India Abstains Again On Key Ukraine Resolution At UN

India abstained in the UN General Assembly on February  22nd, 2023 on a resolution that underscored the need to reach “comprehensive, just and lasting peace” in Ukraine, citing the resolution’s “inherent limitations” in reaching New Delhi’s desired goal of securing lasting peace and ending the conflict which has been raging for one year now.

The 193-member General Assembly adopted the draft resolution, put forward by Ukraine and its supporters, titled Principles of the Charter of the United Nations underlying a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in Ukraine.

The resolution, which got 141 votes in favor and seven against, “underscores the need to reach, as soon as possible, a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in Ukraine in line with the principles of the Charter of the United Nations.” India was among the 32 countries that abstained.

The resolution called upon member states and international organizations to redouble support for diplomatic efforts to achieve a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in Ukraine, consistent with the Charter.

India was among the 32 nations that abstained as the 193-member General Assembly adopted the resolution put forward by Ukraine and its supporters.

Before the UNGA vote, many countries, including the US, Germany and Ukraine, reached out to India seeking its support for the resolution that calls for Russia to end hostilities in Ukraine and demands the withdrawal of its forces.

India’s explanation

In the ‘Explanation of Vote’ after the resolution was adopted, India’s Permanent Representative to the UN Ruchira Kamboj said that as the General Assembly marks a year of the Ukrainian conflict, “it is important that we ask ourselves a few pertinent questions.

“Are we anywhere near a possible solution acceptable to both sides? Can any process that does not involve either of the two sides, ever lead to a credible and meaningful solution? Has the UN system, and particularly its principal organ, the UN Security Council, based on a 1945-world construct, not been rendered ineffective to address contemporary challenges to global peace and security?” Kamboj said.

In September 2022, External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar said in his address to the high-level U.N. General Assembly session that in this conflict, India is on the side of peace and dialogue and diplomacy.

“As the Ukraine conflict continues to rage, we are often asked whose side are we on. And our answer, each time, is straight and honest. India is on the side of peace and will remain firmly there. We are on the side that respects the UN Charter and its founding principles. We are on the side that calls for dialogue and diplomacy as the only way out,” Jaishankar had said, adding that it is in the collective interest to work constructively, both within the United Nations and outside, in finding an early resolution to this conflict.

India has also consistently underlined that in the conflict, the entire global South has suffered “substantial collateral damage” and developing countries are facing the brunt of the conflict’s consequences on food, fuel and fertiliser supplies.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told the emergency special session of the General Assembly that resumed on February 22 that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is “an affront to our collective conscience” and said it is “high time” to step back from the brink.

“The one-year mark of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine stands as a grim milestone — for the people of Ukraine and for the international community. That invasion is an affront to our collective conscience. It is a violation of the United Nations Charter and international law,” Mr. Guterres said adding that the invasion is having dramatic humanitarian and human rights consequences.

In a strong message, Mr. Guterres said the war is fanning regional instability and fuelling global tensions and divisions while diverting attention and resources from other crises and pressing global issues. “Meanwhile, we have heard implicit threats to use nuclear weapons. The so-called tactical use of nuclear weapons is utterly unacceptable. It is high time to step back from the brink,” he said.

Since Russia’s February 24, 2022 invasion of Ukraine, several UN resolutions have condemned the invasion and underlined the commitment to the sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of Ukraine. While most nations have condemned the Russian aggression, India has not condemned Russia’s actions, nor has it taken any known initiatives to end the war and bring peace in the region.

India, which maintains good relations with Russia, has abstained from all these resolutions on Ukraine and consistently underlined the need to respect the UN Charter, international law and the sovereignty and territorial integrity of states. New Delhi has also urged that all efforts be made for an immediate cessation of hostilities and an urgent return to the path of dialogue and diplomacy.

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