Ukraine foreign minister in New Delhi to woo India

Dmytro Kuleba @DmytroKuleba
Dmytro Kuleba, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, with Dr. S. Jaishankar, External Affairs Minister of India.

Ukraine’s foreign minister began a two-day visit to New Delhi yesterday intent on boosting bilateral ties and cooperation with India, long considered a firm ally of Russia. FM Dmytro Kuleba will attempt to promote Kyiv’s vision of the path to peace in Ukraine, building on the dialogue between the leaders of the two countries with, as he noted in a post on the social media platform X, “specific attention to the peace formula”.

Ukraine is eager to hold a summit of world leaders (excluding Russia) in the coming months to advance this “formula” that includes a call for the withdrawal of Russian troops from its territory. Moscow has dismissed this diplomatic effort as a non-starter.

FM Kuleba’s visit comes a week after India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and to Russia’s President Vladimir Putin. India has not criticised Moscow about the war in Ukraine but has increased its purchases of war-discounted Russian oil to record levels. However, it has stressed the need for diplomacy and dialogue to help end the war and has stated its willingness to help with peace efforts.

Modi has promoted India as a rising global player capable of mediating between the West and Russia on the war in Ukraine. In a 20 March post on X, he said he had told Zelenskyy of “India’s consistent support for all efforts for peace” and for bringing an early end to the conflict. Earlier, he had congratulated Putin on his re-election as president. India’s Foreign Ministry said the two leaders had agreed to strengthen their relationship, with Modi reiterating that dialogue and peace was the best way forward for the Russia-Ukraine war.

Zelenskyy, who phoned Modi last week, said he had encouraged India to participate in the Peace Summit that Switzerland has offered to organize. Commenting on X, he said: “Ukraine is interested in strengthening our trade and economic ties with India, particularly in agricultural exports, aviation cooperation, and pharmaceutical and industrial product trade.”

Meanwhile, New Delhi has been trying to reduce its dependency on Moscow for arms and technology given the disruptions in supplies due to the war. India is also part of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, or Quad, along with the U.S., Australia and Japan.

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