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 main answer to settling differences and disputes and voiced “regret” that the path of diplomacy was given up.
The resolution didn’t pass as a permanent member Russia used its veto. In the 15-member UN Security Council, the goal got 11 votes in favor and three abstentions, including 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.
Before the vote, the US had dialed up pressure on India to commit to a more grounded reaction to Russia’s Ukraine invasion.
On Thursday, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, addressing Foreign Minister S Jaishankar, had focused on the significance of a “solid aggregate reaction” to denounce what America referred to Russia as “premeditated, unprovoked and unjustified attack on Ukraine”.
Hours later, India remained firm on its stand at the UNSC vote, and later gave a sharp Explanation of the 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 honor 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 the 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 with an effort to bridge gap and find the middle ground, with an aim to foster dialogue and diplomacy.
A 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.