Russian withdrawals and the solid support of the US backed West has become a hard bargainer or to say like the US-NATO is presently not very much keen on an early dialogue with President  Putin.

Challenges are many but a beginning has to be made after both sides are convinced that there is no more advantage in pursuing their aims on the battlefield.  A dialogue is the only solution to a sustainable peace for Ukraine.But the tallest challenge will be to first convince the US for ceasefire and then only President  Zelensky will agree for a dialogue.

Patial RC

Patial RC is a retired Infantry officer of the Indian Army and possesses unique experience of serving in active CI Ops across the country and in Sri Lanka. Patial RC is a regular writer on military and travel matters in military professional journals. The veteran is a keen mountaineer and a trekker.

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