Ukraine wants tighter ties with India, visit by Modi


New Delhi (Reuters) – Ukraine’s deputy foreign minister on Monday said Kyiv wanted New Delhi to be more involved in helping resolve its conflict with Russia and has sought a visit by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other top officials.

Emine Dzhaparova told broadcaster CNBC TV18 in an interview that Kyiv also expected India to invite Ukrainian officials to participate in G20 events and intensify political dialogue with Kyiv.

India holds the rotating presidency of the Group of 20 this year and hosts a leaders summit in September. New Delhi has not been as critical of Moscow as others for its invasion of Ukraine and has even ramped up its buying of Russian oil – the lifeblood of its economy – while others have sought to buy less or ban it.

Dzhaparova, who is on a four-day visit to New Delhi, told the broadcaster: “We believe India should be engaged and involved in the Ukraine issue to a great extent”.

“We believe intensification of political dialogue on the highest level is first step towards this big goal. My president is requesting a phone conversation with the Prime Minister. We are looking forward to welcome him in Kyiv one day,” she said.

Speaking to reporters earlier in the day, she said India should be pragmatic in securing its resources, including energy and defence equipment, while warning against dependence on Russia.

India has sought a diplomatic solution to the conflict in Ukraine, while Modi told Russian President Vladimir Putin in September that now is “not an era of war”.

India has also boosted its purchases of Russian oil, taking advantage of the deep discounts following a European ban on Russian oil imports.

Russia, like the Soviet Union before it, has been India’s main source of arms and defence equipment for decades and it has now displaced Iraq as India’s top crude supplier as well.

“We only think it is crucial to diversify all of the resources, not only energy but also military resources,” Dzhaparova said. “When you are dependent from Russia, they always use this blackmail instrument”.

Dzhaparova will meet India’s deputy national security adviser and a junior foreign minister during her visit and address a world affairs think tank.

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