Washington, Apr 11 (EFE).- Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday during a videophone call with US President Joe Biden condemned the massacre in Bucha, Ukraine, where hundreds of bodies of civilians were found after the withdrawal of Russian troops.
Biden called Modi during a meeting at the White House at which the country’s top diplomat and defense chief were also present, as were India’s corresponding officials in New Delhi.
At the start of the conversation, which was open to the press, Modi remarked that India had “condemned … the massacre” from the moment it was discovered and promised to quickly send new shipments of medicines to Ukraine, which is fighting off a massive military invasion that Russia launched on Feb. 24.
In addition, the Indian leader said that he had held several conversations with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to urge them to negotiate an end to the conflict.
Meanwhile, Biden – in his initial remarks – thanked India for the humanitarian support it has provided to the Ukrainian people and mentioned the Russian missile attack on the Kramatorsk train station, in eastern Ukraine, that killed at least 52 people.
Biden said that the US and India maintain a “deep connection” and stated that he wanted to continue their “close consultation” on the war in Ukraine and how to manage the “destabilizing” effects of the Kremlin’s invasion of the neighboring country, which has unsettled US allies in Europe and other nations around the world as well as key elements of the world economy.
Last week, after the images from Bucha were broadcast around the world, the Indian government said that it was “deeply” concerned about the massacre in that city on the outskirts of Kyiv, and energetically condemned it without mentioning Russia or the alleged participation of Russian troops in the hundreds of killings of civilians.
Biden’s call to Modi on Monday was interpreted as an attempt by Wahington to influence New Delhi’s stance on Ukraine, with India having expressed its neutrality in the conflict.
India has issued calls for a cease-fire and dialogue, at the same time that it abstained from voting in the United Nations to condemn Russia’s invasion and suspend Moscow from the international body’s Human Rights Council, and it has refused to blame anyone for the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine.
The South Asian giant this month welcomed Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and said after his visit that it will continue buying Russian petroleum despite the sanctions and the international pressure being brought to bear to isolate Moscow.
Biden’s deputy national security adviser for international economics, Daleep Singh, recently visited India and urged the country to “diversify” its energy portfolio to reduce its dependence on Russian oil.
A top US official told reporters that the conversation between Biden and Modi on Monday lasted about an hour and was very “candid,” but also “warm and productive.”
The source said that the US did not specifically ask Modi to curtail its purchasing of Russian oil or to do anything in particular regarding the energy issue. The South Asian country is not a big consumer of Russian oil, with it representing between 1 and 2 percent of its imports.
However, Biden reportedly told Modi that India’s position in the world would not be enhanced by relying on Russian energy sources, and White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said that “The president conveyed very clearly that it is not in (India’s) interest to increase that.”
The unidentified source also said that the US is ready to support India in finding alternative energy sources to replace Russian oil.