Australia on Sunday said the Quad member countries have accepted India’s position on the Russian attack on Ukraine and that no country would be unhappy as Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been using his contacts to call for an end to the conflict.
Separately, diplomatic sources said India’s position on the Russian invasion appeared to be driven by then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru’s policy in 1957 that India was not in the business of condemnation and it focuses on creating a space for resolution of conflicts.
The crisis in Ukraine is expected to figure in PM Modi’s virtual summit with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Monday amid some disquiet in the West over India’s position on the conflict.
Unlike its Quad partners — the US, Japan and Australia — India has not condemned the Russian invasion of Ukraine and has been maintaining that the crisis should be resolved through dialogue and diplomacy.
“The Quad countries have accepted India’s position. We understand that each country has bilateral relationship and it is clear from the comments of the MEA (Ministry of External Affairs) and Prime Minister Modi himself that he has used his contacts to call for the end of the conflict and no country will be unhappy with that,” Australian High Commissioner to India Barry O’Farrell told reporters.
The Australian envoy was asked about increasing disquiet in the West over India’s position on the Russian invasion of Ukraine and its purchase of discounted crude oil from Russia.
On Friday, Morrison said the situation in Ukraine and its implications for the Indo-Pacific will figure in his virtual summit with PM Modi.
The diplomatic sources cited above said India’s position on Ukraine is reflective of Nehru’s policy in 1957 that India was not in the business of condemnation and it was in the business of creating a space for resolving conflicts.
“No one has ever accused India of supporting what is going on in Ukraine. What India seems to be doing is trying to operate within the policy outlined by Nehru 65 years back,” said a source.
Referring to Japanese PM Fumio Kishida seeking PM Modi’s cooperation in convincing Russian President Vladimir Putin to maintain a free and open international order, the sources said it reflects India’s significance and expectations from it.
The situation in Ukraine figured prominently in summit talks between PM Modi and Kishida on Saturday.
After the talks, Kishida said at a media briefing that the Russian invasion of Ukraine has “shaken” the roots of international order and asserted that attempts to alter the status quo by using force in any region should never be tolerated.
There has been increasing uneasiness in the West over India deciding to purchase discounted crude oil from Russia.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said on Tuesday said that India taking the Russian offer of discounted crude oil would not be a violation of the US sanctions on Moscow but underlined that countries should also think about “where you want to stand” on the Russian action.
An India-Japan joint statement, issued after talks between Kishida and PM Modi on Saturday, said the two leaders expressed serious concern over the conflict and pitched for an immediate end to violence and resolution of the situation through dialogue and diplomacy.
After the conflict began, PM Modi has held three telephonic conversations with Russian President Putin and spoke to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy twice.
On March 3, the leaders of the Quad countries held a virtual meeting to discuss the Ukraine crisis.
A joint readout released by the White House had said that US President Joe Biden, PM Modi, Morrison and Kishida discussed the ongoing conflict and humanitarian crisis in Ukraine besides assessing its “broader implications”.
“They agreed to stand up a new humanitarian assistance and disaster relief mechanism which will enable the Quad to meet future humanitarian challenges in the Indo-Pacific and provide a channel for communication as they each address and respond to the crisis in Ukraine,” it said.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)