Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday told Russian President Vladimir Putin that the present era was not one of war, reported Reuters. The two leaders met on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation summit in Uzbekistan’s Samarkand.

Putin said that he understood Modi’s concerns about the war in Ukraine that began in February after Russia invaded its neighbour.

“I know your position on the conflict in Ukraine, your concerns,” he said. “We will do our best to end this as soon as possible.”

In a tweet after the meeting, Modi said that he also spoke to Putin about furthering cooperation between India and Russia in sectors such as trade, energy and defence.

Addressing the summit earlier on Friday, Modi said that he wants to transform India into a manufacturing hub.

“Several disruptions occurred in the global supply chain because of Covid-19 and Ukraine crisis.” Modi said. “We want to transform India into a manufacturing hub.”

The prime minister also expressed confidence that India’s economy would grow at 7.5% this year.

Meanwhile, Chinese President Xi Jinping congratulated India for taking over as the chair of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, reported ANI. Jinping said that Beijing will support India in organising the summit next year.

In a statement ahead of his departure on Thursday evening, Modi had said that he looked forward to “exchanging views on topical, regional and international issues, the expansion of Shangai Cooperation Organisation and on further deepening of multifaceted and mutually beneficial cooperation within the Organization”.

Chinese President Xi Jinping is also among the leaders who will attend the summit. Xi and Modi will come face-to-face for the first time since tensions began along the Line of Actual Control in Ladakh in April 2020.

It is not clear whether a bilateral meeting with the Chinese president is on Modi’s agenda. However, Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra told reporters in Delhi on Thursday: “...As the schedule unfolds of the bilateral meetings, we will keep you fully apprised of them as we go along.”

At the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation summit on November 10, 2020, Modi said that all member countries should respect each other’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. His remarks were interpreted as references to China and Pakistan.

“India has always been resolute in working in sync with principles laid out in the SCO charter,” the prime minister had said during the virtual meeting. “But it is unfortunate that there have been repeated efforts to unnecessarily bring bilateral issues in the SCO agenda which is in violation of the SCO spirit.”

Putin, Xi meet on sidelines of summit

Meanwhile, Putin and Xi on Thursday met on the sidelines of the summit, AFP reported. This was their first meeting after Russia invaded Ukraine.

The Russian president lauded China’s “balanced position” on the conflict.

“We adhere to the principle of one China,” Putin said. “We condemn the provocation of the US and their satellites in the Taiwan Strait.” He made the remarks a day after a United States Senate Committee approved legislation to enhance military support to Taiwan.

China considers the Island nation as a province that is to be unified with the Chinese mainland. In August, after Beijing carried out fresh military drills in the seas and the airspace around Taiwan in response to US officials’ visit to the island nation.

Putin, meanwhile, said that attempts to create a unipolar world “have recently acquired an absolutely ugly form and are completely unacceptable”, in remarks apparently aimed at the United States.