Olaf Scholz, Chancellor of Germany, visited India on February 25, 2023, met with his counterpart Narendra Modi and discussed various issues. The most important of these issues was the political solution to the Russia-Ukraine War. Germany wants India to use its influence over Russia to end the war in Ukraine. In the past months, Scholz has made similar calls to China. Both India and China are considered to be the most prominent actors that can prevent Russia from this war. After meeting with Scholz, Modi called for dialogue to end the Russia-Ukraine War and said that New Delhi was ready to contribute to the peace processes to be carried out. While China has recently published an opinion document on the resolution of the Ukraine Crisis; India has also stepped up its contacts to achieve a ceasefire.
As it will be remembered, in December 2022, President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky had a phone call with Modi and asked him for help in the implementation of the 10-point peace plan. Ukraine’s expectation is that Modi will get this peace plan to be accepted by Russian leader Vladimir Putin. Whether it is under the mediation of India or China, it does not seem possible for Ukraine’s 10-point peace plan to be accepted by Russia. For this reason, it is difficult to resolve the war through diplomacy under the current conditions. The conjuncture indicates that the war will continue for a while. India is deeply affected by this crisis. However, Modi does not have enough influence and credit to put pressure on Putin and change his decisions. Despite this, Ukraine expects India, which holds the G20 Presidency, to direct the international community by using this power.
Having made a phone call with Modi once again on January 23, 2023, Zelensky said that he counted on India’s help in the implementation of the “peace formula”. Modi, on the other hand, reiterated his call for an “immediate cessation of hostilities” and a “return to dialogue and diplomacy”. As New Delhi prepares to host the G20 Foreign Ministers Meeting; One of the most significant agenda items is ending the war in Ukraine.
Ukraine asks China as well as India to mediate for peace. Indeed, Zelensky announced that he plans to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping to discuss the details of Beijing’s peace plan. The Ukrainian leader said he would like to believe that “China wants a just peace” and “will not give arms to Russia”.
The Beijing government also demanded that “the sovereignty of all countries be respected” in the peace plan it published. In other words, Beijing has emphasized that it defends the territorial integrity of Ukraine. Zelensky also said that this proposal is a sign that China is seeking peace. Nevertheless, he is not sure about it. This is because, as Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi used during his last visit to Moscow, the relationship between China and Russia is as steady as a rock.
It should be pointed out; significant differences began to emerge in the perspectives of India and China on Russia. For example, at a meeting of Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors under India’s G20 Presidency on 26, 2023, a joint statement condemning Russia’s war in Ukraine could not be published due to China’s objections. A similar situation was experienced at the G20 Leaders’ Summit held in Bali, Indonesia in November 2022. At that time, China and Russia made reservations about the article condemning the war in Ukraine. At the last summit, India said in a statement that “despite the fact that most of the members condemned the war in Ukraine, there was no consensus on this issue”.
The notable thing is that by using the advantage of being in the G20 Presidency of India, he made attempts to reach a consensus so that the articles about the condemnation of the war in Ukraine should be included in the final declaration. In other words, India, aside from making reservations about this article, led the way for the adoption of the resolution. Therefore, New Delhi has difficulty understanding Moscow’s national interests and reasons for war. Beijing, on the other hand, states that Moscow has legitimate security concerns. In this regard, the positions of India and China in Russia are different.
Although the G20 is an economic organization, Western powers are trying to use this structure for their political purposes and are pressing for India to strongly condemn Russia. As a justification for this, the mentioned economic organization claims that the war in Ukraine caused great damage to the global economy.
India, on the other hand, plays a role in the politicization of the G20 as required by its national interests. This is why New Delhi is in competition with Beijing. The aforementioned country also sees the Presidency of G20 as an opportunity to voice its own security concerns. In a nutshell, India and China are far from meeting the expectations of the West regarding the war in Ukraine. As can be understood, India and China maintain positive relations with Russia, even though they wish to end the war in Ukraine.
When the situation of the two countries is compared, it is possible to say that India’s stance on the Ukraine Crisis is more uncertain. This is because China has published an opinion document on this issue. However, India’s opinions on this issue are limited only by Modi’s words that he is “against the war”. Other than that, New Delhi doesn’t seem to have any solution plans. That’s why Zelensky shares his 10-point peace plans with his counterpart Modi.
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