New Delhi, February 24
India, along with China and Pakistan, abstained from a non-binding UN General Assembly resolution calling on Russia to end its hostilities and withdraw its forces from Ukraine.
During the vote, 141 nations voted in favour of the resolution which was approved after two days of discussions.
Seven nations opposed the resolution and 32 members, including India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, abstained. However, smaller countries in the Indian subcontinent such as Bhutan, Nepal, Maldives and Afghanistan voted in favour of the West-piloted resolution.
In its explanation of the vote, India wanted to know how a conflict could be resolved without the inclusion of both parties. “Can any process that does not involve either of the two sides ever lead to a credible and meaningful solution?” asked India’s Permanent Representative to the UN Ruchika Kamboj.
Before the vote, India withstood tremendous pressure from the West that included a phone call to NSA Ajit Doval from his Ukrainian equivalent Andriy Yermak and acknowledgement by France and Germany that they had called on New Delhi to revise its position.
After the vote, India said the resolution seeking a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in line with the UN Charter is understandable; however, reports from the ground portray a complex scenario, with the conflict intensifying on several fronts. “While we take note of the stated objective of today’s Resolution, given its inherent limitations in reaching our desired goal of securing lasting peace, we are constrained to abstain,” said Kamboj.
South Block also touched on several other aspects, including repeated disapproval of targeting of civilian infrastructure and the killing of non-combatants. It also agreed that the UN Charter and the principle of respect for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of all states must be upheld “without any exception”.
It also wanted all sides to ask themselves a few questions. “Are we anywhere near a possible solution acceptable to both sides? Can any process that does not involve either of the two sides ever lead to a credible and meaningful solution? Has the UN system, and particularly the UN Security Council, based on a 1945-world construct, not been rendered ineffective?” asked Kamboj.
India also said it continued to remain concerned over the situation in Ukraine and described the attacks on civilians as “deeply worrying”. It also wanted concerns of the Global South, which has suffered the conflict’s unintended consequences, to be addressed. On its part, India has advocated dialogue and diplomacy while adopting a people-centric approach to the conflict through economic and humanitarian assistance to Ukraine.
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