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PM Narendra Modi to meet Zelenskyy on sidelines of G7 on Saturday

In his interview with Nikkei, the PM also discussed India's security challenges

Ukraine President, Volodymyr Zelenskyy

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy

Archis MohanPTI

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who landed in Japan on Friday, kicking off his three-nation foreign tour, is set to hold bilateral talks with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on the sidelines of the G7 summit in Hiroshima on Saturday evening.

The meeting will be the PM’s first in-person with Zelenskyy after the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. Ukrainian First Deputy Foreign Minister Emine Dzhaparova visited India in mid-April.

Modi will hold bilateral talks on Saturday with his Japanese counterpart Fumio Kishida, French President Emmanuel Macron, Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh and others. The PM will attend the third in-person Quad leaders’ meeting in Japan. Apart from attending G7 and Quad summits, the PM will visit Papua New Guinea and Australia.

In an interview with Japan’s Nikkei, published Saturday, the PM said India’s position on the Ukraine conflict “is clear and unwavering”. “India stands on the side of peace and will remain firmly there. We are committed to supporting those who face challenges in meeting their basic needs, especially in the face of rising costs of food, fuel, and fertilisers. We maintain communication with both Russia and Ukraine,” Modi said.

“Cooperation and collaboration should define our times, not conflict,” he said. Earlier, in his departure statement, the prime minister said his presence at the G7 summit was significant as India holds the G20 presidency this year.

In a bilateral meeting with Putin on September 16 last year in the Uzbek city of Samarkand, Modi said, “Today's era is not of war” and nudged the Russian leader to end the conflict. However, India is yet to condemn the Russian invasion of Ukraine. It has maintained that the crisis must be resolved through diplomacy and dialogue. In New Delhi, Dzhaparova said Zelenskyy would like to address the upcoming G20 summit.

In his interview with Nikkei, the PM also discussed India’s security challenges. “The future development of the India-China relationship can only be based on mutual respect, mutual sensitivity and mutual interests”, Modi said, noting that “normalising” the ties would benefit the wider region and the world. He stressed India’s respect for sovereignty, the rule of law and the peaceful resolution of disputes.

On Pakistan, the PM said that India wanted “normal and neighbourly relations”. “However, it is incumbent upon them to create a conducive environment free from terrorism and hostilities. The onus is on Pakistan to take necessary steps in this regard,” he said.

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First Published: May 19 2023 | 10:10 PM IST

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