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Modi reaffirms ‘this is not time for war’

India and Austria emphasise on dialogue and diplomacy for the earliest possible restoration of peace and stability

Modi reaffirms ‘this is not time for war’

Vienna: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday said he held “fruitful discussions” with Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer during which they discussed in detail the ongoing disputes in the world, including the Ukraine conflict and situation in West Asia, reaffirming that “this is not the time for war”.

Modi, who arrived here from Moscow after meeting Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday night on a two-day visit - the first by an Indian prime minister in over 40 years, was on Wednesday accorded a ceremonial welcome at the Federal Chancery as he began his landmark visit.

“Chancellor Nehammer and I have discussed in detail the ongoing conflicts around the world, whether it is the conflict in Ukraine or the situation in West Asia. I have said before that this is not a time for war. Problems cannot be solved on the battlefield. The loss of innocent lives, anywhere, is unacceptable,” Modi said in a joint press statement along with Chancellor Nehammer after their talks.

He said India and Austria emphasise on dialogue and diplomacy for the earliest possible restoration of peace and stability. “We are both ready to provide every possible cooperation to achieve this,” he said, recalling that the historic Vienna Congress was hosted in the hall where they are standing and that the conference provided direction for peace and stability in Europe.

On his part, Nehammer said India is an influential and credit-worthy country whose role is more than important when it comes to the Russia-Ukraine peace process. “We had very intensive talks about the Russian aggression against Ukraine. For me as the Federal Chancellor of Austria, it is particularly important to get to know India’s assessment and to understand it and to familiarise India with European concerns and worries,” said Nehammer, whose country is an ally of Ukraine. “Moreover, the conflict in the Middle East was a major topic,” he added.

During his talks with Putin on Tuesday, Prime Minister Modi told him that a solution to the Ukraine conflict is not possible on the battlefield and peace efforts do not succeed amid bombs and bullets. Nehammer said as a reliable partner, Austria will be available as a site for dialogue, making use of its unique position as a neutral country, a member of the European Union but not a member of NATO.

“As such Austria is willing to act as a bridge builder and to contribute towards the achievement of a peaceful solution,” he said. Modi said he was happy that he got the opportunity to visit Austria at the very beginning of his third term. “This visit of mine is both historic and special. After 41 years, an Indian Prime Minister has visited Austria. It is also a pleasant coincidence that this visit is taking place as our bilateral relations complete 75 years,” Modi said. He said shared belief in values such as democracy and the rule of law forms the strong foundation of our relationship. “Mutual trust and shared interests strengthen our ties,” he added.

“Today, Chancellor Nehammer and I had very fruitful discussions. We have identified new opportunities to further strengthen our cooperation. We have decided to provide strategic direction to our relationship. A blueprint for cooperation over the coming decades has been prepared. This is not limited to economic cooperation and investment alone,” Modi said.

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