Narendra Modi has hit out at Vladimir Putin with a call to end the war in Ukraine and stop weaponising food supplies, as India takes over the G20 presidency for the year.
Writing for The Telegraph, the Indian prime minister warned that geopolitical struggles could “lead to humanitarian crises”.
In a thinly veiled swipe at the Russian president, he said: “Our era need not be one of war. Indeed, it must not be one!”
The comments echoed Mr Modi’s previous criticism of Mr Putin. On the sidelines of a summit in Uzbekistan in September, he told the Russian leader that now was “not a time for war”.
India has abstained from condemning Moscow’s actions in Ukraine at the United Nations as the government balances its ties with Russia and the West.
But the country has shifted its stance slightly as the war intensifies and energy and food shortages pose greater global threats.
In an op-ed on Thursday, Mr Modi said the world’s greatest challenges “can be solved not by fighting each other, but only by acting together”.
Mr Modi did not reference Mr Putin directly, but said the world remained “trapped in the same zero-sum mindset”.
The Indian prime minister said he would use the G20 presidency to seek to “depoliticise the global supply of food, fertilisers and medical products” to avert humanitarian catastrophes.
In what appeared to be an attack on the West, Mr Modi also hit out at the hoarding of vaccines “even as billions remain vulnerable”.
The south Asian country led demands for an intellectual property rights waiver for Covid-19 vaccines during the pandemic and accused European nations of preventing poor countries from accessing the jabs.
However, Mr Modi struck a note of optimism as he highlighted the theme of India’s G20 presidency – “One Earth, One Family, One Future”.
He noted India’s wealth of spiritual traditions, in particular, the view that harmony “within us and between us” is “essential for our physical, social and environmental well-being”.
Mr Modi stressed that India was “the fastest growing large economy” after overtaking the UK as the fifth largest economy in September.
“During our G20 Presidency, we shall present India’s experiences, learnings and models as possible templates for others, particularly the developing world,” he said.
He added: “Let us work together to shape a new paradigm – of human-centric globalisation.”
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