India and the US will continue close consultations on the on-going Russian war on Ukraine and discuss ways to manage and stabilise its effects, US President Joe Biden has said.

In his opening remarks at the virtual bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday, shortly before the start of the India-US 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue, Biden also lay emphasis on the growing major defence partnership between the two countries.

“I want to welcome the humanitarian support (extended by India) for people in Ukraine who are suffering a horrific assault including the tragic shelling of a train station last week that killed dozens of women, children and people trying to flee the violence. India and US are going to continue our close consultations and how to manage and stabilise the effects of this Russian war,” he said.

“Our continued consultation and dialogue are key to ensuring the US and India relationship continues to grow deeper and stronger,” he added.

Modi pointed out that the meeting between the two leaders would give direction to the Foreign Ministers and Defence Ministers who are meeting in the 2+2 format. He thanked Biden for taking the initiative for the virtual meet.

Modi pointed out that he had spoken to the Presidents of both Russia and Ukraine on the situation in Ukraine and had also suggested that the two leaders speak directly to each other to resolve the matter.

“In our Parliament also a lot of discussions have taken place on the situation in Ukraine. We have strongly criticised the killings of innocent civilians in Bucha and have called for independent enquiry,” Modi pointed out. He expressed hope that talks between the two countries would result in peaceful solution.

“From our side we have given medicines and relief material to Ukraine and other neighbouring countries. Will soon send another consignment of medicines that Ukraine has requested,” he said.

Other issues discussed

Modi and Biden also discussed other issues including the Covid-19 pandemic, recent developments in South Asia, the state of the global economy and climate challenges.

“There is a likelihood that the two sides may discuss some defence deals at the Ministerial Dialogue as the US has been reportedly assuring India that it will look for alternative defence suppliers for the country so that its dependence on Russian arms declines,” a person tracking the matter told BusinessLine.

The meeting between Biden and Modi was announced by both countries on Sunday. 

The US is not happy with India’s continued engagement with Russia, especially on the economic front, and its insistence on abstaining from voting at the UN Security Council and the UN Human Rights Commission on motions against Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Over the past month, senior officials from the US have made several comments and observations criticising India’s position on Russia. US Deputy National Security Adviser Daleep Singh also indicated that helping the country to bypass sanctions imposed by the West could lead to consequences.

India is examining the possibility of putting in place a rupee-rouble payment mechanism that will allow it to trade with Russia despite the banking sanctions put in place by the US and European nations.

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