India on Friday abstained on a US-sponsored UN Security Council resolution that deplored in the strongest terms Russia’s aggression against Ukraine. New Delhi said dialogue is the only answer to settling differences and disputes and voiced “regret” that the path of diplomacy was given up.
The resolution did not pass as permanent member Russia used its veto. In the 15-member UN Security Council, the resolution received 11 votes in favour and three abstentions, including by India, China and the UAE.
As India tries to maintain a tough diplomatic balance on the Russia-Ukraine war, it used strong words on Russia’s actions but stopped short of voting against it.
UNSC’s consideration of the draft resolution on Ukraine
????Watch: India’s Explanation of Vote by Permanent Representative @AmbTSTirumurti ⤵️@MeaIndiapic.twitter.com/UB2L5JLuyS
– India at UN, NY (@IndiaUNNewYork) February 25, 2022
Before the vote, the US had dialed up pressure on India to commit to a stronger response to Russia’s Ukraine invasion.
On Thursday, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, speaking to Foreign Minister S Jaishankar, had stressed on the importance of a “strong collective response” to condemn what America called Russia’s “premeditated, unprovoked and unjustified attack on Ukraine”.
Hours later, India stayed firm on its stand at the UNSC vote, and later issued a sharp Explanation of Vote that called for a return to the path of diplomacy.
“India is deeply disturbed by the recent turn of developments in Ukraine,” India’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Ambassador TS Tirumurti, said, explaining India’s abstention.
“All member states should honour principles of international law and UN Charter, as these provide a constructive way forward,” said India, asserting that it had maintained its “consistent, steadfast and balanced position”.
The statement called for respecting sovereignty and territorial integrity of states and immediate cessation of violence and hostilities – words conveyed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Russian President Vladimir Putin in a phone call on Thursday.
Sources said by abstaining, India has retained the option of reaching out to relevant sides in an effort to bridge the gap and find the middle ground, with an aim to foster dialogue and diplomacy.
An earlier draft of the resolution had proposed moving the resolution under Chapter VII of the UN Charter, which provides the framework within which the Security Council may take enforcement action. However, this was dropped in the final version that was put to vote, said sources.