In the latest in a series of setbacks by the Russian leader, Modi told him of the need to “walk the path of peace” and reminded him of the importance of “democracy, diplomacy and dialogue”.
Modi’s comments came during a face-to-face meeting on Friday on the sidelines of a regional summit and highlighted Russia’s growing isolation on the diplomatic stage. They came a day after Putin admitted that China also had “questions and concerns” about the invasion.
“I know today is not a time of war, democracy, diplomacy and dialogue are all things that touch the world, we have spoken to you many times over the phone,” Modi told Putin during the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit. Samarkand is a city in Uzbekistan.
Putin told the Indian leader that he was aware of his concerns.
“I know about your position on the conflict in Ukraine, I know about your concerns. We want all this to end as soon as possible,” he said.
Modi’s outspoken criticism of Russia’s invasion is just the latest setback for Putin, who has suffered a series of major defeats on the battlefield in recent weeks. Ukraine claims to have recaptured some 8,000 square kilometers of territory.
Diplomatically, Moscow also appears to be on the losing end, highlighted by exchanges at a summit in Samarkand that brought together the leaders of Russia, China, India, Pakistan, Iran and four Central Asian nations.
However, signs of rifts have emerged over Russia’s invasion, which has not appeased leaders of former Soviet territories in Central Asia, who worry that Russia could also encroach on their land.
India and China are the biggest customers of Russian oil, and suggestions that both have made reservations about war in recent days have given Moscow a lot to think about.
Earlier, at the summit, Putin had acknowledged China’s concerns, saying “we greatly value the balanced position of our Chinese friends when it comes to the Ukraine crisis.”
In a statement issued after Friday’s meeting, India’s Ministry of External Affairs said the discussions between the two leaders “regarded global food security, energy security and availability of fertilizers in the context of challenges arising from the current geo-political scenario”.
“They agreed to stay in touch,” the ministry added.