• Thu. Sep 28th, 2023

Ukraine’s growing relationship with India has been disclosed in high-level correspondence.

ByJosh Taylor

Dec 29, 2022

While keeping a severe position on Russian oil supplies to India, Ukraine has progressively increased diplomatic and security interaction with India and given the discussion an organised shape, particularly in the last three months. Two “URGENT!” letters from the Ukrainian side to the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) reviewed by The Hindu show that, in addition to President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the current process of dialogue between the 2 sides includes Andriy Yermak, Head of the Presidential office of Ukraine, and National Security Adviser Ajit Doval from the Indian side.
In a letter dated December 9, the Ukrainian side requested assistance in scheduling a phone call between PM Modi and President Zelenskyy “as soon as possible to address the current developments and possibilities of Ukrainian-Indian bilateral cooperation.” The letter was delivered a day after NSA Doval and Mr. Yermak spoke on the phone. According to the President of Ukraine’s official website, Mr. Doval and Mr. Yermak conducted a phone discussion on December 8 to continue the “Grain from Ukraine humanitarian project” launched by Mr. Zelenskyy. It was also said that India recently got a cargo of 37,500 tonnes of edible oil from Ukraine.
On Monday, President Zelenskyy disclosed the telephone conversation that he had with PM Modi stating, “I had a phone chat with PM Narendra Modi and wished (India) a successful G-20 Presidency. I unveiled the peace formula on this forum, and I now want India to participate in its execution. I also thanked the UN for humanitarian assistance and solidarity.”
On Dec. 16, Prime Minister Modi spoke by phone with Russian President Vladimir Putin, in which the Indian leader urged “dialogue and diplomacy” to end the conflict in Ukraine. PM Modi and President Putin were due to meet in December for the annual India-Russia summit, but neither side acknowledged the cancellation while insisting that the event was not “planned.”
The previous conversation between Prime Minister Modi and President Zelenskyy was scheduled for October 4, during which he reiterated his position on dialogue and offered India’s assistance in finding a peaceful end to the conflict that has wreaked widespread destruction in Ukraine, killing thousands of soldiers and civilians and destroying energy infrastructure.
Understandably, the requested Doval-Yermak meeting took place on December 8, prior to the meeting between the Indian Prime Minister and President Zelenksyy earlier this week.
So far, India has maintained diplomatic neutrality in the situation and has refrained from Western efforts to censure Russia. Mr. Doval visited Moscow earlier this month and met with his Russian counterpart Nikolay Patrushev, who is thought to be one of President Putin’s closest allies.
The Ukraine-India conversation has so far included PM Modi, President Zelenskyy, Mr. Yermak, and Mr. Doval. Prime Minister Modi has been in communication with President Putin and President Zelenskyy for the past ten months, since Mr. Putin announced a “special military operation” against Kyiv on February 24. Prior to it, Putin had met PM Modi in Delhi for the India-Russia summit on December 6, 2021. PM Modi visited President Zelenskyy on the margins of the COP26 meeting in Glasgow on November 2, 2021. Mr. Yermak and Mr. Doval followed up on the discussion with a phone call on November 30, 2021.

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