Tension on Ukraine leaves India worried
Deccan Chronicle.| Sridhar Kumaraswami
India's reference at the UNSC to the 'legitimate security interests of all countries' is being seen as a sign of its soft stand on Russia
Indian nationals upon their arrival at the IGI Airport by an Air India flight from Ukraine amid rising Russia-Ukraine tension, in New Delhi, Wednesday, Feb 23, 2022.(PTI Photo/Kamal Singh)
New Delhi: Amid escalating tensions between Russia and the West over Ukraine, India on Tuesday said "the issue can be resolved only through diplomatic dialogue" and that the "immediate priority is the de-escalation of tensions taking into account the legitimate security interests of all countries".
New Delhi further said "constructive diplomacy is the need of the hour to avoid scaling up of tensions", adding the "safety and security of civilians is essential (and that) the well-being of Indian nationals is of priority" to New Delhi. This was stated Tuesday at a meeting of the UN Security Council by India’s permanent representative at the UN T.S. Tirumurti.
Air India, meanwhile, operated a flight to Ukraine Tuesday morning as a commercial flight, which is likely to return packed with Indian nationals late Tuesday evening. The airline will operate at least two more flights, one on Thursday and the other on Saturday. This is the first time that Air India is operating commercial flights to Ukraine. The families of Indian diplomats posted in Ukraine are also expected to return home along with students and other Indian nationals. Some other Indian carriers may also operate flights to Ukraine soon depending on the demand.
New Delhi’s reference at the UNSC to the "legitimate security interests of all countries" is being seen as a sign of its soft stand on Russia, as India is likely to face increasing pressure from the United States and European nations on the issue. Tensions between Russia, Ukraine and the West have escalated after Moscow reportedly recognised the independence of two Russian-backed separatist regions in eastern Ukraine and also announced the deployment of Russian troops in those two regions.
At the UNSC Tuesday, Mr Tirumurti said that the escalation of tensions was of deep concern to India as it has the potential to undermine peace and security, while calling for restraint on all sides. He further said the immediate priority was the de-escalation of tensions, taking into account the legitimate security interests of all countries. This issue can be resolved only through diplomatic dialogue, Mr Tirumurti said, adding that constructive diplomacy was the need of the hour to avoid scaling up of tensions.
India’s UN representative also said the Minsk Agreements provide a basis for a negotiated and peaceful settlement and that greater efforts are needed to find common ground to facilitate the implementation of the key provisions of the Minsk Agreements.