India and France called for an “immediate cessation of hostilities” in Ukraine on Wednesday, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi again refraining from condemning Russia’s invasion of its neighbor.
India, which imports much of its weapons systems from Russia, has long walked a conciliatory tightrope between the West and Moscow, refusing to denounce or vote against the latter’s actions in Ukraine at the United Nations.
“France and India expressed their deep concern about the humanitarian crisis and the ongoing conflict in Ukraine,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi and French President Emmanuel Macron said in a joint statement after meeting in Paris for talks and a working dinner.
Both countries have unequivocally condemned the killing of civilians in Ukraine and have called for an instant cessation of hostilities in order for the two sides to come together just to promote dialogue and diplomacy and to put an end to the people’s suffering.”
Only France, however, condemned “Russian forces’ illegal and unjustified aggression against Ukraine.”
The two countries said they would “respond in a synchronized and multilateral manner” to the risk that the conflict would exacerbate a global food crisis, despite Ukraine being one of the world’s major wheat producers.
Mr. Macron’s office stated ahead of the meeting that he would “emphasize the effects of war for the international order far beyond the European Union, including in Asia” to PM Modi.
Officials added that France wants to “assist the Indians in diversifying their supply” away from Russian arms and energy.
“Our goal is not to leave the Indians with no way out,” they said, “but to offer solutions.”
PM Modi, who is on a European tour, told reporters on Monday after meeting with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in Berlin that “there will be no winners in this war, and everyone will lose.”
According to the Elysee, Mr. Macron has a “extremely warm relationship” with Prime Minister Modi, who has visited France 3 times since 2017, while the French president visited India in 2018.
PM Modi invited Mr. Macron to return to India to expand cooperation on defence technology and the transformation to clean energy.
When PM Modi arrived in the yard of the Elysee Palace, he was greeted by Mr Macron’s wife Brigitte, and the two men endorsed and posed for photographs.