The virtual meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Joe Biden began on Monday evening, with Modi calling both the countries natural partners.
Calling the situation in Ukraine "very worrying", the prime minister said that he has held multiple telephonic conversations with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Russian President Vladimir Putin and called for peace. Modi said he also advised Zelenskyy and Putin to talk with each other directly.
"As the world's two largest and oldest democracies, we are natural partners," Modi said on ties with the US, adding, "Our talks today are taking place at a time when the situation in Ukraine remains very worrying."
Modi also said that the killings of innocent civilians in Ukraine's Bucha is "very worrying". He said India instantly condemned the killings and called for an independent probe in the matter.
The prime minister also mentioned the medicines and other relief materials sent by India to Ukraine and its neighbouring countries. On Ukraine's request, India will be very soon sending another consignment of medicines, he added.
Biden said India and US share the same concerns on COVID-19, advancing health security and tackling climate change. Besides, both the countries also have a strong and growing defence partnership, he said.
Welcoming India's humanitarian support for people of Ukraine, Biden said India and US will continue the close consultations on how to manage and stabilise the effects of the "Russian war".
Meanwhile, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said that the two leaders had an extensive exchange of views on several regional and global issues, such as COVID-19 pandemic, global economic recovery, climate action, recent developments in South Asia and the Indo-Pacific region, and the situation in Ukraine.
They also took stock of the significant progress made in bilateral relations in recent years, MEA said in a release.
"Both leaders agreed that further strengthening of the India-US Comprehensive Global Strategic Partnership would be of tremendous benefit to the two countries, and would also contribute to global peace, prosperity and stability," it added.
The Modi-Biden meeting preceded the fourth India-US '2+2' dialogue in Washington which will be led by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on the Indian side. The US delegation will be headed by Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin and Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
The virtual meeting came in the midst of some disquiet in Washington over India's position on the Ukraine crisis as well as its decision to procure discounted Russian oil.
The US President had last spoken to Modi and other Quad leaders during a virtual meeting in March.
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