India abstained from voting on Thursday as the UN General Assembly voted to adopt a resolution condemning Russia’s “illegal so-called referenda” in four Ukrainian regions, while reaffirming its deep concern at the escalation of the conflict in Ukraine.
The resolution, declaring that “attempted illegal annexation” of Ukraine’s Donetsk, Kherson, Luhansk and Zaporizhzhya regions has no validity under international law, was passed by 143-5 votes in the 193-member General Assembly. Thirty-five countries, including India, abstained.
In a statement of the country’s vote, India’s permanent representative to the UN, Ruchira Kamboj, said the country’s decision to abstain “was in line with our well-considered national position”. There are also “other pressing issues” at play and some not adequately addressed in the resolution, she said.
“My Prime Minister has said unequivocally that this cannot be an era of war. With this firm determination to seek a peaceful solution through dialogue and diplomacy, India has decided to abstain from voting,” she said, referring to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s message to Russian President Vladimir Putin at a meeting in Samarkand. on Sept 16.
Kamboj said India is “deeply concerned about the escalation of the conflict in Ukraine, including attacks on civilian infrastructure and the deaths of civilians”. She added: “We have consistently advocated that there can never be a solution at the cost of human lives. Escalation of hostilities and violence is in nobody’s interest. We have urged that all efforts be made for an immediate cessation of hostilities and an urgent return to the path of dialogue and diplomacy.”
Kamboj said the world order endorsed by all UN member states is based on international law, the UN Charter and respect for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of all states. “These principles must be followed without exception,” she said.
Dialogue is the only answer to settling disputes and disputes and the path to peace “requires that we keep all channels of diplomacy open,” Kamboj said. “We therefore sincerely hope for a speedy resumption of peace talks to bring about an immediate ceasefire and a solution to the conflict. India stands ready to support all such efforts aimed at de-escalation,” she said, reiterating India’s stated stance on the conflict in Ukraine.
Kamboj also highlighted how the conflict in Ukraine has had widespread effects on food and energy security, especially for developing countries.
“It is also unfortunate that as the Ukrainian conflict develops, the entire global south has suffered significant collateral damage. As developing countries bear the brunt of the conflict’s impact on fuel, food and fertilizer supplies, it is critical that the voice of the South is heard and that their legitimate concerns are properly addressed,” she said.
“We should therefore not take measures that further complicate a struggling global economy,” she added.
Kamboj echoed Foreign Minister S Jaishankar’s recent speech to the General Assembly’s annual session in September, when he said India is “on the side of peace” and will remain determined there.
She also brushed aside attempts by Pakistan’s Permanent Representative to link the war in Ukraine to the situation in Jammu and Kashmir, describing the comments as an attempt to abuse the UN General Assembly.
“It is not surprising that we have again witnessed an attempt by a delegation to abuse this forum and make frivolous and senseless comments against my country. Such statements deserve our collective contempt and sympathy for a mentality that repeatedly speaks falsehoods,” she said.
“However, it is important to set the record straight. The entire territory of Jammu and Kashmir is and always will be an integral and inalienable part of India, no matter what the representative of Pakistan believes or desires. We call on Pakistan to end cross-border terrorism so that our citizens can enjoy their right to life and liberty,” she added.