Russia-Ukraine War: India Abstains On UNSC Vote, Suggests Return To ‘Path Of Diplomacy’

The United Nations Security Council’s (UNSC) resolution that “deplores in the strongest terms Russia’s aggression against Ukraine,” has been abstained by India on Friday. New Delhi remarked that disputes and differences can be settled only through dialogues. It further showcased “regret” voicing that the path of diplomacy was given up.

The resolution, however, failed to advance as Russia, being the permanent UNSC member, used its power to veto. The official action received 11 votes in its favour out of the 15-member council and three abstentions including China, UAE and India. Despite trying to strike a diplomatic balance in the Russian-Ukraine war, India pulled back from voting against Russia. However, the US had increased pressure on India to come up with a strong response against the Russian invasion.

UNSC Draft Resolution

The UNSC draft resolution was presented jointly by the US and Albania, which was co-sponsored by nations including Finland, Australia, Estonia, Georgia, Italy, Germany, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Liechtenstein, Norway, New Zealand, Romania, Poland and the UK. The resolution was drafted to reaffirm the UNSC’s commitment to independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity and unity within the internationally recognised borders of Ukraine.

The resolution reiterated that Russia “shall immediately cease its use of force against Ukraine and shall refrain from any further unlawful threat or use of force against any UN member state.” It asked Moscow to “immediately completely, and unconditionally withdraw all of its military forces from the territory of Ukraine within its internationally recognised borders.”

India’s Abstention: A Move To Maintain Balance

Despite mounting pressure from the US, India abstained from voting in favour of or against the resolution. New Delhi reasoned that it avoided endorsing the harsh language that was used to condemn Russia’s action. India attempted to maintain the balance with the US and Russia as the country has strategic partners on both sides.

It is not the first time India has taken such a step. On January 31, the country took a step back during a procedural vote to discuss the Ukraine issue. India justified its position by citing its “legitimate security interests” towards Russia.

‘Deeply Disturbed’ For Ukraine

India put forward five key points to substantiate its abstention. The permanent representative at the UN, T S Tirumurti said India is “deeply disturbed by the recent turn of developments in Ukraine,” without pointing at Russia. He also said, “We urge that all efforts are made for the immediate cessation of violence and hostilities.” India has raised its primary concern related to the Indians trapped in Ukraine. “We are also deeply concerned about the welfare and security of the Indian community, including a large number of Indian students, in Ukraine,” Tirumurti said.

The Indian representative further raised concerns over territorial integrity and sovereignty. “The contemporary global order has been built on the UN Charter, international law, and respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of states. All member states need to honour these principles in finding a constructive way forward,” he said. India further recommended exchanging dialogues to settle differences. “Dialogue is the only answer to settling differences and disputes, however daunting that may appear at this moment,” Tirumurti added. He suggested returning to the path of diplomacy.