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Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Global South feeling pain of Ukraine conflict: Jaishankar to Russia

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Moscow: Laying out India’s position on the Ukraine conflict, External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar strongly advocated a return to dialogue and diplomacy during bilateral talks with Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov saying “the Global South is acutely feeling the pain of the conflict.”

“We are seeing growing concerns on energy and food security from the conflict that are coming on top of severe stresses created by two years of Covid. The Global South, especially, is feeling this pain very acutely. India, therefore, strongly advocates a return to dialogue and diplomacy,” said Jaishankar in a press briefing as the issue prominently figured in the talks.

“As Prime Minister Modi conveyed to President Putin in Samarkand in September, this is not an era of war. The global economy is simply too inter-dependent for a significant conflict anywhere, not to have major consequences elsewhere,” the minister added.

Dr Jaishankar said that India is clearly on the side of peace, respect for international law and support for the UN Charter. He said that for any initiative that de-risks the global economy and stabilizes the global order at this stage, India will be supportive.

“Insofar as specific initiatives pertaining to issues like food grains and fertilizer shipments are concerned, or any other problem for that matter, India will be as helpful as we can be,” he said.

The Minister said that India and Russia have, in the last few years, grappled with how to expand bilateral trade and introduce more factors of long-term stability and growth.

Some of these discussions are now yielding results, accelerated by the stresses that the global economy is currently experiencing, including as a result of the Ukraine conflict, he added.

“We are naturally concerned at the trade imbalance, and I have raised with the Russian side how to address impediments that stand in the way of greater Indian exports,” the minister said.

The Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov, in response, accused the West of attempting to strengthen its dominant role in world affairs under the pretext of the Ukrainian events.

“For our part, we reaffirmed our high assessment of the Indian friends’ position on the situation in Ukraine and around it… We discussed the situation that has developed around the attempts of the Western colleagues, under the pretext of the Ukrainian events, to strengthen their dominant role in world affairs and prevent the democratization of international relations,” Lavrov said.

Lavrov welcomed the “positive dynamics” of bilateral trade and said that the two countries would soon achieve the annual trade turnover to 30 billion USD.

“By September 2022, compared to the same period last year, the trade turnover added 133%, almost reaching the mark of 17 billion US dollars. We are sure that the goal set by the leaders of Russia and India to increase the annual trade turnover to 30 billion USD will be achieved soon,” he said.

Talking about the factors of global instability, the EAM Jaishankar said, “Terrorism, including its cross-border manifestation, remains a major concern. Where the Indo-Pacific is concerned, both our nations have stakes in its progress and prosperity.”

The two countries also examined in detail the state of and prospects for military-technical cooperation and the joint production of modern types of weapons.

“We attach great importance to space exploration in such areas as satellite navigation, space science, and manned programs,” Lavrov said.

Dr Jaishankar termed the talks as “very open and productive exchanges”, while the Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov termed the talks as “meaningful and useful talks in a traditionally friendly and frank manner.”

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