The move aims to diplomatically isolate Russia at the world stage, even as India and China, among 35 members, abstained from voting. Five countries, including Russia, Syria and Belarus, voted against the resolution.
New Delhi: India is sticking to its 'national interest' policy vis-à-vis the Russia-Ukraine conflict, and at the UN General Assembly on Wednesday (March 2), it abstained during voting on a resolution that cast aspersions on Russia and deplored Moscow's "aggression against Ukraine".
The United Nations General Assembly overwhelmingly voted by 141 votes out of 193 members, reprimanded Russia, and demanded that it start withdrawing its military forces. The move aims to diplomatically isolate Russia at the world stage, even as India and China, among 35 members, abstained from voting. Five countries, including Russia, Syria and Belarus, voted against the resolution.
Delivering a statement after the vote, Indian Ambassador to the UN, T S Tirumurti, said New Delhi has been deeply concerned over the rapidly deteriorating situation in Ukraine and the ensuing humanitarian crisis. "We remain firm in our conviction that differences can only be solved through dialogue and diplomacy," he said, pointing out India has always supported the international community's call for an immediate ceasefire.
PM Narendra Modi spoke on the phone with Russian President Vladimir Putin – twice within a week. Earlier, the Russian envoy to India appreciated India's viewpoint at the UNSC on the matter, saying the Indian government has understood the gravity of the crisis. India had abstained during the voting at the United Nations Security Council meet as well.
"The leaders (Putin and Modi) reviewed the situation in Ukraine, especially in the city of Kharkiv, where many Indian students are stuck. They discussed the safe evacuation of the Indian nationals from the conflict areas," a PMO statement said.
Denis Alipov, the new Russian envoy to India, said Moscow is working on a "humanitarian corridor" for the safe passage of Indians.
MEA spokesman Arindam Bagchi said an estimated 17,000 Indian nationals have left Ukraine borders since the first of advisories were issued in the last week of January.
Foreign Secretary Harsh V Shringla has said, "In the United Nations we take positions that are based on certain careful considerations, and certainly, we do regard the merits of each and every case [and] take decisions in our best interest."
India has friendly ties with both the US and Russia. Russia is India's old friend and major defence supplier, whereas the US is India's crucial strategic partner, especially in the context of Indo Pacific and the policy towards China.