Expressing "serious concern" over the Russia-Ukraine conflict, India and France have called for an immediate cessation of hostilities to bring parties together to promote dialogue and diplomacy for finding an immediate end to the suffering of the people.
The two countries called for promoting dialogue and diplomacy in a joint statement issued after talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris on Wednesday.
The two leaders discussed at length bilateral as well as global issues and agreed on an ambitious agenda for the next phase of the India-France Strategic Partnership.
According to the joint statement, France reiterated its "strong condemnation" of the "unlawful and unprovoked aggression against Ukraine by Russian Forces".
India and France expressed "serious concern" at the ongoing conflict and humanitarian crisis in Ukraine, it said.
"They unequivocally condemned civilian deaths in Ukraine and called for an immediate cessation of hostilities to bring parties together to promote dialogue and diplomacy to find an immediate end to the suffering of the people," the statement said.
Both countries also underlined the need to respect the UN Charter, international law and the sovereignty and territorial integrity of states, it said.
Modi and Macron discussed the regional and global implications of the conflict in Ukraine and agreed to intensify coordination on the issue.
India and France also expressed deep concern about the current aggravation of global food security and nutrition, already impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic, and especially in developing countries.
The statement said the two countries are committed to enabling a coordinated, multilateral response to address the risk of aggravated food crisis because of the conflict in Ukraine, including through initiatives such as the Food and Agriculture Resilience Mission, which aims at ensuring well-functioning markets, solidarity and long-term resilience.
At a media briefing on Prime Minister Modi's visit to France, Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra said that on Ukraine, there was a broad understanding of each other's position.
"The two leaders agreed that close coordination and engagement was important. So that both India and France can play a constructive role in the evolving situation," he said.
Asked whether there were any discussions on how India and France could use their friendship or their influence to bring this Russia and Ukraine war to some kind of a conclusion, Kwatra said the developments in Ukraine did come up for discussion between the two leaders and they exchanged their perspectives on the developments there.
"Prime Minister Modi gave a very elaborate understanding of the space from where Indian position originated...which calls for the immediate cessation of hostilities and the resolution to the ongoing situation through diplomacy and dialogue," he said.
The two leaders also spoke very extensively, exchanged views very extensively on the cascading effect of the situation in Ukraine, in terms of global food shortages, shortages of commodities, such as fertiliser and how the two countries can partner together in order to address some of these challenges which are very real and felt on the ground, Kwatra said.
"There is a very clear understanding of each other's position and they did agree to stay in touch and coordinate very closely. So that as the situation evolves, they can both individually or together play a constructive role in this situation, so that all these challenges, which I talked about, can be resolved," he said.
Prime Minister Modi left for home early on Thursday after concluding his three-nation European tour during which he held a series of bilateral meetings to boost ties in a range of areas including trade, energy and green technology.
Modi, who was in Paris for the final leg of his three-nation European tour, discussed with Macron issues of bilateral and mutual interests as well as regional and global developments. Macron held a tete-a-tete with Modi before the delegation-level talks at the Elysee Palace - the official residence of the French President.
Modi's visit to Europe came amid the Ukraine crisis, which has united much of the continent against Russia.
The Ukraine issue also figured prominently at the second India-Nordic summit attended by Prime Minister Modi and his counterparts from Finland, Iceland, Sweden, Norway and Denmark in Copenhagen on Wednesday.
Earlier in Berlin, Modi had said that India believes no country will emerge victorious in the Russia-Ukraine war as all will suffer losses and there will be a "more serious" impact on developing and poor countries.