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Modi meets Lavrov, calls for early cessation of violence in Ukraine

Modi meets Lavrov, calls for early cessation of violence in Ukraine
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New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday conveyed to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov that India stands ready to contribute in any way to the peace efforts to resolve the conflict in Ukraine and called for early cessation of violence in that country.

The prime minister communicated this when Lavrov called on him after holding wide-ranging talks with External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, a day after arriving in India on a two-day visit.

Referring to the crisis in Ukraine, Jaishankar, in the talks, emphasised the importance of cessation of violence and ending hostilities, and noted that differences and disputes should be resolved through dialogue and diplomacy. The Ministry of External Affairs said the two sides discussed developments pertaining to Ukraine and Lavrov briefed the Indian side on the Russian perspective of the situation, including the ongoing peace talks.

It said Jaishankar underlined that as a developing economy, global volatility in different domains is of particular concern to India.

"It is important for both countries that their economic, technological and people to people contacts remain stable and predictable," it said in a statement.

The high-level talks took place in the backdrop of indications that India could buy greater volumes of discounted Russian oil and both sides were keen on having a ruble-rupee arrangement for bilateral trade.

"If India wants to buy anything from Russia, we are ready to discuss it," Lavrov said.

The two sides also discussed the situation in Afghanistan and Lavrov conveyed his assessment of a recent conference on the war-torn country in China.

"Concluded talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. Discussed bilateral cooperation and developments in Ukraine, Afghanistan, Iran, Indo-Pacific, ASEAN and the Indian sub-continent," Jaishankar said in a tweet.

Ahead of his meeting with Modi, Lavrov said at a media briefing that India, with its "just and rational" approach towards international problems, can support the peace efforts if it chooses to play such a role.

He also said that no pressure can affect Russia's partnership with India and that his talks with Jaishankar reflected the depth of the special and privileged strategic partnership between the two sides.

Lavrov also complimented India's "independent" position on the conflict while describing it as an "important and serious" country that does not come under any influence of the US.

"I believe that India's foreign policy is characterised by independence and the concentration on the real national legitimate interests," he said.

Lavrov said Russia also follows the same approach and policy, and it has made both the "big" countries good friends and an important part of each other's international relations.

"I have no doubt that any pressure will affect our partnership, but you know that others have been trying to suppress the relationship between India, Russia and China...They (West) are forcing others to follow their politics," he said.

Lavrov arrived in New Delhi on Thursday evening after concluding a two-day visit to China.

Hours before the Russian foreign minister landed in India, US Deputy National Security Adviser Daleep Singh cautioned that there will be consequences for countries actively attempting to "circumvent or backfill" American sanctions against Moscow.

Unlike many other leading powers, India has not yet criticised Russia for its invasion of Ukraine and it abstained from the votes at the UN platforms in condemning the Russian aggression.

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