United Nations: Maintaining its neutrality, India abstained on a UN General Assembly resolution condemning Russia’s annexation of Ukrainian territories, saying it was in line with New Delhi’s “well-considered national position”, and called for a diplomatic solution.
The resolution, which received 143 votes, with only five countries voting against and 35 abstentions, in Wednesday’s extraordinary session of the Assembly, passed with the necessary two-thirds majority, showing Russia’s isolation.
The Assembly’s actions followed Moscow’s veto of a similar resolution on October 1 in the Security Council.
Explaining India’s decision, Permanent Representative Ruchira Kamboj said that with its “firm determination to pursue a peaceful solution through dialogue and diplomacy, India has decided to abstain.”
At the same time, she criticized Russia without naming it: “We have consistently defended that a solution can never be reached at the cost of human lives. An escalation of hostilities and violence is in no one’s interest.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi “said unequivocally that this cannot be an era of war,” she said, citing his remark in the presence of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
She also cited Foreign Minister S Jaishankar’s speech to the Assembly in September in which he hinted at support for Ukraine in the conflict, saying: “We are on the side that respects the UN Charter and its founding principles.”
Ahead of today’s Assembly vote, India voted with the West and against Russia on three procedural motions that did not affect its substantive neutrality.
India also abstained from the recent Security Council resolution and both General Assembly resolutions condemning Russia in March.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy spoke to Prime Minister Modi last week amid intense diplomatic pressure to support the resolution.
During the conversation, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the prime minister told Zelensky that there could be no military solution and dialogue was the way to end the conflict. He also suggested India’s willingness to work towards peace efforts.
He also stressed the importance of respecting the territorial integrity and sovereignty of nations, the ministry said.
Ahead of the Assembly vote, Russia’s Permanent Representative Vasily Nebenza repeated Moscow’s claims that Ukraine’s four regions voted 90% in a referendum to join Russia.
Ukraine and several countries called the referendums an illegal fraud because they were held under military occupation.
Nebenza accused Western countries of threatening nations with economic consequences if they did not vote with them and demanded a secret ballot, which was rejected by the Assembly.
Moscow kept the support of four it had in the two Assembly resolutions in March, although Eritrea abstained this time, while Nicaragua switched its position to support Russia.
China abstained from the vote.
Although the West unleashed a high-pressure diplomatic campaign, it managed to get just two more votes than it had for the first resolution in March and three more than it had for the second.
Speaking before the vote, US Permanent Representative Linda Thomas-Greenfield appeared to take a hard line against diplomacy and dialogue, which she saw as reassuring.
“The road to peace does not pass through places. The path to peace does not involve turning to the other side in the face of these gross violations,” she said.
“The only way to bring peace is to stop this aggression, to demand accountability, to stand together with conviction, to show what we will not tolerate,” she added.
The Assembly session also witnessed a side show by Pakistan, which stuck to its ploy of raising Kashmir irrespective of the topic on the agenda.
Cambodia dismissed it as an attempt to abuse the UN forum with “frivolous and meaningless remarks”.
Islamabad’s permanent representative Munir Akram, who abstained from the vote on the resolution, said he looked forward to “similar concern or condemnation” of what he called India’s attempts to formalize the “illegal annexation” of Kashmir.
India said the people of Kashmir had exercised their right to self-determination by voting in several elections and electing governments.
Kamboj called on Pakistan to stop cross-border terrorism, while declaring: “The entire territory of Jammu and Kashmir is and will always be an inalienable and inalienable part of India, regardless of what the representative of Pakistan believes – or wishes.”
While explaining India’s abstention, she said, “The path to peace requires us to keep all channels of diplomacy open. We therefore sincerely hope for an early resumption of peace talks to lead to an immediate ceasefire and resolution of the conflict.
“India stands ready to support all such efforts aimed at de-escalation,” she said.
The Global South suffered collateral damage from the conflict’s impact on fuel, food and fertilizers, Kamboj said.
“Therefore, we must not take measures that further complicate a struggling global economy,” she said.
Speaking to reporters after the session, Ukraine’s permanent representative Serhiy Kislitsa called the vote “historic” and said it was “very bad” for Russia that only four countries had joined it.
Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives and Nepal voted in favor of the resolution, while Sri Lanka abstained.
Afghanistan and Myanmar, which continue to be represented by the elected governments that were ousted, voted in favor of the resolution.