At a Group of Seven summit in Japan’s Hiroshima, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday asked all countries to raise their voices against unilateral attempts to change the status quo, PTI reported. He said that sovereignty and territorial integrity of all nations should be respected.
The leaders of the G7 – Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States – are grappling with the challenges posed by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the rising aggression from China.
Addressing a session on Sunday, Modi said that he does not consider the current situation in Ukraine to be an issue of politics or economy.
“I believe it is an issue of humanity, an issue of human values,” he added. “We have said from the beginning, that dialogue and diplomacy is the only way. And to solve this situation, we will try as much as possible, whatever can be done from India.”
His comments came a day after he held talks with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy as part of a series of meetings with non-aligned countries in attendance.
Modi had told Zelenskyy that India will do everything necessary to resolve the conflict in Ukraine. This was their first in-person meeting since the war started on February 24 last year.
Zelenskyy said that he briefed Modi about the Ukrainian Peace Formula initiative and invited India to join its implementation.
“I spoke about Ukraine’s needs in humanitarian demining and mobile hospitals,” he added. “I thank India for supporting our country’s territorial integrity and sovereignty, in particular, at the platforms of international organisations, and for providing humanitarian aid to Ukraine.”
Quad members meet at Hiroshima
Modi also met leaders of the Quad group in Hiroshima on Saturday, who reaffirmed their commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific. The Quad consists of India, the United States, Japan and Australia.
“We strongly oppose destabilising or unilateral actions that seek to change the status quo by force or coercion,” a joint statement by the group said, using diplomatic language that appeared to refer to China’s military expansion in the Pacific.
“We express serious concern at the militarisation of disputed features, the dangerous use of coastguard and maritime militia vessels, and efforts to disrupt other countries’ offshore resource exploitation activities,” the statement added.
Modi’s statement at the G7 summit and his meeting with the Quad members came at a time when China has also increased its aggression at the Line of Actual Control.
In April, India’s Defence Minister Rajnath Singh had told his Chinese counterpart Li Shangfu that violation of existing agreements between the two countries has eroded the entire basis of bilateral ties.
On December 9, Indian and Chinese troops had clashed in the Tawang sector of Arunachal Pradesh. New Delhi said that the clash took place after Beijing attempted to change the status quo at the Line of Actual Control.
Last month, China had also released a list of 11 places in Arunachal Pradesh that it had “renamed” as part of its attempts to lay claim over the region. The neighbouring country lays territorial claims over a large portion of Arunachal Pradesh, claiming that it is “South Tibet”. However, India has rejected these claims.
A major face-off between Indian and Chinese soldiers in the Galwan Valley of Ladakh in June 2020 led to casualties on both sides – the first in many decades. Tensions had flared at multiple friction points, with both countries stationing tens of thousands of troops backed by artillery, tanks and fighter jets.