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PM calls for one voice against attempts to change status quo

The prime minister also referred to his talks with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Saturday and reiterated that India will do whatever is possible to resolve the conflict.

PM calls for one voice against attempts to change status quo
PM Modi with UK premier Rishi Sunak at G7 summit on Sunday

HIROSHIMA: Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Sunday that he views the current situation in Ukraine as an issue of humanity and human values and not of politics or economy even as he called for respecting international law, sovereignty and territorial integrity of all nations.

In an address at a G7 session in Hiroshima, Modi also strongly pitched for raising voice collectively against unilateral attempts to change the status quo, asserting that any tension and dispute should be resolved peacefully through dialogue.

The prime minister also referred to his talks with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Saturday and reiterated that India will do whatever is possible to resolve the conflict.

Modi’s comments came after Zelenskyy addressed the G7 leaders seeking global support for Ukraine’s efforts to defend itself against Russian aggression. The war in Ukraine has been the overwhelming focus of the summit.

The prime minister also invoked Buddha and said there is no such problem in the modern age whose solution cannot be found in his teachings. He quoted Buddha to say that enmity is pacified by affinity and that “we should move forward together with everyone in this spirit.”

“Today we heard from President Zelensky. I also met him yesterday. I do not consider the current situation as an issue of politics or economy. I believe it is an issue of humanity, an issue of human values,” the PM said.

“We have said from the beginning, that dialogue and diplomacy is the only way. And to solve this situation, we will try as much as possible, whatever can be done from India,” he said.

Modi said all countries must respect the UN Charter, international law and the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all nations and called for raising voice together against unilateral attempts to change the status quo.

The prime minister’s comments came against the backdrop of the lingering border row with China in eastern Ladakh and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“It is necessary that all countries respect the UN Charter, international law and sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries. India’s always been of the opinion that any dispute should be resolved peacefully, through dialogue,” he said.

Sans reforms, UN will remain talk shop: Modi

The United Nations and the Security Council will remain just a “talk shop” if they do not reflect the realities of the present world, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Sunday, strongly pitching for reform of the global body.

In an address at a G7 session in Hiroshima, Modi wondered why different forums have had to deliberate on issues relating to peace and stability when the UN was formed to deal with these challenges.

“It is a matter of analysis, why do we have to talk about peace and stability in different forums? Why is the UN, which was started with the idea of establishing peace, not successful in preventing conflicts today? Modi asked.

“Why, even the definition of terrorism has not been accepted in the UN? If one introspects, one thing is clear. The institutions created in the last century are not in line with the system of the twenty-first century,” he said.

The prime minister said the UN now does not reflect the current realities of the world. “They do not reflect the realities of the present. That is why it is necessary that reforms should be implemented in big institutions like the UN,” Modi said. “They will also have to become the voice of the Global South. Otherwise, we will only keep talking about ending the conflicts. The UN and the Security Council will remain just a talk shop,” he said.

New Delhi has been strongly pressing for reform of the UN.

India has been eyeing a permanent seat at the UN Security Council. At present, the UNSC comprises five permanent members and 10 non-permanent member countries which are elected for a two-year term by the General Assembly of the UN. The five permanent members are Russia, the UK, China, France and the United States.

There has been growing demand to increase the number of permanent members to reflect the contemporary global reality. India, Brazil, South Africa, Germany and Japan are strong contenders for permanent membership of the UNSC which has primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security.

PM, Sunak agree to work towards ‘ambitious’ FTA during talks in Japan

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his British counterpart Rishi Sunak on Sunday reviewed the progress of the ongoing free trade agreement (FTA) negotiations and agreed for their trade teams to continue at pace towards an “ambitious” deal, Downing Street said.

Modi and Sunak met on the sidelines of the summit of the G7 advanced economies here in Hiroshima.

In their second in-person meeting since the G20 Summit in Indonesia last November, the two leaders are said to have discussed the deep ties shared between the nations.

In relation to India’s G20 presidency, Downing Street also indicated that the British Indian leader’s first visit to India is expected to be for the G20 Summit in New Delhi later this year.

“The leaders reflected on the deep ties between the UK and India, rooted in our human connections, and the vital importance of democracy and fair and open trade,” said a Downing Street spokesperson. “They discussed progress on a UK-India Free Trade Agreement. The leaders agreed that their teams would continue to work at pace to finalise an ambitious and mutually beneficial deal,” the spokesperson said.

