India and France called for an “immediate cessation of hostilities” in Ukraine on Wednesday, which Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi halted again until he condemned Russia’s invasion of neighboring countries.
India, which imports a lot of military equipment from Russia, has long walked a diplomatic tightrope between the West and Moscow. In particular, it has refused to condemn or vote against Russia at the UN for its actions in Ukraine.
Prime Minister Modi and French President Emmanuel Macron said in a joint statement after meeting in Paris for a meeting and a working-level dinner, “France and India expressed deep concern over the humanitarian crisis and the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.”
“The two countries expressly condemn the killing of civilians in Ukraine and urged both sides to immediately stop hostilities in order to facilitate dialogue and diplomacy and to immediately end the suffering of the people. .”
But only France condemned “the illegal and unjustified invasion of Ukraine by Russian forces”.
The two countries said they would respond “in a coordinated and multilateral manner” to the risk that the conflict would deepen the global food crisis, with Ukraine being one of the world’s largest wheat producers.
Prior to the meeting, Macron told Prime Minister Modi that he would “emphasize the consequences of the war on the international order, far beyond the European Union, including in Asia.”
France wants to move away from Russia’s arms and energy “to help India diversify its supply,” officials added.
They said the goal was “to come up with a solution, not to leave the Indians without a way out.”
“There will be no winners in this war, everyone will lose,” Modi, on a European tour, told reporters after meeting German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in Berlin on Monday.
read: Is Russia as isolated as Ukraine’s allies would like?
Elysee Macron has visited France three times since 2017, and the French leader said he had a “very warm relationship” with Prime Minister Modi, who visited India in 2018.
Prime Minister Modi invited President Macron back to India to deepen defense technology cooperation and clean energy transition.
The two hugged and posed for a photo when Modi arrived in the courtyard of the Elysee Palace, where they also welcomed Macron’s wife, Bridget.
Officials at the summit described France-India relations as “trusting”, and the joint statement reaffirmed the two countries’ aspirations to strengthen “a strategic France-India partnership, particularly in the Indo-Pacific region.”
France’s position in the region is particularly important after the UK, US and Australia signed the AUKUS security agreement last year.
India has purchased dozens of French Rafale fighters and six submarines, and is working with Paris on a civilian nuclear project.
French state-owned energy giant EDF wants to build six next-generation EPR reactors in Jaitapur on India’s west coast.
Elysees said it was struggling to get a contract that would align with Macron’s last month’s re-election promise to renew France’s nuclear industry and replace aging power plants.