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In the wake of reports stating that the United States Consulate General in Mumbai urged the Mumbai Port Authority not to allow Russian vessels to call at the Mumbai port, India on Thursday responded that the request should have been sent through the diplomatic route. With reports stating that the US Consulate General in Mumbai suggested the Mumbai Port Authority not to allow Russian vessels to call at the port, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on Thursday said the relevant embassy has been advised that the appropriate channel for any such diplomatic communication is through the ministry and the mission in New Delhi.

This development comes following media reports stating that the US Consulate General wrote a letter to the Mumbai Port Authority, saying it should not allow Russian vessels to call at the port because of the sanctions imposed by the United States against Russia. The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said, "the matter has come to our attention. The relevant embassy has been advised that the appropriate channel for any such diplomatic communication is through the Ministry of External Affairs and the embassy in New Delhi."

India's MEA spokesperson further noted that, “on the larger issue of economic and trade linkages with Russia, I think our position has been articulated quite clearly on a number of occasions in the past and I have no specific update to share on that."

Over the past few months, India has brushed aside calls from the United States and its Western allies not to accelerate the purchase of discounted oil and other commodities from Russia, according to Hindustan Times report. India refrained from publicly criticising Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and has called for the immediate cessation of hostilities and a return to the path of diplomacy and dialogue, the report further noted. 

According to Bloomberg report, Russian forces continued to hit civilian targets far from the front lines and with little apparent military significance, even as rescue efforts wound down from a weekend strike in Chasiv Yar that killed at least 48, missiles hit the central Ukraine city of Vinnytsia on Thursday. 

(With inputs from PTI, Hindustan Times, Bloomberg)

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