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India's Modi discusses the Ukraine war with Austria

Updated July 10 2024 - 9:05pm, first published 8:59pm
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was welcomed by Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer in Vienna. (AP PHOTO)
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was welcomed by Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer in Vienna. (AP PHOTO)

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has discussed the war in Ukraine with Austria, an ally of Kyiv that has a policy of military neutrality, emphasising the need for diplomacy a day after he met Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow.

Modi met Chancellor Karl Nehammer on what he said was the first visit to Austria by an Indian prime minister in 41 years.

Nehammer told reporters on Wednesday it was important to understand India's position on Ukraine and convey Europe's concerns.

He said it was an "important and significant signal" that India took part in a summit in Switzerland in June and added Austria could act as a "bridge-builder" in helping move forward peace efforts.

Modi's visit to Moscow, a longtime partner of New Delhi, was his first since the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine.

While in Moscow, the prime minister reiterated India's neutral stance on the invasion.

He also alluded to an attack on Monday when Russian missiles struck across Ukraine, damaging the largest children's hospital in Kyiv and killing at least 42 people nationwide, including some children.

"Be it war, a struggle or a terrorist attack, every person who believes in humanity, when there is loss of life, he is pained," Modi said Tuesday.

"When innocent children are killed, when we see innocent children dying, then the heart pains. And that pain is very horrible."

In his comments on Wednesday, Modi said in general terms that he and Nehammer had "extensive discussions" on all the world's conflicts, including Ukraine.

He said "problems cannot be solved in the battlefield" and "the loss of innocent lives is not acceptable, wherever it may take place".

"India and Austria both lay emphasis on dialogue and diplomacy for the rapid restoration of peace and stability," he said.

"Both of us are ready to provide all possible support to achieve this."

The two men took no questions from journalists.

Australian Associated Press