India should host talks to end the Russia-Ukraine war. Only it as a large powerful nation has the clout of an honest broker to bring both sides together. India has taken a neutral position on the conflict. While critical of President Putin of Russia telling him now is not the time for war, Modi has not distanced India from Russia, a traditional ally of India ever since former British colony became independent in August 1947. Russia has stood by the side of India during every conflict, supplying it with arms and munitions. During the war, India supplied Ukraine with much needed food and clothing gratis.
The whole world has been reeling economically, suffering (from high goods and transportation costs) as a result of the Russia-Ukraine war. Now that a year has passed since the conflict began, every effort must be made to end it. Because of the conflict there has been shortages of almost every item (grains, energy, fertilizer, etc.) followed by high demand resulting in exorbitant prices at the market. In addition, tens of thousands of lives were lost and hundreds of thousands injured with millions displaced. Regardless of who wins or loses, precious lives are lost. Soldiers and military personnel are also people with families. There are also killed or injured. Their families are affected. Military and civilians lives were/are cut short as a result of the conflict and families affected.
There are no signs of Ukraine or Russia relenting. Russia has mobilized half a million troops for an offensive. Ukraine is digging in with the West sending it armaments. U.S. President Joe Biden pledged America’s lasting support for Ukraine. Other nations echoed similar message. Putin responded that Russia is ready for a long war.
Talks to end the war have broken down. Turkey was hosting talks last year. The earthquake that devastated a region of the country has attracted the attention of the country. Peace talks is not one of its priorities right now for Turkey.
The consequences of continued war between Ukraine and Russia would lead to additional devastating consequences on top of those that the world is forced to bear. There is also a risk of a Russia-NATO direct conflict, the results of which would be unimaginable. Talks are the only way out to begin the process of putting an end to the war.
It is imperative that talks resume to end the conflict. Russia does not trust the west to host talks, The eastern powers, like India or Indonesia or Singapore should take an initiative to bring the two parties together for talks on ending the conflict. An end to the war not only benefits two warring countries but also is for the benefit of the whole world.
(*Dr Vishnu Bisram has a doctorate on International Affairs and Diplomacy and is a specialist on India Affairs).