The View from India | A divided world, one year after the Russia-Ukraine war

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Updated - February 28, 2023 10:53 am IST

Published - February 27, 2023 12:40 pm IST

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy attends a commemorative event on the occasion of the Russia Ukraine war one year anniversary, in Kyiv.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy attends a commemorative event on the occasion of the Russia Ukraine war one year anniversary, in Kyiv. | Photo Credit: AP

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Reflecting a divided world one year after Russia launched its war on Ukraine, the Finance Ministers of the G20, meeting in Bengaluru on February 25, failed to agree on issuing a joint statement on the global economy. Instead, India, as G20 president, issued a “chair’s summary” which said “most members strongly condemned” the conflict and that there were “different assessments of the situation and sanctions” at the two-day meeting in Bengaluru.

As The Hindu reported, India is highlighting mainly economic and developmental issues that are vital for the Global South. The Outcome Document, however, acknowledged that “recognising that the G20 is not the forum to resolve security issues….security issues can have significant consequences for the global economy.” The apparent difference in opinion is significant, reports Kallol Bhattacherjee, as the Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors’ meeting was the first ministerial under Indian Presidency of the G20, coming just ahead of the Foreign Ministers’ meeting to be held on March 1-2.

Last week marked exactly one year since Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered attacks across Ukraine. Ahead of the anniversary, U.S. President Joe Biden made a surprise visit to Ukraine and met with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in a message of solidarity. The U.S. also said last week it hoped India “will use [its] influence with Russia to support an end to this conflict.

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi said India was willing to join “any peace process” to solve the Ukraine crisis, as he met with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in New Delhi. While the PM urged for reform of the UN Security Council, the crisis in Ukraine was the main focus of the German Chancellor’s statement. He said the war “violates fundamental principles to which we all agree — that you do not change borders through use of violence” and it was “important that in the UN too, we time and again state very clearly where we stand in this matter.”

India, however, again abstained in the U.N. General Assembly on February 23 on a resolution that underscored the need to reach as soon as possible a “comprehensive, just and lasting peace” in Ukraine in line with the principles of the U.N. Charter. The 193-member General Assembly adopted the draft resolution, put forward by Ukraine and its supporters, with 141 votes in favour and seven against.

On India’s stand on the crisis one year on, The Hindu, in an editorial, noted it was “becoming increasingly hard for New Delhi to hold that abstaining from voting at the multilateral stage is a principled stand.” “Prime Minister Modi’s celebrated statement that ‘this era is not of war’ has not been heeded by President Putin, and it is unclear if Ukraine sees India as an unbiased mediator,” the editorial said. “India has proven over decades that it will not vote under duress, yet the global and regional leadership that New Delhi claims cannot come from appearing diffident over basic principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity.”


In this week’s World View, Suhasini Haidar looks at possible endgame scenarios for the Ukraine crisis. You can read or watch here.


Ukrainian servicemen of the 3rd Separate Tank Iron Brigde take part in an exercise in the Kharkiv area.

Ukrainian servicemen of the 3rd Separate Tank Iron Brigde take part in an exercise in the Kharkiv area. | Photo Credit: AP

Stanly Johny writes on the past, present and future of Russia’s war in Ukraine. Read here.

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