India abstains on UNSC resolution on Ukraine, Russia blocks move with veto

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India on Saturday abstained on a US-backed United Nations Security Council resolution that deplored Russia’s “aggression” against Ukraine, even as it pushed for a return to the path of diplomacy and respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of states.

Russia, which holds the rotating presidency of the Security Council for February, blocked the resolution by using its veto power as a permanent member of the body. It had been widely anticipated that the resolution would fail because of Russia’s “no” vote.

China and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) also abstained, while 11 of the council’s 15 members – including the US, the UK and France – voted in favour of the text, which would have demanded that Russia immediately stop its aggression against Ukraine and withdraw all troops. Russia’s veto was described by several council members as deplorable but inevitable.

‘Matter of regret…’: India abstains from UNSC vote ‘deploring’ Putin’s war on Ukraine | Watch

Explaining New Delhi’s vote at the Security Council session that began at 3.30 am IST, TS Tirumurti, the permanent representative to the UN, said India had chosen to abstain because the path of diplomacy was given up and all UN member states should honour principles such as respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity of countries.

Tirumurti reiterated India’s deep concern for the safety and security of its nationals stranded in Ukraine, including a large number of students. Officials have said nearly 16,000 Indian nationals were still in Ukraine, while close to 500 were evacuated via land routes on Friday.

“India is deeply disturbed by the recent turn of developments in Ukraine,” Tirumurti said.

“We urge that all efforts are made for the immediate cessation of violence and hostilities. No solution can ever be arrived at, at the cost of human lives,” he added.

The contemporary global order, Tirumurti noted, was built on the UN Charter, international law and respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of states. “All member states need to honour these principles in finding a constructive way forward,” he said.

“Dialogue is the only answer to settling differences and disputes, however daunting that may appear at this moment. It is a matter of regret that the path of diplomacy was given up. We must return to it,” he added.

People familiar with the matter said India’s call at the Security Council for an immediate end to violence and hostilities was a reiteration of the message conveyed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to President Vladimir Putin during their phone conversation on Thursday.

The two leaders had spoken hours after Putin launched what he described as a “special military operation” in support of the breakaway regions of Donetsk and Luhansk in Ukraine. The West has condemned Russia’s action as an invasion.

The people contended that India had maintained its “consistent, steadfast and balanced position” on Ukraine.

“India has been in touch with all sides, urging the parties to return to the negotiating table,” one of the people said. “By abstaining, India retained the option of reaching out to the relevant parties in an effort to bridge the gap and find the middle ground with the aim of fostering dialogue and diplomacy,” he added.

An earlier draft of the resolution had proposed that it should be moved under Chapter VII of the UN Charter, which provides the framework for possible enforcement action by the Security Council. This was dropped in the final version that was put to vote.

The earlier draft had language condemning Russia’s aggression against Ukraine and its decision to recognise the “independence” of Donetsk and Luhansk, but this was softened to “deplores” Russia’s actions.

New Delhi’s position during the vote was largely on the line it has taken in three statements at UN Security Council meetings on the issue – India refrained from criticising Russia’s actions in Ukraine and sought a solution that ensures the “legitimate security interests of all parties”. These moves have been seen as part of efforts by India to balance its ties with Russia and the US.


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