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US President Joe Biden (third left) alongside US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin (left), US Secretary of State Antony Blinken (second left) and India's Minister of Defense Rajnath Singh (fourth left), takes part in a virtual meeting with India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday.

Washington/ TEH: US President Joe Biden and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi discussed, during a virtual meeting on Monday, the Ukraine-Russia crisis, with the two sides differing in their positions.

During the talks, the White House said, in a statement, that the two leaders discussed several matters, most notably the Russian military operation in Ukraine, and its destabilizing consequences, according to a correspondent of The Eastern Herald online magazine.

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They affirmed their commitment to strengthening the relationship between the two countries through cooperation in clean energy, technology and military cooperation, and strengthening economic and people-to-people relations, according to the same statement.

The two sides also expressed their aspiration to meet next month in the Japanese capital, Tokyo.

Ahead of the start of the closed-door meeting between Biden and Modi, the US president welcomed India’s pledge to send humanitarian aid to Ukraine, and said the two sides would “continue close consultations.”

For his part, Modi said he had spoken several times with the Russian and Ukrainian presidents, and suggested direct talks between the two.

The Indian Prime Minister condemned the killing of civilians in areas around the capital, Kyiv, and called for an “independent investigation”, without explicitly mentioning the Russian forces that it was the aggressor.

India’s neutral stance on Russia’s war against Ukraine has raised concerns in Washington, while it won praise from Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who praised India for judging “the whole situation, not just one side.”

India continues to buy Russian energy supplies, despite pressure from Western countries on the world to avoid buying Russian gas and oil, while Washington is considering imposing sanctions on India for its recent purchase of advanced Russian air defense systems.

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On February 24, Russia launched a military operation in Ukraine, which was followed by angry international reactions and the imposition of “tough” economic and financial sanctions on Moscow.

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