Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu called up Defence Ministers of India and China Wednesday to convey Moscow’s concern about a purported Ukrainian plan to use a “dirty bomb”, repeating an allegation that Ukraine and the West have already rejected.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, on his part, told Shoigu that the Ukraine conflict should be resolved through dialogue and diplomacy and the nuclear option should not be resorted to by any side.
Shoigu briefed Singh on the evolving situation in Ukraine, including his concerns about possible “provocations through use of ‘dirty bomb’,” the Ministry of Defence said in a statement.
The conversation took place at the initiative of the Russian Defence Minister amid escalation of hostilities between Russia and Ukraine.
“Singh reiterated India’s position on the need to pursue the path of dialogue and diplomacy for an early resolution of the conflict,” the Ministry said.
“He pointed out that the nuclear option should not be resorted to by any side as the prospect of the usage of nuclear or radiological weapons goes against the basic tenets of humanity,” it stated.
The Ministry said the two ministers also discussed bilateral defence cooperation as well as the deteriorating situation in Ukraine.
The conversation Wednesday follows Shoigu’s calls to British, French, Turkish and US counterparts Sunday in which he made the same claim. Britain, France and the US rejected that claim as “transparently false”.
On October 10, within hours of Russia firing cruise missiles at Ukrainian cities including civilian facilities in Kyiv that killed at least 11 people, India had said it was “deeply concerned” over the escalation of the conflict, including targeting of infrastructure and death of civilians.
This was one of the sharpest statements by New Delhi after Prime Minister Narendra Modi told Russian President Vladimir Putin that “today’s era is not an era of war” on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit in Samarkand, Uzbekistan. India has not yet publicly condemned the Russian invasion of Ukraine.