Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni on Thursday said she hoped India would use its G20 presidency to broker an end to the Ukraine war, and also unveiled a new strategic partnership with New Delhi.
Meloni’s visit to the Indian capital comes as the city hosts the world’s top diplomats for the Group of 20 foreign ministers’ meeting, with Russia’s invasion of its western neighbor at the top of the agenda.
The government of her Indian counterpart Narendra Modi is walking a delicate balancing act between its increased security cooperation with Western countries and its reliance on Russia for defense and oil imports.
“Prime Minister Modi knows very well Italy’s position, which is giving full support to the territorial integrity of Ukraine,” Meloni told reporters.
“We both hope that India having the presidency of the G20 may play a central role in facilitating a negotiated process for the cessation of hostilities for a just peace.”
Longstanding security ties with Russia have put host India in an awkward diplomatic position, after it refused to condemn the Ukraine invasion over the past year.
While India has stopped short of condemnation, Modi told Putin last year this was “not a time for war” in comments seen as a rebuke to Moscow.
“Right from the start of the Ukraine war, India has made it clear that only dialogue and diplomacy can solve this conflict,” Modi said at Thursday’s press conference. “India is ready to contribute fully to any peace process.”
At their meeting, the Italian and Indian leaders committed to a new strategic partnership which would include greater defense cooperation and the start of joint military exercises.
Modi said India welcomed Italy’s commitment to “active participation” in the Indo-Pacific region and said both countries were exploring cooperation on renewable energy and other areas.