Denmark tells India's Modi to pressure Russia to stop Ukraine war

Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen puts Indian counterpart on the spot over conflict

Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen, left, and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the prime minister's official residence near Copenhagen, Denmark. AP

Denmark's Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen has urged her visiting Indian counterpart, Narendra Modi, to use his country's relationship with Russia's President Vladimir Putin to attempt to end the war in Ukraine.

“Putin has to stop this war,” Ms Frederiksen said. “I hope that India will influence Russia.”

Mr Modi is on the second leg of a European tour that saw him visit Germany on Monday. He said the talks in Denmark centred on an India-EU free trade agreement, Indo-Pacific region matters, as well as Ukraine.

India’s neutral stance in the war has raised concerns in the West and earned praise from Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, who lauded India for judging “the situation in its entirety, not just in a one-sided way.”

Frederiksen later said that the West should offer India an alternative to Russia.

“In fact, it is quite obvious that we in the West have a completely unequivocal interest in getting India as close to us as at all possible,” Ms Frederiksen said. ″[We need] to strengthen our co-operation with other democracies and it does not matter where those democracies are located.

"We need to strengthen our cooperation, especially because there are obviously some very big players who do not recognise democracy at home or globally.”

Mr Modi said the cessation of the conflict was in every nation's interest. "We appeal for an immediate cease-fire in Ukraine and for the adoption of dialog and diplomacy to resolve the problem," he said.

He also said bilateral ties with Denmark were built on common interests. "Both our countries not only share values such as democracy, freedom of expression and the rule of law, but we both have several complementary strengths, as well, friends," he said. "During the India-Denmark Virtual Summit in October 2020, we gave our relations the status of a Green Strategic Partnership."

At the start of Mr Modi's two-day visit to the Scandinavian country, Denmark and India signed several bilateral agreements focused on green energy and clean water.

Later on Tuesday, Mr Modi was due to attend a banquet in his honour with Queen Margrethe, Denmark’s figurehead monarch, at the downtown Amalienborg Palace. On Wednesday, Modi will attend an Indo-Nordic Summit in Copenhagen and also hold separate bilateral talks with the leaders of Sweden, Norway, Iceland and Finland.

It was the first visit by an Indian leader to Denmark in 20 years.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi; chief executive of the Confederation of Danish Industry, Lars Sandahl Sorensen; Denmark's Crown Prince Frederik; and Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen pose before a visit to a Danish Industry domicile, in Copenhagen, on May 3, 2022. Reuters

Modi came to Denmark from Berlin, where Germany and India on Monday signed a series of bilateral agreements focused on sustainable development that will see the South Asian nation receive 10 billion euros ($10.5 billion) in aid by 2030 to boost the use of clean energy.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz invited Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to a Group of Seven leaders’ summit next month as a special guest, part of an effort to forge a broader international alliance against Russia.

Germany — which currently holds the rotating G-7 presidency — will also welcome the leaders of Indonesia, South Africa and Senegal to the gathering in the Bavarian Alps June 26 to June 28.

Updated: May 03, 2022, 4:42 PM