Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio urged Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday to take stronger action against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, but a joint statement after the Delhi meeting was not enough to condemn Moscow’s actions.
Unlike its fellow members of the Quad Alliance, such as Japan, Australia and the United States, India abstained from a UN vote deploring Russia’s actions, still buying Russian oil, calling for an end to violence.
read: US says India’s purchase of Russian oil is not in violation of sanctions
Prime Minister Kishida had ‘in-depth discussions’ with Prime Minister Modi at a joint press conference and said that ‘Russian invasion should be dealt with decisively, shaking the foundation of international order’.
However, Prime Minister Modi did not comment directly on Ukraine, and a joint statement later said that it “urged an immediate cessation of violence and stated that there was no other option but dialogue and diplomacy to resolve the conflict.”
Without giving the name of the country, they “emphasized the need for all States to settle disputes peacefully in accordance with international law, without resorting to threats or the use of force or unilateral attempts to change the status quo.”
In a four-way call earlier this month, Kishida, US President Joe Biden and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison also failed to win India’s prime minister over Ukraine.
The joint quad statement at the time said it did not condemn Moscow, saying it “discussed the ongoing conflict and humanitarian crisis in Ukraine and evaluated its broader implications.”
A separate India reading stressed that the alliance must continue to focus on “the Indo-Pacific’s core goals” to promote peace, stability and prosperity.
Prime Minister Modi and Prime Minister Morrison are set to hold a virtual summit focused on trade on Monday, where the Australian prime minister could once again pressure the Indian prime minister to get more westernized on the Ukraine issue.
Russia has been India’s main arms supplier since Soviet times, but today Delhi faces an increasingly dogmatic China and needs more support in the region and beyond.
Tensions between New Delhi and Beijing have escalated since the 2020 Himalayan border dispute, which killed at least 20 Indians and four Chinese soldiers.
editorial: China-India conflict
Since then, both have sent additional military equipment (mostly Russian in India) and thousands of additional troops to the region.
Regarding China’s growing claims to be seen as the Quad’s primary concern, Kishida and Modi “reaffirmed their shared vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific free from coercion.”
In a statement after the Prime Minister’s first visit to India since 2017, he also said that Japan will realize 5 trillion yen in public and private investment in India over the next five years.
The two leaders also expressed concern about the situation in Myanmar and called for an end to violence, the release of all detainees and a return to the path of democracy.
They also pledged further cooperation to combat climate change and condemned North Korea’s “unstable ballistic missile launches”.