• Wednesday, July 24, 2024


Ukraine, Middle East conflicts come up in Modi’s talks with Austria chancellor

The Indian leader reached the central European nation after a significant visit to Russia where he discussed the war in Ukraine with president Vladimir Putin.

Austrian chancellor Karl Nehammer (L) watches as Indian prime minister Narendra Modi signs the guest book at the Chancellory in Vienna, on July 10, 2024 during his state visit to Austria. (Photo by ROLAND SCHLAGER/APA/AFP via Getty Images)

By: Shubham Ghosh

THE conflicts in Ukraine and Middle East besides serious issues such as terrorism and climate change came up during the talks as Indian prime minister Narendra Modi met Austrian chancellor Karl Nehammer during delegation-level discussions in Vienna on Wednesday (10).

The Austrian leader later said in a joint media briefing that he had “very intensive talks” with the Indian leader about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine which started in February 2022 and continues to cause bloodshed. Several thousands of people have died on both sides of the border in the conflict so far.

“It is particularly important to get to know India’s assessment and to understand it and familiarise India with European concerns and worries. Moreover, the conflict in the Middle East was a major topic and, in addition to this challenging geopolitical situation, we also referred to the positive aspects of our cooperation,” Nehammer said.

Read: Modi reaches Vienna, poses for selfie with Austria chancellor

Indian PM Narendra Modi in Austria
Austrian chancellor Karl Nehammer (L) and Indian prime minister Narendra Modi inspect a guard of honour prior to a meeting at the Chancellory in Vienna, on July 10, 2024 during the latter’s state visit to Austria. (Photo by ALEX HALADA/AFP via Getty Images)

It may be mentioned that Modi reached Austria on Tuesday (9) from Russia where he met president Vladimir Putin and spoke with him about the ongoing war. He even discussed with him the devastating missile attack on a children’s hospital in Kyiv on Monday (8), the same day he reached Moscow, saying death of innocent children is painful.

The Indian PM also said that no solution can be found on the battleground and it is seen as an extension of his remark “today’s is not of war” which he had made during his previous in-person meeting with the Russian president on the margins of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation summit in Samarkand in Uzbekistan in September 2022.

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

The Russian president thanked Modi during their latest meeting for making efforts to find a solution to the two-year-old war and also honoured the latter with his country’s highest civilian award.

In Austria, Modi said New Delhi and Vienna would work to “connect youth power” and strengthen each other in areas such as renewable energy, water and waste management, hydrogen and artificial intelligence.

He received a guard of honour on Wednesday in a ceremonial reception at the Federal Chancellery in the Austrian capital. Modi, who became the first Indian prime minister to visit the central European nation in more than four decades, said the “friendship” between the two nations would get even stronger in days ahead.

Modi was received at the airport in Vienna on Tuesday by Austrian foreign minister Alexander Schallenberg, also a former chancellor. He later received a warm welcome as he met Nehammer and joined him for a private dinner.

Both leaders hugged each other and Nehammer was even seen clicking a selfie with Modi.

He also posted the candid moments on X, calling India a “friend” and a “partner”.

“Welcome to Vienna, PM Narendra Modi! It is a pleasure and honour to welcome you to Austria. Austria and India are friends and partners. I look forward to our political and economic discussions during your visit!” the chancellor tweeted.

Modi acknowledged by saying, “The India-Austria friendship is strong, and it will get even stronger in the times to come.”

“Thank you, Chancellor @karlnehammer, for the warm welcome. Our nations will continue working together to further global good,” he later tweeted in both English and German.

The Indian leader will also call on Austrian president Alexander Van der Bellen during his visit and address business leaders from India and Austria along with Nehammer.

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