“The leaders discussed the wider objectives of the G7 Summit and the Prime Minister [Sunak] committed his strong support for India’s G20 Presidency, which comes at a crucial time for global security and prosperity. He looked forward to working closely with Prime Minister Modi ahead of a successful Summit later this year,” the spokesperson added.

Modi is also said to have passed on his “warm congratulations” to Sunak on the Coronation of King Charles III earlier this month, where India was represented by Vice-President Jagdeep Dhankhar.

Modi, Brazilian Prez Lula discuss ways to further deepen bilateral ties

PM Narendra Modi on Sunday held productive and wide-ranging talks with Brazilian President Inacio Lula da Silva during which they discussed ways to further deepen the bilateral strategic partnership, especially in sectors of defence production, trade and renewable energy.

Modi and Lula met on the sidelines of the summit of the G7 advanced economies here in Hiroshima, the first meeting between them since the Brazilian leader was reelected as the president for a third term.

The two leaders noted that this year marked the 75th anniversary year of the establishment of diplomatic relations, the Ministry of External Affairs said in a statement. They reviewed their strategic partnership and discussed ways to further deepen it, especially in sectors of defence production, trade, pharmaceuticals, agriculture, dairy & animal husbandry and bio-fuels & clean energy, the statement said. Both leaders emphasised the need to organise a high-level meeting of business leaders from both countries. They also exchanged views on regional developments, the statement said.

Bakhmut: Ukraine rejects claim of conquest

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said on Sunday that Russian forces weren’t occupying Bakhmut, casting doubt on Moscow’s insistence that the eastern Ukrainian city had fallen.

Responding to a reporter’s question about the status of the city at the Group of Seven summit in Japan, Zelenskyy said, “Bakhmut is not occupied by the Russian Federation as of today.”

“We are not throwing people (away) to die,” Zelenskyy said in Ukrainian through an interpreter. “People are the treasure. I clearly understand what is happening in Bakhmut. I cannot share with you the technical details of what is happening with our warriors.”

Zelenskyy’s response in English to a question earlier at the summit about the status of Bakhmut was interpreted by many as saying the city had fallen to Russian forces.

When asked if the city was in Ukraine’s hands, Zelenskyy said: “I think no, but you have to -- to understand that there is nothing, They’ve destroyed everything. There are no buildings. It’s a pity. It’s tragedy.” “But, for today, Bakhmut is only in our hearts. There is nothing on this place, so -- just ground and -- and a lot of dead Russians,” he said.

Zelenskyy’s press secretary later walked back those previous comments.

Ukrainian defence and military officials said that fierce fighting was ongoing. Deputy Defence Minister Hanna Malyar even went so far as to say that Ukrainian troops “took the city in a semi-encirclement.”

“The enemy failed to surround Bakhmut, and they lost part of the dominant heights around the city,” Malyar said.

“That is, the advance of our troops in the suburbs along the flanks, which is still ongoing, greatly complicates the enemy’s presence in Bakhmut.”

The spokesman for Ukraine’s Eastern Group of Forces, Serhii Cherevaty, said, “The president correctly said that the city has, in fact, been razed to the ground. The enemy is being destroyed every day by massive artillery and aviation strikes, and our units report that the situation is extremely difficult.”

Our military keep fortifications and several premises in the southwestern part of the city. Heavy fighting is underway,” he said.

‘Zelenskyy’s visit at odds with call for peace’

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s last-minute participation on Sunday in the Group of Seven summit has brought intense global attention to Russia’s invasion of his nation.

But it has also worried atomic bomb survivors who said the high-profile visit overshadowed a rare chance to push world leaders to focus on nuclear abolishment. Zelenskyy’s inclusion at the G7 gathering of the richest democracies — and his pursuit of more weapons and other support for Ukraine, rather than a diplomatic pursuit to end the war — sends the wrong message, activists and victims said.

“Zelenskyy’s visit is not appropriate for Hiroshima, which is a peace-loving city,” said Etsuko Nakatani, an activist whose parents survived the Hiroshima atomic bombing in 1945.

Many Hiroshima residents hope that understanding the city’s tragic past will push leaders to “take up the abolition of nuclear weapons as an urgent political issue, not an ideal,” she said.

Yuta Takahashi, an activist, believes that Zelenskyy’s visit only makes us feel that Hiroshima was merely used by nuclear states to send a peace message.

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