The US will welcome any attempt that could lead to ending the raging Russia-Ukraine conflict, including any effort that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is willing to undertake, the White House has said.
The remarks by National Security Council Coordinator for Strategic Communications John Kirby came on Friday, days after National Security Advisor Ajit Doval held talks with Russian leaders, including President Vladimir Putin.
When asked if there is still time for Prime Minister Modi to convince Russian President Putin to stop the war, Kirby said: "I think there's still time for Putin to stop the war. I think there's still time for it."
"PM Modi can convince; I will let PM Modi speak to (or make) whatever efforts he's willing to undertake. The US would welcome any effort that could lead to an end of hostilities in Ukraine that are in keeping with President (Volodymyr) Zelenskyy’s objectives and his leadership, his determination of what is acceptable to the Ukrainian people," Kirby said.
India has repeatedly called on Russia and Ukraine to return to the path of diplomacy and dialogue and end their ongoing conflict.
Prime Minister Modi has spoken to the presidents of Russia and Ukraine on multiple occasions and urged for an immediate cessation of hostilities and a return to the path of diplomacy and dialogue for the resolution of the conflict.
In his remarks, Kirby said the single person responsible for what the Ukrainian people are going through is Putin.
"And he could stop it right now. Instead, he’s firing cruise missiles into energy and power infrastructure, and trying to knock out the lights and knock out the heat so the Ukrainian people suffer even more than they already have.
"He could end it right now. And since he’s not willing to do that, clearly, we’ve got to make sure we can help the Ukrainians succeed on the battlefield so that when President Zelenskyy determines it’s time to negotiate — and he’s the only one that can make that determination — he can do it with the strongest hand possible," Kirby said.
The ties between India and Russia remained strong notwithstanding Moscow's invasion of Ukraine. India's import of Russian crude oil has gone up significantly in the last few months despite increasing disquiet over it in many Western countries.
India has not yet condemned the Russian invasion of Ukraine and it has been maintaining that the crisis must be resolved through diplomacy and dialogue.
In his bilateral meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Uzbekistan on September 16, Modi said "today's era is not of war" and nudged him to end the conflict.
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar in January said that Prime Minister Modi has been in contact with the leaders of Russia and Ukraine, pressing them to return to dialogue and diplomacy as a prolonged conflict will not serve the interests of any party.
"We are also increasingly anxious about the knock-on effects of the conflict in terms of accessibility and affordability of fuel food and fertilisers. This is a growing concern for the Global South," Jaishankar has said.