Ukraine suggested India recognize the risks of not stopping those who prefer to advance their agenda “with impunity” in what was seen as a reference to India’s two largest neighbors – Pakistan and China.
The events leading up to Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine last year could serve as an example of how to deal with “difficult neighbours,” Amina Dshabarova, Ukraine’s first deputy foreign minister, told ICWA’s diplomatic corps, former envoys and journalists. “.
“There is one message that I have brought to India. Ukraine really wants India and Ukraine to be closer. Yes, there is history between us. But we want to start a new relationship with India,” Ms. Dzhabarova said in Delhi. It is based in the Indian Council of World Affairs (ICWA), a government institute of national importance established exclusively for the study of international relations and external affairs.
She said, “India also has a difficult neighborhood with China and Pakistan. The Crimean incident has a lesson for India as well. The more impunity happens and if it is not stopped, it becomes greater.”
Her comments were seen as hinting at territorial disputes between India, Pakistan and China amid ongoing tensions along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh and Arunachal Pradesh, where Chinese forces often try to change the status quo despite de-escalation talks.
Russia captured the eastern Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea in 2014, eight years before it launched its all-out invasion of Ukraine. In 2016, Ukraine was so certain Russia was planning a major invasion that President Vladimir Putin ordered a troop build-up on its borders and resumed the belligerent rhetoric that preceded its annexation of Crimea two years earlier.
However, Ms. Dzhaparova made it clear that Ukraine is not in a position to ask India how to maintain its economic relations with other countries, an apparent reference to New Delhi’s relations with Moscow in the field of energy. India has been buying cheap Russian oil – despite Western sanctions on Russia – stating that Indians’ need for affordable oil comes first above all else, and India will go wherever it gets a good deal.
She said Ukraine would welcome National Security Adviser Ajit Doval if he visited their country. “We are expecting Ajit Doval to visit. Russia has more time for visits. We are facing a war. Sometimes you may want to do something but you cannot… My visit is a sign of friendship, for a better relationship with India, but it requires reciprocity” .
There is speculation that one of the goals of her visit is to explore the possibility of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky speaking at the G20.
The Ukrainian minister described India as “Vishwaguru“.” The message of any spiritual education is justice. But sometimes there are countries that choose war. India should play a bigger role… We signed Minsk because we were weak at that time. But after February 24, this reasoning will not be acceptable to us,” she said, referring to the day of the Russian invasion in 2022, and the previous agreement with Russia after the 2014 invasion of Crimea that contained some unfavorable clauses for Ukraine.