• Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Diplomacy

Death of innocent children painful: Modi to Putin amid Ukraine offensive

The Indian PM said the words a day after Russian forces carried out missile attacks across a number of Ukrainian cities and partially destroyed a children’s hospital in Kyiv.

Indian prime minister Narendra Modi with Russian President Vladimir Putin during a visit to the Atom Pavilion at the VDNKh Exhibition centre, in Moscow, Russia, on July 9, 2024. (PTI Photo) (IMAGE VIA @MEAIndia)

By: Shubham Ghosh

IN what made his most significant remark to Russian president Vladimir Putin since they last met over a bilateral arrangement in 2022, Indian prime minister Narendra Modi said death of innocent children in war is “heart-wrenching” and very painful.

The 74-year-old leader, who is currently on a two-day visit to Moscow, told the Russian president on Tuesday (9) that those who believe in humanity are pained whenever there is a loss, be it in war, conflicts or terror attacks.

“But when innocent children are murdered, when we see innocent children dying, it is heart-wrenching and that pain is immense. I also had a discussion about this with you,” Modi, who made his first visit to Russia since the outbreak of the Ukraine war, said.

Read: Ukraine president slams Modi-Putin meeting the same day Russian missile hits kids’ hospital

The Indian leader’s words came a day after Russia carried out missile strikes in five cities across Ukraine, killing nearly 40 people and injuring close to 200. Among the targets was the country’s main children’s hospital in capital Kyiv and it is feared that many children might be killed.

“I am happy that we could discuss about the war in Ukraine with an open mind, and we listened to each other’s thoughts on the war with great respect,” Modi said during the bilateral talks with the Russian president.

The Indian PM was conferred Order of St Andrew the Apostle, the highest civilian award of Russian Federation, by Putin on Tuesday. Moscow had announced its decision to bestow the award on Modi in 2019.

Read: Modi shares ‘real story’ of India’s T20 World Cup in Moscow diaspora speech

Stating that he had told Putin many times “as a friend” that peace is of the utmost importance.

“But I also know that solutions are not possible on battlegrounds. Amid bombs, guns and bullets, solutions and peace talks do not succeed. We will have to follow the path to peace only through talks,” the Indian PM said.

Last month, Modi told Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy during a meeting on the sidelines of the G7 summit in Italy that India focuses on a human-centric approach and that the way to peace is through dialogue and diplomacy.

Zelenskyy criticised Modi’s meeting with Putin the day the missile attacks took place saying in a post on X, “It is a huge disappointment and a devastating blow to peace efforts to see the leader of the world’s largest democracy hug the world’s most bloody criminal in Moscow on such a day.”

Russia launched a military offensive against Ukraine in February 2022 and the latest attacks took place on the eve of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s (NATO) 75th anniversary summit in Washington, US. Zelenskyy is also attending the summit and expects that NATO would boost assistance to Kyiv in its fight against the Russian forces.

Moscow, however, has repeatedly denied targeting civilians and civilian infrastructure even though its devastating attacks in Ukraine have resulted in deaths of thousands of common people.

Modi, who had told Putin that this is not an era of war when the two had met during the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation summit in Samarkand in Uzbekistan in September 2022, said on Tuesday that New Delhi is ready to cooperate in “all ways” for restoring peace in the region.

“I assure you and the world community that India is in favour of peace. Listening to my friend Putin talk about peace yesterday gave me hope,” the Indian PM added.

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