It isn’t time for war, innocent people dying: PM Narendra Modi in Austria

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NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday reaffirmed that “this is not the time for war” as he held “fruitful” talks with Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer, the two leaders discussing in detail the ongoing global disputes, including Ukraine and West Asia conflicts.

Modi, who arrived in Vienna from Moscow on Tuesday night on a two-day visit, said the loss of innocent lives was unacceptable. “Chancellor Nehammer and I have discussed in detail the ongoing conflicts around the world, whether it is the conflict in Ukraine or the situation in West Asia. I have said before that this is not a time for war. Problems cannot be solved on the battlefield. The loss of innocent lives, anywhere, is unacceptable,” Modi said in a joint statement along with Nehammer.

The Chancellor said they had “very intensive talks about the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine”. “It is particularly important to get to know India’s assessment and to understand it and familiarise India with the European concerns and worries,” he said.

India and Austria emphasised on dialogue and diplomacy for the earliest possible restoration of peace and stability. “We are both ready to provide every possible cooperation to achieve this,” Modi said, recalling the historic Vienna Congress was hosted in the hall where they stood today, and that the conference provided direction for peace and stability in Europe.

The two sides also announced an upgrade in ties to include infrastructure, renewable energy and artificial intelligence. After the meeting, PM Modi said “a blueprint for cooperation over the coming decades had been prepared”. “This is not limited to economic cooperation and investment alone. But will combine infrastructure development, innovation, renewable energy, hydrogen, water and waste management, artificial intelligence and quantum technology,” he said. An agreement on mobility and migration partnership was also finalised to facilitate legal migration.

Modi’s visit to Austria was the first for an Indian PM in 41 years. Austria is part of the European Union, but maintains its neutrality in terms of the US-led NATO. “We have decided to provide strategic direction to our relationship,” the PM said.

In the evening, Modi and Nehammer jointly addressed a group of leading Austrian and Indian CEOs from diverse sectors, including infrastructure, automobile, energy, engineering and start-ups. The PM called on the Austrian industrialists to explore the opportunities for high-quality and cost-effective manufacturing under the “Make in India” programme. India’s economic strengths and skills and Austrian technology were natural partners for business, growth and sustainability, he said.