Vienna, Jan 1: Voicing "very deep" concern over the ongoing Ukraine conflict, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said on Sunday that India is on the side of peace and since beginning New Delhi's effort has been to return to dialogue and diplomacy as differences cannot be settled through violence.

Jaishankar, who arrived here from Cyprus on the second leg of his two-nation tour, made the remarks while addressing the members of the Indian diaspora. EAM S Jaishankar Slams Biden Administration for Pakistan's F-16 Deal, Says 'No One is Fooled'.

"This (Ukraine) conflict is really a matter of very, very deep concern… Prime Minister Narendra Modi declared in September (that) we actually genuinely believe that this is no longer an era of war. You cannot settle differences and issues through violence,” Jaishankar said.

"So from the very beginning, our effort has been to urge (Russia and Ukraine to) return to dialogue and diplomacy…The Prime Minister himself has spoken on numerous occasions with President (Vladimir) Putin and President (Volodymyr) Zelensky. I myself talked to my colleagues in Russia and Ukraine,” he said.

“We know this is not (an) easily resolvable situation. But it's important that countries who believe (in)...negotiation, speak up clearly in that regard…," he said, adding that "we're on the side of peace and a large part of the world thinks like us.”

India has repeatedly called on Russia and Ukraine to return to the path of diplomacy and dialogue and end their ongoing conflict.

Prime Minister Modi has spoken to the presidents of Russia and Ukraine on multiple occasions and urged for immediate cessation of hostilities and return to the path of diplomacy and dialogue for the resolution of the conflict.

In his bilateral meeting with Russian President Putin in Uzbekistan on September 16, Modi said "today's era is not of war" and nudged him to end the conflict.

India has not yet criticised the Russian attack on Ukraine and has been maintaining that the crisis should be resolved through dialogue.

Jaishankar also said that India and Austria would sign some agreements on Monday and some of them are of interest to Indian diaspora - one on migration and mobility for Indians who want to come here as students/professionals and another on 'Working Holiday' programme which will enable Indian students in Austria to work for six months. US-Pak Relationship Has Not Served Either of Two: Jaishankar.

Earlier in the day, Jaishankar held talks with top Austrian leadership in the first diplomatic engagement in 2023 and conveyed the personal greetings of Prime Minister Modi to Chancellor Karl Nehammer.

This is the first EAM-level visit from India to Austria in the last 27 years, and it takes place against the backdrop of 75 years of diplomatic relations between the two countries in 2023.

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