India’s focus is on the cessation of hostilities between Russia and Ukraine. All peace-loving and responsible nations must emulate India’s approach and contribute to establishing peace in the region.
New Delhi’s abstention from voting on the March 24 UN General Assembly resolution condemning the Russian action in Ukraine is absolutely justified. India is a nation of high moral standards. In harmony with its foreign policy tradition to advance world peace, New Delhi seeks to defuse the current friction between Russia and Ukraine and help them evolve a formula for their peaceful co-existence. To do so, it must adhere to the truth and have a balanced, reasonable, and pacifist approach in the Ukrainian case.
Observers say New Delhi has had historic diplomatic and defence cooperation with Moscow. India-Russia defence cooperation continues to be very strong. Moscow’s relations with Beijing have improved a lot in the last couple of years. Yet, during New Delhi’s military confrontation with Beijing in 2020, Russia provided India with much-needed spare parts.
Besides, New Delhi cannot gloss over the eastward expansion of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). This has gone a long way to provoke Russia into resorting to its present military operation in Ukraine. After the break-up of the former Soviet Union in 1991, there was hardly any point for the United States and allies to go in for the NATO expansion in Eastern Europe.
India’s focus is rightly on the cessation of hostilities between Russia and Ukraine. All peace-loving and responsible nations must emulate India’s approach and contribute to establishing peace in the region. They must come forward and mediate between Zelensky and Putin to defuse this crisis.
It is unfortunate that at a summit of the transatlantic alliance (the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Group- 7 and European leaders) in Brussels on March 24, the US and allies agreed to strengthen their forces in eastern Europe, increase military aid to Ukraine and tighten sanctions on Russia. Equally unfortunate is that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky joined this summit via videoconference and appealed to it to fully boycott Russian energy and declare a no-fly zone over Ukraine.
According to a report, NATO is doubling its battle groups on the alliance’s eastern flank. NATO may go in for the deployment of four new battle groups in Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia, along with our existing forces in the Baltic countries and Poland.
Washington and its allies must refrain from adopting such measures against Russia. Their current approach is likely to aggravate, not defuse, the tension in the region. The Russian operation in Ukraine seems to have got bogged down in logistical problems. In desperation, Moscow might use chemical or nuclear weapons. This would not, but have catastrophic consequences for the world in general and Ukraine in particular. Nuclear/chemical weapons know no borders.
The crisis must end, the sooner, the better. In the ongoing crisis, thousands of people have already been killed. United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi says it has so far put over ten million people on the move; humanity today is witnessing the biggest migration movement since the Second World War.
Besides, the Ukrainian crisis has serious global implications. Most of the European nations have started blocking Russian oil exports. This has led to rising inflation the world over.
(The author is a New Delhi-based journalist)