‘Dialogue The Way Forward On Ukraine War’: PM Modi – OpEd


India’s Prime Minister Modi spoke to Russian President Vladimir Putin on 20th March 2024, followed by a telephonic conversation with Ukrainian President Zelenskyy. During the conversation with Putin, the PM reiterated “Dialogue and Diplomacy as the way forward” in Russia-Ukraine conflict.

While discussing the ongoing conflict with Zelenskyy, Modi reiterated India’s people-centric approach and again stressed on the need for dialogue. Presidents of Russia and Ukraine have both invited Prime Minister Modi to their respective nations upon the conclusion of the General Election here, official sources said. They said both leaders viewed PM Modi as a peacemaker.

Indian Prime Minister Modi an Influential Global Player  

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi chairing the last G20 had said; “This is the time for peace and brotherhood, a time to move together. This is a time for growth and well-being of all. We have to overcome the global trust crisis and move forward with human-centric thinking. We have to look at the world in the spirit of One Earth, One Family, One Future.”      

The PM’s call comes at a time when the conflict in Ukraine seems poised to take a dangerous turn, after France said it would send soldiers to fight against the Russian forces. The speaker of Russia’s lower house of parliament warned French President Emmanuel Macron against sending troops to Ukraine, saying they would meet the same fate as Napoleon’s army. “Before making such statements, Macron would do well to remember how it ended for Napoleon and his soldiers, more than 600,000 of whom were left lying in the damp earth,” Volodin said, referring to the disastrous French invasion of Russia in 1812. Putin said the West has “announced the possibility of sending Western military contingents to Ukraine and the consequences for possible interventionists will be way more tragic. President Vladimir Putin has “threatened to use nuclear weapons” if Western powers send soldiers to within striking distance of Russia.

In his conversation with Zelenskyy, PM Modi said he discussed the strengthening of the India-Ukraine partnership and conveyed India’s consistent support for all efforts for peace to bring an early end to the ongoing conflict. “India will continue to provide humanitarian assistance guided by our people-centric approach.” Zelenskyy appreciated India’s continued humanitarian assistance for the people of Ukraine, a statement said, as the two leaders discussed ways to further strengthen their bilateral partnership in various spheres.

 PM Modi also congratulated Putin on his re-election as President of Russia and discussed ways to further strengthen the `India-Russia Special and Privileged Strategic Partnership’. They also exchanged views on regional as well as global issues. 

India the Right Choice Peace Maker

The ongoing conflicts in the Middle East, the Ukraine war, and the rising tensions in East Asia has created the world on virtual wars. In this situation, there is a need for a mediator who can persuade the parties to come to a negotiation table, who is friendly to both warring nations, and who has the support of the ‘Global South’. India and China are potential mediator who fall in this category, but China will face the US opposition to its role. 

The fatigue from the global conflicts is evident in the case of Ukraine on the US-NATO-EU. The war between Ukraine and Russia, which has spilled over into the third year, has lost the attention of the media and the public. The news of Gaza and the domestic issues of European countries have overshadowed it. The ongoing Ukraine war will have no winers and will linger on as the US focus has shifted to the war in Gaza. The Ukraine war could have ended in the spring of 2022 if Ukraine had agreed to neutrality, but Boris Johnson visited Kyiv and said that we should not sign anything with the Russians and “let’s just fight’” And the “Ukraine war That was Not to be “continues. 

The world is now inclined ‘Not see the US as a Superpower’ with the rising China that defends international rights and norms but values its own rights and its allies’ interests. India at the moment follows a peaceful path in the context of global competition with China and Russia along with the ‘Global South’. India a vibrant democracy, an emerging economy, and a key player in fostering South-South cooperation during its G20 leadership is a responsible global player, championing inclusive development, innovation, and sustainable growth in partnership with other emerging economies. With these advantages India can truly undertake the role of a mediator between Russia and Ukraine as India and its Prime Minister Modi is respective by both the nations and their Presidents.

Can India through UN, G20 and others Broker Peace? 

The PM’s advice for peace talks comes at a time when there is talk that Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba is expected to visit India. Kuleba is expected to invite PM Modi to attend the ‘Peace Summit’ being organized in Switzerland next month. Ukrainian Ambassador Igor Polikha had earlier urged the 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.  

“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”. Many peace lovers are wondering can India the land of Buddha and Gandhi broker peace between the conflicting sides Russia-Ukraine and now Israel and Hamas. These conflicts have unsettled the entire world economy and disturbed global geopolitics.

Prime Minister Modi is one of the most influential leaders of the world and has a special partnership with Russia, Ukraine, Israel and as well as Palestine (India was the first to recognize Palestine). Indian Prime Minister Modi continues to speak to the Russian President to initiate diplomatic peace talks with Ukraine and end the war. Modi had earlier told Putin that “It is not an era of war.” Russia has always been ready to Negotiate! However, the US-NATO have not been very keen for an early dialogue with President Putin. In the interest of world peace, all the stakeholders and the UN should take the initiative encourage India to try and initiate dialogues between the conflicting sides with the positive support of the UN. At the moment Modi may be the only leader acceptable to all stakeholders.

The Ukrainians over the period must have also realized that for the US, Israel, the Gaza war, and the wider stability in the Middle East are far more important to than Ukraine. And the Ukrainians will be aware that it is increasingly likely that the next president of the USA could be Donald Trump who may reach a political settlement with Russia while ignoring Ukraine and it may be the right time for a dialogue and the only solution to a sustainable peace for Ukraine. However, Zelensky is pursuing the seemingly unreasonable goal of wanting to defeat Russia with another major offensive this year by preparing to recruit an additional 500,000 Ukrainians into the armed forces forcibly! 

If the Switzerland ‘Peace Summit’ express purpose is to involve third world leaders in the attempt by “NATO and its allies to isolate Russia.” If that be the aim, how can it be called a ‘Peace Summit’ and how can a ‘Peace Dialogue’ be initiated? Instead, the Switzerland ‘Peace Summit’ should be termed as a ‘US-NATO-EU Security Summit’. If the NATO and its allies “Summit Aim is to isolate Russia” then the Switzerland ‘Peace Summit’ will be a ‘No Go’ towards a ‘Peace 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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