UNSC resolution on Russian aggression: Why India chose to abstain from voting

India chose to abstain from voting on UNSC resolution stating that dialogue is the only answer in settling differences and disputes.

The US-sponsored UN Security Council resolution that deplored Russian aggression against Ukraine saw India abstaining from voting. Holding aloft the argument that dialogue is the only answer in settling differences and disputes, India stood back as the resolution received 11 votes in favour. India was one of the nations that abstained, the other two being China and the UAE.

The resolution didn’t carry through, as it was vetoed by Russia, a permanent member, and President of the Security Council for the month of February.

What has prompted India’s abstention from voting on the resolution that deplored Russia’s military operation in Ukraine in serious terms, is sure to be discussed across the global community.  While abstaining from voting, India had also voiced ‘regret’ that the path of diplomacy was given up.

India stance and the world

How India would vote, was something the West and other nations around had been keenly waiting to know. India and Russia share strong relations on the defence front, and that has prompted the rest of the world to keenly watch how India would vote.

Though India has expressed ‘deep concern’, saying that it is deeply disturbed by the recent turn of developments in Ukraine, and that it urges that all efforts are made for the immediate cessation of violence and hostilities, the abstention was something that the US and the rest of the world had not foreseen.

When the abstention came about, it sent the other nations thinking.  Going by Ambassador T S Tirumurti, India’s Permanent Representative to the UN, India’s explanation of vote in the Council came about thus: “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. For all these reasons, India has chosen to abstain on this resolution.”

The resolution, which called upon Russia to immediately, completely, and unconditionally withdraw its military forces from the territory of Ukraine, was aimed at reaffirming the UN Security Council’s commitment to the sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of Ukraine within its internationally-recognised borders.

The draft resolution was put forward by the US and Albania and co-sponsored by several other nations including Australia, Estonia, Finland, Georgia, Germany, Italy, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Romania and the United Kingdom. But as expected it got vetoed by Russia. However, the West has stated that the resolution was aimed at showcasing how Moscow was isolated on the global stage as it carried on with its aggression in Ukraine.

Will peace return in Ukraine?

The Indian stance on the crisis is now a topic of debate. New Delhi has not so far condemned Russia’s actions in Ukraine. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in a telephonic conversation with President Putin had called upon him for an immediate cessation of violence, and for concerted efforts from all sides to return to the path of diplomatic negotiations and dialogue. At the UN Security Council, Ambassador Tirumurti had expressed ‘deep concern’ as Russia started military operation in Ukraine. India had stated at the UNSC that the Russian move may well undermine the peace and security of the region.

Ukraine had been seeking India’s support to establish peace, even as the Russian aggression continued. Before the UNSC resolution was put to vote, Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba had called his India counterpart S Jaishanker urging “India to use all influence in its relations with Russia to force it to cease military aggression against Ukraine”. Kuleba had tweeted that he had urged India, as a non-permanent UNSC member, to support the draft resolution on restoring peace in Ukraine.

Now that the resolution has been vetoed by Russia, further steps to establish peace would be charted out. And the world would want India to play a major role in bringing peace back in Ukraine.

Sanjeev Ramachandran

A journalist with 23 years of experience, Sanjeev has worked with reputed media houses such as Business Standard, The Ne More »
Back to top button