India and Prime Minister Narendra Modi have become the "voice of the world", especially of the developing countries, in pushing for an end to the Ukraine conflict through dialogue and diplomacy as soon as possible, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said on Friday. He also said that New Delhi has taken the "side" of the well-being of Indian citizens in the conflict and that India is among the countries with whom all sides are sharing their views.
"The Indian government has taken the side of the well-being of Indian citizens," the external affairs minister said at the Aaj Tak Agenda programme, while replying to a question on which side New Delhi is backing. Jaishankar said a large number of countries are pushing for ending the conflict as soon as possible through dialogue and diplomacy as its impact is being felt on prices of food, energy and fertilisers.
"I think today India and Prime Minister Modi, in a way, have become the voice of the world, particularly of the developing countries because its (conflict's) is being felt by the developing countries," he said. Since the Ukraine conflict began in February, Prime Minister Modi spoke to Russian President Vladimir Putin as well as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy a number of times.
In a phone conversation with Zelenskyy on October 4, Modi said that there can be "no military solution" and that India is ready to contribute to any peace efforts. In his bilateral meeting with Putin in Uzbekistan on September 16, Modi said "today's era is not of war" and nudged the Russian leader to end the conflict. Asked whether India can become the peacemaker in ending the conflict, Jaishankar said did not give a direct reply.
"It is difficult to say anything at this point," he said, but added that it will depend on the situation. "I can at least say that there are some countries with whom all sides share their views. We are among these countries," he said. Asked about India's presidency of the G20, Jaishankar described it as a matter of pride and that the Centre has support of all states and other stakeholders.
To a question on allegations by certain opposition leaders that the government was hyping up India's presidency of the grouping, the external affairs minister said they are entitled to have their views. At the same time he added that "G20 is not a matter of politics and it is not a matter of dispute." "There is a view across the country that the success of the G-20 summit will be a matter of pride for all of us," he said.
On the eastern Ladakh border row, he said there have been some results following the talks between the two sides. He said the results have come because of the deployment of the Army India made in the region following escalation of tensions in 2020. On ties with Pakistan, Jaishankar said cross border terrorism should never be accepted as normal.
"Can you give one example of one neighbour resorting to terrrism day and night against another neighbour," he asked, making it clear that talks with Pakistan cannot happen if that country does not stop cross border terrorism against India. "We should never accept that any country has any right to support terrorism," he said.
Asked about government's views India-Pakistan cricket ties and requirement of cricket players to visit each other's country for certain tournaments, Jaishankar did not give a direct reply. "Tournaments keep coming. Let's see," he said.
(With PTI inputs)