India and China were among 32 nations that abstained from voting as the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution calling for an end to the war in Ukraine on Friday, with the Indian envoy to the world body stating that the resolution was insufficient to secure a permanent peace.
At an emergency special session held hours before the conflict entered its second year, 141 member states supported the resolution, while seven countries, including Russia, Belarus, and North Korea, voted against it. In addition to India and China, Bangladesh, Cuba, Iran, Pakistan, South Africa, and Sri Lanka refrained from voting.
The nonbinding resolution reaffirmed the demand that Russia “immediately, completely, and unconditionally withdraw all of its military forces from the territory of Ukraine” and demanded an end to hostilities. It asked member governments to work together to address the war’s global effects on food security, energy, finance, the environment, and nuclear security.
Ruchira Kamboj, India’s permanent UN representative, questioned the efficiency of the United Nations and the Security Council in addressing modern concerns and cited the resolution’s “inherent limits” while justifying India’s vote.
“India remains committed to multilateralism and maintains the UN Charter’s values. We shall continue to advocate communication and diplomacy as the only possible means of resolution. “Although we recognise the stated purpose of today’s resolution, its inherent limits in achieving our intended objective of achieving enduring peace compel us to abstain,” she added.
“Are we any closer to a solution acceptable to all parties? “Could a method that does not involve either side ever result in a credible and meaningful resolution?” Kamboj asked. “Has the United Nations organisation, and notably its major instrument, the United Nations Security Council, founded on a 1945 concept, been proven ineffectual to confront contemporary threats to global peace and security?”
Since Russia began its invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022, India has abstained from all General Assembly votes regarding the Ukraine crisis. India has not openly condemned Russia’s conduct despite advocating for the respect of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of other states. At a meeting with President Vladimir Putin in September of last year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi stated, “This is not a time of war” and drew attention to the issues of food and energy security facing developing nations while urging Putin to halt the conflict.
In spite of Western criticism, India has continued to purchase inexpensive Russian crude. According to experts, India’s balancing act is based on its long-standing strategic cooperation with Russia and its fears of any action that would bring Russia closer to China, particularly at a time when New Delhi and Beijing are embroiled in a border dispute.
Kamboj stated that India remains concerned about the situation in Ukraine, where the conflict has “resulted in the loss of countless lives and misery, especially for women, children, and the elderly, with millions becoming homeless and compelled to seek refuge in neighbouring countries.” She characterised the reports of attacks on individuals and civilian infrastructure as quite troubling.
“We have always advocated that no solution can be reached at the expense of human lives. In this backdrop, it is necessary to reiterate our Prime Minister’s assertion that this cannot be a time of war. She stated that escalation of hostilities and violence is not in anyone’s best interest and that a return to conversation and diplomacy is the only way ahead.
The global order is founded on international law, the United Nations Charter, and the respect for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of all states. “These values must be adhered to without exception,” added Kamboj.
Kamboj also emphasised the “unintended effects” of the conflict on the Global South, stating that it is imperative that the voice of emerging nations be heard and their genuine concerns addressed.
“India’s stance to the Ukraine issue would remain centred on the needs of the people. “We are providing both humanitarian relief to Ukraine and economic support to some of our neighbours in the Global South who are experiencing economic hardship, even as they face the growing costs of food, fuel, and fertilisers as a result of the protracted conflict,” she said.
Noting the resolution’s emphasis on bolstering UN member support for diplomatic efforts to establish peace, Kamboj stated that “reports from the ground depict a complex reality, with the fighting worsening on multiple fronts.”
Zikrur Rahman, a former ambassador, stated that India’s abstention in the United Nations vote reaffirmed the country’s neutrality.
“From the beginning, India has maintained that it is impartial and that the Ukraine issue must be handled via negotiations. India is opposed to sanctions and will not yield to any pressure. “The West is also aware of the grounds for India’s stance; the country has a great need for consistent energy supplies and will not change its policy,” he said.