On the final days of the 49th Group of Seven (G7) summit being held in Hiroshima, Japan on Saturday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky met with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in person for the first time since Russia’s invasion began.
Discussions about the Ukraine-Russia Conflict
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has promised Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenksy, during the meeting at the G7 Summit, that India will do everything in its power to find a settlement to the Ukraine dispute. The Prime Minister informed Ukraine’s president that he does not view the crisis as a political or economic issue, but rather as one of humanity and human values. External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and National Security Adviser Ajit Doval were among the Indian delegation during the discussions.
During the discussion, Prime Minister Modi expressed gratitude towards Ukraine for its assistance in the safe evacuation of Indian students and commended Ukrainian institutions’ decision to hold tests for these students in India.
Zelensky’s Arrival and Agenda
Zelensky’s arrival was not verified by the host country Japan until Saturday morning. The timing of his arrival was undisclosed until Japanese television stations broadcast live footage of him landing at Hiroshima airport on a jet provided to him by his close ally, French President Emmanuel Macron.
Zelensky’s presence at the G7 allows the wartime commander the opportunity to speak with the member states who have already backed Ukraine – Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States – and push them for continuing military assistance.
However, it also provides Zelenksy with an opportunity to seek support for Ukraine and its vision for peace from leaders from countries attending the summit, that have not joined the West in leveraging sanctions against Russia or have refused to condemn Russia at the United Nations, such as India.
The meeting came more than a month after Ukrainian First Deputy Foreign Minister Emine Dzhaparova paid a visit to India. During her visit, Dzhaparova handed a letter to Meenakshi Lekhi, Minister of State for External Affairs, written by President Zelenskyy to Prime Minister Modi.
India’s Relationship with Russia
According to a readout from the Indian side, Modi spoke to Putin last year about the need to “move onto a path of peace” during a face-to-face meeting with the Russian leader on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation summit in Uzbekistan in September, which was seen as an indicator of agitation from New Delhi as the conflict continued.
India has long been a significant buyer of Russian weapons and has close relations with Moscow. It has also increased its imports of Russian energy, offering a critical economic lifeline to President Vladimir Putin’s regime even as the West tightens restrictions on this crucial revenue stream.
Despite sending humanitarian supplies to Ukraine throughout the conflict, New Delhi has remained silent on UN resolutions calling for its departure and denouncing its invasion.
Ukraine’s Peace Plan
On Friday, Zelensky also visited the Arab League Summit in Saudi Arabia, where he sought sympathy from Saudi officials who “turn a blind eye” to the Ukrainian conflict.
Zelensky will meet with leaders from G7 member countries, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States during the G7, as well as engage in a bigger session on peace and stability with other invited nations, Japan announced on Saturday.