NEW DELHI (AP) — Ukraine wants India to play a bigger role in helping end Russia’s war, its deputy foreign minister said Tuesday during the first visit by a senior Ukrainian official to India since the war began last year.
India “can play a bigger and greater role” and Ukraine would “welcome any effort that is directed at resolving the war,” Emine Dzhaparova said.
She made the comments in a speech at the Indian Council of World Affairs, a think tank in New Delhi, after meeting with her Indian counterpart, Sanjay Verma, and other officials.
Dzhaparova has sought to use her visit to deepen ties with India, which has refrained from condemning Russia’s role in the war and has abstained several times from voting on U.N. resolutions against Moscow. Instead, New Delhi has stressed the need for diplomacy and dialogue on ending the war and has expressed its willingness to contribute to peace efforts.
Dzhaparova said she hopes Indian officials including National Security Adviser Ajit Doval, who visited Moscow in February and held talks with President Vladimir Putin, will also visit Kyiv.
“We would be happy to welcome Indian officials to Kyiv,” she said.
Russian officials are expected to visit India in coming weeks for meetings of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, which the country is chairing this year.
India depends on Russia for nearly 60% of its defense equipment and has ramped up its purchases of low-priced Russian oil since the war in Ukraine began.
On Monday, Dzhaparova warned India against an over reliance on Russia.
“India should be pragmatic in diversifying its energy resources, military contracts and political interactions. Because what we see in my country when you are dependent on Russia, they will always use this blackmail instrument,” she told reporters.
India also holds the rotating presidency of the Group of 20 leading rich and developing nations this year. As host, India has cast itself as a rising superpower while leveraging its position on the global stage to bridge the gap between the West and Russia.
Dzhaparova urged India to use its presidency to spotlight the crisis in Ukraine by inviting Ukrainian officials to the G-20 events and summit, which will be held in September.
She said her visit was “a mark of friendship” and hoped it would kickstart Ukraine’s dialogue with India. “Let us make Ukraine more visible in India, let us help Ukraine to tell its own story, let us also bring India closer” to Ukraine, Dzhaparova said.
Copyright © 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.