NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed several ongoing global disputes during his discussions with Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer on Wednesday, including the Ukraine conflict and the situation in West Asia.
“I have said it earlier also that this is not the time for war,” reiterated PM Modi in Austria. He made similar remarks in the presence of Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow on Tuesday.
“We won’t be able to find solutions to problems in the warfield. Wherever it is, the killing of innocent people is unacceptable. India and Austria emphasize dialogue and diplomacy, and for that, we are together ready to give any support required,” PM Modi said.
The leaders also united in their stance against terrorism. “We both strongly condemn terrorism. We agree that it is not acceptable in any form,” PM Modi said during the joint press statement with the Austrian Chancellor.
‘Visit historic and special
PM Modi described his visit to Austria as “historic and special,” marking a significant moment at the start of his third term.
This visit is the first by an Indian Prime Minister to Austria in 41 years.
“I am glad to have had the opportunity to visit Austria at the beginning of my third term,” said PM Modi.
In a joint statement with Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer, the leaders also highlighted the long-standing relationship between India and Austria, which dates back to the 1950s.
Emphasizing the strong foundations of India-Austria relations, PM Modi highlighted the shared belief in values such as democracy and the rule of law. “Shared belief in values such as democracy and rule of law are strong foundations of India-Austria relations,” he said.
Nehammer lauds India
Chancellor Nehammer acknowledged India’s pivotal role in supporting Austria, leading to the successful negotiation of the Austrian State Treaty in 1955. He emphasized, “There is a very good relationship between India and Austria. It’s a relationship of trust which began in the 1950s… India helped Austria, and in 1955, the negotiations came to a positive conclusion with the Austrian State Treaty.”
During their discussions, both leaders expressed concern over the current geopolitical climate. Chancellor Nehammer said, “Last night and this morning, we had very intensive talks about the Russian war of 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 familiarize India with European concerns and worries.”
The leaders also touched upon the ongoing conflict in the Middle East, recognizing the complex and challenging geopolitical landscape. Chancellor Nehammer noted, “Moreover, the conflict in the Middle East was a major topic and in addition to this challenging geopolitical situation, we also referred to the positive aspects of our cooperation.”
Austrian Chancellor on PM Modi’s Russia visit
Nehammer also underscored the significance of PM Modi’s visit to Austria, particularly following his recent discussions with the Russian President.
“Before his visit to Austria, PM Modi paid a visit to the Russian President. Therefore, it was particularly important for me to hear about the Prime Minister’s personal assessment regarding the intentions of Russia in respect of the peace progress,” Chancellor Nehammer said. He emphasized the shared objective between Austria and India to achieve a comprehensive, just, and permanent peace in line with the UN Charter.
Chancellor Nehammer elaborated on Austria’s commitment to supporting Ukraine amidst ongoing conflicts. “My cabinet has been in constant contact with the EU. Yesterday, I talked to Charles Michel on the telephone about potential perspectives and issues in this context. What is particularly important is the support of the EU for a free and prospering Ukraine. Austria is making a substantial contribution. We are supporting the policy of the EU on the one hand, but on the other hand we have also delivered 250 million Euros in bilateral aid.”
Reflecting on India’s role in global peace efforts, Nehammer highlighted India’s participation in the Swiss Peace Summit. “For me, it was an important signal that India, as a founding member of the BRICS, participated in the Swiss Peace Summit. Today, we have been talking about an even stronger commitment and about the possibilities of reviving the peace process.”
Chancellor Nehammer acknowledged India’s unique position in the global south and its significant influence on international matters. “PM Modi and I discussed the unique position of India in the so-called global south. India is an important, influential, and credit-worthy country. India is the biggest democracy in the world. Therefore, India’s role, especially for Austria, is more than important when it comes to the peace process and future peace summits.”
Highlighting Austria’s neutral stance, Nehammer expressed Austria’s readiness to facilitate dialogue. “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 EU but not a member of NATO.”