India calls for safeguarding interests of Ukraine’s people

Moscow/New Delhi, April 16: Amid escalating tension in Ukraine caused by pro-Russian separatists, India Wednesday urged for restraint and for a political and diplomatic solution that would “safeguard the legitimate interests of all sections of Ukraine’s population” and countries in the region.

Indian Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh, visiting here April 15-17, “reiterated India’s position, calling on all sides to exercise restraint and work together constructively to find political and diplomatic solutions that would safeguard the legitimate interests of all sections of Ukraine’s population, of all countries in the region and of long term peace and stability in Europe and beyond”, said a statement from the Indian embassy in Moscow.

During talks with her counterparts, Vladimir Titov, first deputy foreign minister, and Aigor Morgulov, deputy foreign minister, the two sides expressed hope that the talks involving Russia, Ukraine, the US and the EU in Geneva Thursday “would make a positive contribution in this direction”.

Earlier, both Russian officials conveyed their “perspectives on the ongoing developments in Ukraine”, where pro-Russia separatists have strengthened their grip on several towns in eastern Ukraine and are demanding a referendum on joining Russia, in a Crimea-like situation.

The West has reacted angrily to the developments, alleging the discontent is being deliberately fanned by Moscow.

Sujatha Singh co-chaired the India-Russia Foreign Office Consultations (FoCs) with both the Russian officials Wednesday.

During the FoCs, Sujatha Singh had detailed discussions with Titov and Morgulov on a variety of matters of bilateral and international interest.

Both sides discussed implementation of decisions reached at the last summit held in Moscow in October last year between Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

They also discussed preparations for the bilateral annual summit to be held in India later this year, preparations for the next BRICS (Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa) summit in Brazil and also the calendar of important high-level visits and consultations this year.

Other bilateral issues discussed ranged from cooperation in trade and investment, civil nuclear energy, hydrocarbons, defence, space, tourism exchanges and intensified cultural cooperation, all of which contribute to the close bilateral relationship, said the statement.

Discussions on international issues covered India’s and Russia’s neighbourhood as well as other major international developments relating to Iran, Afghanistan, the Korean Peninsula, Syria and on multilateral issues like UN Security Council reforms, BRICS, Russia-India-China (RIC), Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) and Asia-Pacific Security, the statement said.