Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Joe Biden had a "candid exchange of views" on Russia's war in Ukraine at a virtual summit on Monday, after which the US said "India will make its own judgements" on the crisis but added that if New Delhi saw the "tight links between China and Russia", it will "obviously impact their thinking".
PM Modi, in the meeting, said he had suggested direct talks between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, and added that he found the situation in Ukraine "very worrying".
Speaking of India's contributions to Ukraine in terms of medicines and relief material, PM Modi also reminded the US President of New Delhi's strong condemnation of the Russian aggression against civilians in Ukraine's Bucha and expressed hope that the "ongoing talks between Russia and Ukraine will pave the way for peace".
"Recently, the news of killings of innocent civilians in Bucha city was very worrying. We immediately condemned it and demanded a fair investigation... We have placed importance on the safety of the civilian population in Ukraine and the uninterrupted supply of humanitarian aid to them," said the Prime Minister.
"When I came to Washington in September last year, you said that India-US partnership can contribute to the solution of many global problems. I completely agree with you. As the world's two largest and oldest democracies, we are natural partners," PM Modi added.
At a press briefing, White House, asked whether President Biden "pushed for India to take a side", said India would make its own decisions, but the discussions would continue.
The White House also noted India's "pretty strong statements" condemning the killing of civilians and supporting calls for an independent investigation.
"So, India is going to make its own judgments. You will have seen in recent days that India made some pretty strong statements in New York condemning the killings of civilians, supporting calls for an independent investigation. India is also providing humanitarian relief material to Ukraine, including medicine and other supplies. There were close consultations in early days about the Indian students that were - needed to be evacuated from Ukraine. So we're going to continue these discussions with India. I think India will make its own decisions, but we're going to continue the discussions," said the US.
PM Modi took the opportunity to share his views in a candid way about what's going on, the official said.
"We know that Russia has concerns - we know that India has concerns about the links between Russia and China. India, of course, is facing a very tense situation along the Line of Actual Control. And when India sees the tight links between China and Russia, that's obviously going to impact their thinking," the White House official told the media.
President Biden began the meeting with PM Modi by saluting the "deep connection" between the two countries and said he wanted to continue their "close consultation" over the war.
After the virtual summit, which was followed by an in-person meeting of ministers, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken told reporters that it was important that "all countries, especially those with leverage, press Putin to end the war".
"And it's also important that democracies stand together and speak with one voice to defend the values that we share," Mr Blinken said after the talks, described by one US official as "warm and productive."
Foreign Minister S Jaishankar, asked about Biden's push for India to cut energy imports from Russia, said "probably our total purchases for the month would be less than what Europe does in an afternoon."
The US has been pressuring world leaders to take a hard line against Moscow. The White House said there was no "concrete ask and concrete answer" on energy imports.
India abstained when the UN General Assembly voted last week to suspend Russia from the Human Rights Council over allegations that Russian soldiers in Ukraine engaged in war crimes, especially the civilian killings in Bucha.
On March 21, President Biden had said India was an exception among Washington's allies with its "somewhat shaky" response to the Russian offensive.