India's leader Narendra Modi "appealed for an immediate cessation of violence" in a call with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday, according to a statement issued by the Indian Prime Minister's office.
Modi “appealed for an immediate cessation of violence, and called for concerted efforts from all sides to return to the path of diplomatic negotiations and dialogue,” the statement said.
Putin briefed Modi about the recent developments in Ukraine, with Modi “reiterating his long-standing conviction that the differences between Russia and the NATO group can only be resolved through honest and sincere dialogue,” the statement added.
Modi also expressed concern over the safety of Indian citizens in Ukraine, especially students, adding “India attaches the highest priority to their safe exit and return.”
At least 20,000 Indian nationals including students live in Ukraine, according to India's ambassador to the UN.
Russia-India ties: Moscow and New Delhi have a military and technical cooperation pact until 2031, and a pledge to boost annual trade to $30 billion by 2025.
They reinforced their ties in December, when Putin traveled to India and the two leaders signed a flurry of trade and arms deals, including 28 investment pacts.