India’s Modi discusses the Ukraine war with Austria’s leader a day after meeting Putin

VIENNA (AP) — Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi discussed the war in Ukraine on Wednesday with the leader of Austria, an ally of Kyiv that has a policy of military neutrality, emphasizing the need for diplomacy a day after he met Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow.

Modi met Chancellor Karl Nehammer on what he said was the first visit to Austria by an Indian prime minister in 41 years.

Nehammer told reporters it was important to understand India’s position on Ukraine and convey Europe’s concerns. He said it was an “important and significant signal” that India took part in a summit in Switzerland last month and added that Austria could act as a “bridge-builder” in helping move forward peace efforts.

Modi’s visit to Moscow, a longtime partner for New Delhi, was his first since the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine.

While in Moscow, Modi reiterated India’s neutral stance on the invasion. He also alluded to an attack on Monday when Russian missiles struck across Ukraine, damaging the largest children’s hospital in Kyiv and killing at least 42 people nationwide, including some children.

“Be it war, a struggle or a terrorist attack, every person who believes in humanity, when there is loss of life, he is pained,” Modi said Tuesday. “When innocent children are killed, when we see innocent children dying, then the heart pains. And that pain is very horrible.”

In his comments Wednesday, Modi said in general terms that he and Nehammer had “extensive discussions” on all the world’s conflicts, including Ukraine. He said that “problems cannot be solved in the battlefield” and that “the loss of innocent lives is not acceptable, wherever it may take place.”

“India and Austria both lay emphasis on dialogue and diplomacy for the rapid restoration of peace and stability,” he said. “Both of us are ready to provide all possible support to achieve this.”

Modi and Nehammer took no questions from journalists.

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