India and the United States will continue their close consultation on how to “manage the destabilising effects” of the war launched by Russia against Ukraine, American President Joe Biden said on Monday, reported PTI.
“And we share a strong and growing major defence partnership,” Biden said. “At the root of our partnership is a deep connection between our people, ties of family of friendship and of shared values.”
The US president made the statement during a virtual meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi ahead of the 2+2 dialogue between the two countries.
The Russian war has impacted the global markets, especially the oil trade. Russia is the largest oil exporter in the the world but several countries, including the US, the United Kingdom and Canada have imposed sanctions on Moscow because of its offensive against Ukraine.
Some of these measures target Russian state-owned banks and restrict the country’s ability to carry out transactions in major currencies, making it difficult for Moscow to trade with other countries.
On Monday, Biden also welcomed India’s humanitarian support to Ukraine citizens, who were facing the “horrific assault” by Russia, including the shelling at a train station on April 8 that left over 30 people dead.
“I’m looking forward to our discussions today,” Biden said. “Mr Prime Minister [Narendra Modi], our continued consultation and dialogue are key to ensuring the US and India relationship continues to go deeper and stronger delivering our people and our global good that we all are seeking to manage particularly in your part of the world.”
Biden also described India and the US as two “vibrant democracies”.
“We take the same concerns about the global challenges we face with Covid-19, advancing health security and tracking the climate crisis,” he added. “And we share a strong and growing major defence partnership.”
Meanwhile, Modi said that the situation in Ukraine was a matter of concern.
The prime minister said that he has spoken to Russian President Vladimir Putin and suggested that he hold direct talks with his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
He also said that the killings of civilians in Ukraine’s Bucha town were “very worrying”.
“We immediately condemned it and demanded a fair investigation,” he said.
The videos and images shared on social media of the killings in Bucha had shown bodies of several civilians on the streets after Russian forces had withdrawn from the town this month.
Some of the civilians had their hands tied back and seemed to have been shot from a close distance. The mayor of Bucha had said 280 people had been buried in a mass grave.
Zelenskyy had called it genocide. Russia, however, had denied its role in the killings and accused Ukraine and western countries of staging a “false flag” operation – a political or military action carried out with the intention of blaming an opponent for it.
At the United Nations Security Council meeting on April 5, India had called for an independent investigation into the killings.
On Monday, Modi said that India hopes that ongoing talks between Russia and Ukraine will pave way for peace.
The prime minister also called India and the US “natural partners” as they are the world’s largest and oldest democracies.
Both the world leaders met ahead of the fourth India-US 2+2 dialogue in Washington. Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar will represent India, while their counterparts Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin and Secretary of State Antony J Blinken will represent the United States.