New Delhi: India early on Thursday morning (IST) abstained from voting on a draft resolution tabled by its time-tested friend Russia on the humanitarian crisis arising from the Ukraine conflict at the UN Security Council (UNSC). According to news agency reports from New York, India joined the United States, UK, France and the non-permanent members in abstaining during voting on the resolution, with the United States questioning the audacity of Russia in tabling such a draft resolution when it had launched the military offensive against Ukraine in the first place. China was the only country that backed Russia and voted in favour of the draft resolution. The draft resolution fell, as it could not muster the minimum nine votes needed in the 15-member UNSC that comprises five permanent and 10 non-permanent members including India, with 13 nations abstaining, according to reports. This comes at a time when foreign secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla is currently visiting New York.
Ukrainian ambassador to India Igor Polikha told a TV channel on Thursday that he “appreciated” the stand taken by India. Although the Indian UN mission in New York did not make any public explanation of why India abstained during voting, the Indian abstention is being seen as indication of New Delhi’s concern and dismay at the prolonged conflict triggered by the Russian military offensive in Ukraine, particularly since New Delhi has for the past four weeks been appealing for an immediate cessation of hostilities but to no avail. India has also, in a balancing act, previously abstained from draft resolutions critical of Russia and has also so far refused to condemn Moscow publicly because of its time-tested ties spanning decades.
According to news agency reports, Russia had called for a vote in the UNSC on its draft resolution that had demanded that “civilians, including humanitarian personnel and persons in vulnerable situations, including women and children are fully protected, calls for negotiated ceasefire for enabling safe, rapid, voluntary and unhindered evacuation of civilians, and underscores the need for the parties concerned to agree on humanitarian pauses to this end”.
According to these reports, the Russian-tabled draft resolution, which had made no reference to its invasion of Ukraine, called upon “all parties concerned to allow safe and unhindered passage to destinations outside of Ukraine, including to foreign nationals without discrimination, and facilitate safe and unhindered access of humanitarian assistance to those in need in and around Ukraine, taking into account the particular needs of women, girls, men and boys, older persons and persons with disabilities”.