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Friday, May 20, 2022

Australia and India: Ukraine cannot be in the Indo-Pacific | India News – Times of India

NEW DELHI: While Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison called for Russia to be held accountable for its offensive against Ukraine in a virtual summit with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Australia also expressed understanding for India’s position on Ukraine, Foreign Minister Harsh Shringla said after meetings on Monday.
However, while Modi and Morrison expressed serious concerns about the conflict and the humanitarian situation in Ukraine, they agreed that the conflict in Europe should not divert the attention of the Quartet countries from the Indo-Pacific region, while the Australian Prime Minister stressed the need to secure what happens in Ukraine never happens in the Indo-Pacific.
Modi briefed his counterpart on the situation in LAC and reiterated that normalization of relations with China is not possible until peace and tranquility are restored on the border. Morrison also spoke out against China’s actions in the South China Sea. Shringla said that an important outcome of the summit was the institutionalization of the annual bilateral summit mechanism. India has so far held annual summits only with Russia and Japan.
Although the two countries have signed several agreements, including an agreement to jointly invest in Australian projects to develop key minerals, an area in which Australia seeks to compete with China, a joint statement from both sides was expected until late Monday evening. Australia is looking to increase its investment in India by Rs 1,500 crore thanks to new agreements.
Although Modi did not mention Ukraine in his opening remarks, Morrison did mention Russia’s “illegal invasion”, saying the tragic loss of life was at the core of the importance of holding Russia accountable. “But collaboration among like-minded liberal democracies is the key to an open, inclusive, resilient and prosperous Indo-Pacific, and I applaud your leadership at Quad in helping us focus on these important issues,” he said.
While Japan publicly stated after Saturday’s summit with India that Prime Minister Fumio Kishida had asked Modi to discuss with Russian President Vladimir Putin the need to maintain a “free and open international order”, the Australians made no such statement after the summit.
Shringla said that Morrison expressed understanding for India’s position, “which he thinks definitely reflects our own situation, our own considerations.” The two leaders also called for a cessation of hostilities and equally emphasized that “the international order rests on the UN Charter, on the rule of law and respect for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of states.”

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