A Ukrainian minister concluded his visit to India on Wednesday after requesting humanitarian assistance and diplomatic support from New Delhi, which has refrained from condemning Russia’s invasion of its European neighbor.
The government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi has trod a tightrope between India’s increased security cooperation with Western nations and its dependence on Russia for defense and oil imports.
This week, Emine Dzhaparova, the first deputy foreign minister of Ukraine, met with her Indian counterpart for the first face-to-face negotiations between the two countries since the conflict began a year ago.
Dzhaparova requested medications and medical apparatus and delivered a letter from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to Modi, according to a Wednesday statement from the Indian foreign ministry.
“During her visit, Ms. Dzhaparova emphasized Ukraine’s desire to build a stronger and closer relationship with India,” the report stated.
Tuesday in New Delhi, Dzhaparova told a think tank that she believed India could play a larger role in ending the conflict.
“We welcome any effort to end the war,” she told the audience, urging India to use its G20 presidency this year to bring attention to the conflict.
India has refrained from publicly condemning the invasion, but Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi told Russian President Vladimir Putin last year that “now is not the time for war,” a rebuke to Moscow.
Longstanding security ties between India and Russia have placed New Delhi in a difficult diplomatic position; while it has called for a cessation of hostilities in Ukraine, it has refused to condemn the invasion explicitly.
India is also purchasing discounted Russian petroleum, resisting Western pressure to isolate Moscow.
Instead, it has chosen to strengthen trade ties with its long-standing ally, which has the added benefit of reducing inflation and saving the government money.