At a meeting at the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) called by Russia to discuss the Ukraine crisis, on the seventh anniversary of the Minsk II ceasefire agreement, India called for a diplomatic solution to the tensions.
“India has been in touch with all concerned parties. It is our considered view that the issue can only be resolved through diplomatic dialogue,” India’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, T.S. Tirumurti told the Security Council.
Hours earlier, U.S. diplomat Donald Lu had said that External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar and U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken had held frank discussions on Russia and Ukraine. India is trying to balance its interests, given its strong relationship with both the U.S. and Russia. On Thursday, U.S. President Joe Biden had said that Russia could invade Ukraine “within the next several days”.
Russia, which holds the rotating presidency of the UNSC for February, had called around the anniversary Minsk II agreement, signed in February 2015, with an aim to bring peace in the rebel-held regions of the Donbas region of Ukraine. The agreement was signed by Russia, Ukraine, separatist leaders, and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). Minsk II has not been fully implemented (its predecessor, Minsk I, broke down).
“…We urge all parties to continue to engage through all possible diplomatic channels and keep working towards the full implementation of the ‘Minsk Agreements’,” Mr Tirumurti said. He also expressed support for the Normandy Format (Russia, Ukraine, Germany and France) at the Trilateral Contact Group (comprised of representatives of Russia, Ukraine and the OSCE).
“India’s interest is in finding a solution that can provide for immediate de-escalation of tensions taking into account the legitimate security interests of all countries and aimed towards securing long-term peace and stability in the region and beyond,” Mr. Tirumurti said, adding that the well-being of more than 20,000 Indians in Ukraine (including students) was a priority. The Indian Embassy in Kyiv had asked Indian students to leave Ukraine owing to the situation.
“ … We reiterate our call for the peaceful resolution of the situation by sincere and sustained diplomatic efforts to ensure that concerns of all sides are amicably resolved through constructive dialogue,” he said.