While New Delhi abstained at the UNSC and UNGA from voting against Russia, it has asked for respecting the “territorial sovereignty” of all UN-member states.
New Delhi has done well to urge Moscow and Kyiv to halt hostilities in some of their present conflict zones in the region. India is the world’s largest democracy. Its foremost priority in the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict is to evacuate its citizens out of Ukraine and bring them back home. One hopes both Moscow and Kyiv would heed New Delhi’s appeal and do the needful at the earliest.
Russia and Ukraine ought to appreciate that India has been a true friend to both nations. New Delhi has had a very balanced, reasonable, and pacifist approach in the ongoing conflict. At the United Nations General Assembly last week, New Delhi abstained from voting for a “Uniting for Peace” resolution— driven by the United States and allies and co-sponsored by 96 states—condemned Russia’s attack on Ukraine and demanded its troops’ immediate withdrawal from the region. New Delhi also abstained from voting for the UN Human Rights Council and International Atomic Energy Agency resolutions critical of Russia.
But at the same time, New Delhi has been appropriately sensitive to the present needs of Ukraine. In its explanation of vote (EOV), New Delhi has asked for respecting the “territorial sovereignty” of all UN-member states. Besides, New Delhi has sent humanitarian aid to Ukraine in this hour of their need.
Moscow and Kyiv may bear in mind that by heeding New Delhi’s appeal and creating a “safe route” for the Indians to return home safe, they would have a genuine friend to whom they could turn for mediation between them and establish a much-desired peace in the region. They can hardly rely on any other state or entity to help them achieve peace.
It is well documented that the United States and its allies have never projected themselves as someone who would ensure peace in the region. When the Cold War ended in 1990, then American Secretary of State James Baker and then General Secretary of the Soviet Union’s Communist Party, Mikhail Gorbachev, agreed to limit the membership of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation to Germany only. But this understanding has not been honoured.
NATO has kept expanding. In 1999, it admitted Poland, Hungary and the Czech Re In 2004 it accepted into its fold Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia. In 2009, it admitted Albania and Croatia. In 2017 NATO added Montenegro. In 2020, it had North Macedonia. And then, in 2021, NATO officially recognized Bosnia-Herzegovina, Georgia and Ukraine as aspiring members.
This is said to have gone a long way to scare Moscow into undertaking its present course of action against Ukraine. Moscow today seems to think— rightly so, perhaps — if Ukraine joins NATO, the transatlantic troops would arrive on its border and pose an existential threat to Russia.
(The author is a Delhi-based journalist)