Underlining that differences must be settled through talks, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said on Monday that Prime Minister Narendra 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.
Jaishankar, who arrived in Vienna from Cyprus on the second leg of his two-nation tour, made the remarks while delivering a joint press statement after his productive talks with Austrian counterpart Alexander Schallenberg.
"We sincerely believe that this is not the era of war. Differences must be settled on the negotiating table. It is imperative that there is a return to dialogue and diplomacy. Prolonged conflict will not serve the interests of any party. My Prime Minister has been in contact with the leaders of both nations, pressing our point of view," Jaishankar said.
"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," he added.
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 immediate cessation of hostilities and return to the path of diplomacy and dialogue for the resolution of the conflict.
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.
India has not yet criticised the Russian attack on Ukraine and has been maintaining that the crisis should be resolved through dialogue.
Jaishankar said Austria is an important partner for India in the European Union at a time when it seeks to upgrade its relationship. "We appreciate its strong support for the negotiations underway on the FTA, the investment agreement and the geographical indicators agreement. Their conclusion will obviously have a positive impact on our bilateral economic partnership as well," he said.
"Let me underline that we view Austria as a serious and consequential partner when it comes to bilateral cooperation. You have experiences and capabilities that are relevant to India's modernisation and progress," he said.
The two countries have currently trade turnover of approximately USD 2.5 billion. More than 150 Australian companies are present in India. "We would like those numbers also to grow," the minister said.
"There are many Austrian companies who can more actively contribute to our national priorities. Similarly, our enterprises too can generate value and employment when located in Austria. Our responsibility as ministers is to make sure that such partnerships happen," he said.