India and France called for "an immediate cessation of hostilities" in Ukraine on Wednesday, 4 May. This comes amid Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to the country during his three-day Europe tour.
"France and India expressed their deep concern over the humanitarian crisis and the ongoing conflict in Ukraine," a joint statement issued by PM Modi and French President Emmanuel Macron said after their meeting in Paris, as per AFP.
They also added that both countries "unequivocally condemned" the killing of civilians in Ukraine, and called for an immediate cessation of hostilities to promote dialogue and put an "immediate end to the suffering of people."
Earlier, PM Modi had posted a photo from his meeting with President Macron in a late-night tweet on Thursday.
"Delighted, as always, to meet my friend President Emmanuel Macron. We talked at length about bilateral as well as global issues. India and France are proud developmental partners with our partnership spread across different sectors," the prime minister had said in the tweet.
PM Modi Stops Short of Condemning Russia Over Its Invasion
Modi, however, stopped short of condemning Russia over its invasion of Ukraine.
India, which imports a large portion of its military hardware from Russia, has taken a middle path between Moscow and western countries. It has also repeatedly abstained from voting in the United Nations (UN) on resolutions condemning Russia over its invasion.
France, however, unequivocally condemned Russia for its "unjustified aggression against Ukraine", as per AFP.
Ahead of the meeting between the two leaders, Macron's office had said that the president would emphasise the consequences of the war for the international order well beyond the European Union, including in Asia, to PM Modi.
France Aims To Diversify India's Supply Needs Away From Russia
Officials also said that France wanted to present India with solutions to wean the country off trade with Russia. The aim "is not to leave the Indians with no way out, but to offer solutions," they said, adding that France wanted to help India diversify its supply needs away from Russian military hardware and energy supplies.
Officials further said that Macron had an "extremely warm relationship" with the Indian prime minister, who has visited France thrice since 2017. Macron, on the other hand, visited India in 2018.
PM Modi also invited Macron to visit India again to deepen defence cooperation and hold talks on the transition to clean energy.
The two leaders were earlier seen embracing and posing for photographs when PM Modi arrived in Elysee Palace, the official residence of the French president.
The joint statement issued by the two countries also reaffirmed the desire to strengthen the "strategic Franco-Indian partnership, particularly in the Indo-Pacific."
PM Modi Concluded Europe Tour, Leaves for India
With the visit to France marking the end of his three-nation Europe tour, which also included Denmark and Germany, PM Modi left for India on Thursday.
Earlier, in a tweet, the prime minister said that his visit to France was a "fruitful" one.
"My visit to France was brief but a very fruitful one. President Emmanuel Macron and I got the opportunity to discuss various subjects. I thank him and the French Government for the warm hospitality," he said.
Ministry of External Affairs spokesman Arindam Bagchi also put out a tweet in which he said that the prime minister's Europe tour was "immensely productive." He also added a list of achievements from the tour.
"PM Narendra Modi's 3-day, 3-nation tour was immensely productive. Advanced trade & investment ties - Forged new green partnerships - Promoted collaborations for innovation and skill development - Strengthened the spirit of cooperation with our European partners," Bagchi tweeted on Thursday morning.
Apart from holding meetings with his counterparts in France, Denmark, and Germany, PM Modi had also attended the second India-Nordic summit in Copenhagen, where he met the leaders of Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, and Denmark.
(With inputs from AFP.)