President Biden, first of all, I would like to express my gratitude for your warm words. Today, our Defence and Foreign Ministers are going to meet in "2+2" format in some time. Before that, this meeting of ours is important to give direction to their conversation. And you have taken the initiative of this virtual meeting, I also congratulate you for that.
When I visited Washington in September last year, and about which you just mentioned, you said that the India-US partnership can contribute in solving many global problems. I totally agree with you. As the world's two largest and oldest democracies, we are natural partners. And the progress that has been made in our relations over the last few years, the new momentum that has been created, perhaps it was something difficult to imagine, even a decade ago from today.
Our today's talks are taking place at a time when the situation in Ukraine remains very worrisome. Till a few weeks back, more than 20,000 Indians were stranded in Ukraine. And most of them were young students. After putting in lot of efforts, we managed to get them out of there safely, although one student lost his life. Throughout this development, I spoke to the Presidents of both Ukraine and Russia over the phone several times. I not only appealed for peace, but also suggested President Putin to have direct talks with the President of Ukraine. The subject of Ukraine has also been discussed in great detail in our Parliament.
The news of the recent killings of innocent civilians in Bucha city was very worrying. We condemned it immediately and have also demanded a fair probe. We hope that the ongoing dialogue between Russia and Ukraine will pave the way for peace.
We have also laid emphasis on the security of the civilians in Ukraine and the uninterrupted supply of humanitarian aid to them, which you mentioned at the outset. We have sent medicines and other relief materials to Ukraine and its neighbouring countries. And on the demand of Ukraine, soon we are sending another consignment of medicines.
You gave a very important slogan at the very beginning of your term – Democracies can Deliver. The success of the partnership between India and the US is the best way to realize this slogan.
This year, India is celebrating the 75th anniversary of its independence. And we are also celebrating the 75th anniversary of our diplomatic ties. I am confident that friendship with the United States will remain an integral part of India's development journey over the next 25 years.
Once again thank you very much for today's meeting.
DISCLAIMER: This is the approximate translation of Prime Minister’s remarks. Original remarks were delivered in Hindi.