India’s abstention from the vote on the draft resolution with text “deploring in the strongest terms” Russia for its operations inside Ukraine was no surprise, given the fine balance Delhi has sought to strike between crucial partnerships with both Moscow and Western allies over the last month of the escalating crisis.
Russia used its veto to kill the draft resolution co-sponsored by the United States and Albania, and which was also sponsored by more than 40 other members of the General Assembly. When a resolution is taken up for vote, UNSC members have to cast their vote before any of the Permanent 5 decide to use their veto on it. With the abstention, India has managed to hold its balancing act for another day, despite the considerable pressures from the West to get off the fence, and an open call from the Russian envoy in Delhi for its support.
Indian students stranded in Ukraine capital Kyiv and north eastern city of Kharkiv on Saturday woke up to heavy shelling from Russian forces. Hundreds of Indian students in Kyiv retreated to underground cellars after missiles hit residential apartments in the city even as their counterparts in the worst-hit Kharkiv continued to languish in underground metros for the third consecutive day.
Muhammed Afsal, a medical student at Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv, said there have been heavy shelling early morning. “We woke up hearing blasts, which shattered our belief that we are safe. Hostel staff herded all of us to the bunker. During the day, many of us stood near the entrance of the bunker only to rush back to the underground cellar at the sound of siren.’’