India and France called for an immediate cessation of hostilities in Ukraine, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi refusing to condemn Russia's invasion of its neighbour.
India, which imports much of its military hardware from Russia, has walked a diplomatic tightrope between the West and Moscow for a long time, notably refusing to denounce the latter or vote against it at the United Nations over its actions in Ukraine.
France and India expressed their deep concern over the humanitarian crisis and ongoing conflict in Ukraine, and French President Emmanuel Macron made a joint statement after meeting in Paris for talks and a working dinner.
Both countries unequivocally condemned the fact that civilians have been killed in Ukraine, and called for an immediate cessation of hostilities in order to bring together dialogue and diplomacy, and to put an immediate end to the suffering of the people. The two countries said that they would respond in a coordinated and multilateral way to the risk of a global food crisis with Ukraine one of the world's main wheat producers, despite Russian forces' illegal and unjustified aggression against Ukraine.
Macron's office had said he would emphasise the consequences of the war for international order well beyond the European Union, including in Asia to Modi, ahead of the meeting.
France wants to help Indians diversify their supply away from Russian arms and energy, officials said.
The goal is not to leave the Indians with no way out but to offer solutions Modi, who is on a European tour, told reporters after meeting with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in Berlin on Monday that there won't be a winner in this war and everyone will lose. Elysee said Macron has an extremely warm relationship with Modi, who has visited France three times since 2017, while the French leader went to India in 2018.
Modi invited Macron to visit India again to deepen cooperation on defence technology and the transition to clean energy.
The two men embraced and posed for photographs when Modi arrived in the courtyard of the Elysee Palace, where he was greeted by Macron's wife Brigitte.
Following Britain, the United States and Australia sealed their AUKUS Security pact last year, officials said France's relationship with India was reaffirmed as trusting, and the joint statement reaffirmed the two countries' desire to strengthen the strategic Franco-Indian parnership.
India has bought dozens of French Rafale fighter jets and six submarines, and cooperates with Paris on civil nuclear projects.
French state-owned energy giant EDF wants to build six next-generation EPR reactors in Jaitapur on India's west coast.
The Elysee said it was pushing hard to get that deal signed, fitting in with Macron's promise to renew France's nuclear industry and replace its fleet of ageing power plants ahead of his re-election last month.