Ukraine’s second-in-command at foreign affairs travels to India.

Ukraine's second-in-command at foreign affairs travels to India.

Ukraine’s second-in-command at foreign affairs travels to India. The first Ukrainian cabinet minister since Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February of last year, Emine Dzhaparova, has landed in India for a four-day visit.

Meenakshi Lekhi, the minister of state for external affairs and culture of India, would be among the officials with whom Dzhaparova meets. Vikram Misri, the deputy national security adviser, will meet with her.

What plans have been made?

According to the Indian government, Dzhaparova, a Crimean Tartar Muslim, will meet with delegates from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to discuss the situation in Ukraine and global topics of common concern.

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The Hindu newspaper of India stated that during her travel to India in July for a Shanghai Cooperation Organization conference, Dzhaparova urged the country to convey a “strong message for peace” to Russian President Vladimir Putin. In September, he’ll be back for a G20 meeting.

Dzhaparova will also give a discussion on Tuesday titled “Russia’s War in Ukraine: Why the World Should Care,” according to a tweet from the Indian Council of International Affairs, a think organization in New Delhi.

India would likely embrace the opportunity to address “food security,” “energy security,” and “a whole spectrum of fertilizer shortages,” according to Rajeswari Rajagopalan, director of the Centre for Security, Strategy, and Technology at the Observer Research Foundation in New Delhi.

The Global South has been hit more than any other region by the disruptions to food and fertilizer supply networks caused by the conflict in Ukraine. Russia is the world’s most significant fertilizer exporter, and Russia and Ukraine are major producers of staple foodstuffs like wheat, corn, and sunflower oil.

Rajagopalan says, “India also positions itself as the voice of the Global South.” As such, “it is taking the message for a vast set of countries” that may be experiencing difficulties due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Energy supply systems

The Hindu Daily said, citing diplomatic sources, that Ukraine has asked India to provide more aid in medicine, medical supplies, and energy infrastructure repair tools after the conflict devastated the country’s power grid.

Attacks against thermal and hydropower installations as well as the electrical grid in Ukraine, were initiated by Russia in October. More than 40 percent of Ukraine’s high-voltage grid infrastructure and 60 percent of the country’s power facilities were damaged in the strikes. This resulted in rolling blackouts throughout Ukraine from October to February.

The situation has dramatically improved due to warmer weather and effective repairs. After almost two months of surplus production, Energy Minister Herman Halushchenko recently gave the green light to energy exports.

Ukrenergo, the operator of Ukraine’s energy transmission infrastructure, has warned against complacency, prompting the country’s energy businesses to prepare for attacks next winter by stockpiling supplies.

A spokesperson for DTEK, Ukraine’s largest private energy provider, said, “There are firms in India that build transformers.” Antonina Antonia told this. She estimated a time frame of nine to twelve months.

India’s diplomatic balancing act in the Ukrainian Conflict

India has kept a neutral stance on the competition since Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022. The country wants positive diplomatic relations with the West and Russia.

“India is attempting to maintain a neutral stance,” Rajagopalan stated. The Ukrainian deputy foreign minister is visiting India after the country received Russia’s foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, a few months ago.

Russia and India have had a close connection and strong defense ties for many years. Moscow is India’s primary source of military hardware. New Delhi increased its cheap oil imports from Russia after the Ukrainian conflict broke out. India bought 33 times as much crude oil from Russia in December, importing 1.2 million barrels.

After meeting Russian President Vladimir Putin in September, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi hailed the connection between their countries as “unbreakable.” During a visit to Moscow two months after Modi’s remarks, Indian diplomat Subrahmanyam Jaishankar used similar language, describing the relationship between the two countries as “solid and time-tested.”

India has consistently not participated in UN votes criticizing the conflict in Ukraine. Yet, it has also raised specific concerns about Russia’s conduct in a roundabout way, emphasizing the significance of the UN Charter, international law, and the respect for states’ sovereignty and territorial integrity.

I know today is not an era of conflict, and I have spoken to you on the phone about this,” Modi said to Putin during the September Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit in Uzbekistan.

Since the beginning of the conflict, the Indian government has also tried to establish direct lines of communication with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy of Ukraine.

Modi said there is “no military solution” to the Ukraine conflict in an October phone discussion with Zelenskyy.

Three months later, Zelenskyy claimed to have called India’s prime minister again and asked for assistance in enforcing a “peace formula.”

Can India still rely on Russia as a partner?

Since the end of the Cold War, Russia and India have had productive relations. As a result of its invasion of Ukraine, however, “Russia has become more of a liability than a partner,” as Rajagopalan put it.

She refers to President Xi Jinping’s late-March visit to Moscow as an example of Russia’s recent shift in policy towards China. As fighting started between Indian and Chinese soldiers in the Ladakh region near their land border in 2020, relations between India and China have worsened.

Since the war broke out, trade between Russia and China in Chinese yuan has increased by a mind-boggling 80 times.

Rajagopalan claimed that India was trying to tell Russia that it was “growing tired of its collaboration with the Chinese” and the “current delays of military platforms.”

Due to the conflict in Ukraine, Russia has been unable to fulfill its commitment to transfer armaments to India, the Indian Air Force (IAF) declared in March.

Delays in the delivery of MiG-29 fighter jets and Sukhoi platforms will have a “major impact” on the Indian Air Force, Rajagopalan warned.

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