India refrains from signing joint communique at Swiss Peace Summit; pushes for "sincere" engagement between Russia, Ukraine

Pavan Kapoor
Pavan Kapoor

New Delhi | India on Sunday was among the countries that did not sign a joint communique at a Switzerland-hosted summit for peace in Ukraine even as New Delhi called for "sincere and practical engagement" between Moscow and Kyiv for a peaceful resolution to the conflict.

Pavan Kapoor, Secretary (West) in the external affairs ministry, represented India at the summit in the Swiss resort of Burgenstock that was attended by delegates from more than 100 countries and organisations, including several heads of state.

India did not associate itself with any communique or document emerging from the summit.

In a brief address, the senior Indian diplomat said New Delhi's participation in the peace summit and several earlier meetings of senior officials based on Ukraine's peace formula was in line with "our clear and consistent approach that enduring peace can be achieved only through dialogue and diplomacy."

The key objective of the summit that concluded on Sunday was to inspire a future peace process. Russia was not invited to the summit while China decided not to attend it.

The Indian delegation attended the opening and closing plenary sessions of the summit.

"India did not associate itself with any communique/document emerging from this summit," the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said in a statement.

"India's participation in the summit, as well as in the preceding NSA/Political Director-level meetings based on Ukraine's Peace Formula, was in line with our consistent approach to facilitate a lasting and peaceful resolution to the conflict through dialogue and diplomacy," the MEA said.

It said a resolution to the conflict requires a "sincere and practical engagement" between the two parties, clearly referring to Russia and Ukraine.

"We continue to believe that such a resolution requires a sincere and practical engagement between the two parties to the conflict," the MEA said.

"In this regard, India will continue to remain engaged with all stakeholders as well as both the parties to contribute to all earnest efforts to bring about an early and abiding peace," it said.

Kapoor also made these points during his remarks at the summit. PTI reported on Friday that Kapoor will represent India at the summit.

In the joint communique issued at the end of the Peace Summit, the signatories reaffirmed their commitment to "refraining from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state" and the principles of sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity of all states, including Ukraine, within their internationally recognised borders.

A Swiss foreign ministry statement said 83 states and organisations approved the joint communique at the end of the "High-Level Conference on Peace in Ukraine".

"We believe that reaching peace requires the involvement of and dialogue between all parties. We, therefore, decided to undertake concrete steps in the future in the above-mentioned areas with further engagement of the representatives of all parties," the joint communique said.

Following Russia's invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to both Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on multiple occasions.

India has not yet condemned the Russian invasion of Ukraine and it has been maintaining that the crisis must be resolved through diplomacy and dialogue.

At the summit, Ukrainian President Zelenskyy sought support for his 10-point peace plan that he first outlined in 2022.

"The peace formula is inclusive, and we are happy to hear and work on all proposals, all ideas of what is really needed for peace and what is important to you dear friends," Zelenskyy said.

"I urge you to be as active as possible and I am proud all parts of the world, all continents are now represented at the peace summit," he said.

The peace summit was built on the previous discussions that have taken place based on Ukraine's Peace Formula and other peace proposals.

Prime Minister Modi on Friday met the Ukrainian president on the sidelines of the G7 summit in Italy's Apulia.

In the talks, Modi conveyed to Zelenskyy that India would continue to do everything within its means to support a peaceful solution to the Ukraine conflict and that the way to peace is through "dialogue and diplomacy".

The prime minister also told the president that India believes in a "human-centric" approach.

"The prime minister conveyed that India continues to encourage peaceful resolution of the conflict through dialogue and diplomacy, and reiterated that India would continue to do everything within its means to support a peaceful solution," the MEA said after the meeting.

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