India hesitant to support U.S.-backed UNSC resolution on Ukraine

Draft resolution condemns Russia’s aggression in the “strongest terms,” reaffirms the sovereignty of Ukraine and requires Moscow to “immediately, completely, and unconditionally withdraw its forces”

February 25, 2022 10:34 pm | Updated 10:39 pm IST - Washington

S. Jaishankar

S. Jaishankar | Photo Credit: Reuters

India has not committed to supporting a U.S.-backed United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolution calling for Russia to withdraw from Ukraine. The resolution is scheduled to be discussed at 3 p.m. on Friday, New York Time. Russia, a permanent member of the Security Council and also its president for this month, is certain to veto the resolution. India has abstained during UN votes on Russia and Ukraine in the recent past, as it attempts to balance its interests with both Moscow and the West, led by Washington.

Hours before the scheduled meeting on Friday, External Affairs Minister said via Twitter, that he had emphasized “diplomacy and dialogue” to resolve the crisis, during a conversation with Ukraine’s Foreign Minister, Dmytro Kuleba.

“I emphasized that India supports diplomacy & dialogue as the way out. Discussed predicament of Indian nationals, including students. Appreciate his support for their safe return,” Mr Jaishankar said.

While India has called for diplomacy and dialogue, Russian troops have invaded Ukraine and entered Kyiv, as per reports. At Wednesday’s UNSC meeting – during which Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a ‘special operation’ in Ukraine, India’s permanent representative T S Tirumurti did not name Russia during his remarks.

Friday’s draft resolution condemns Russia’s aggression in the “strongest terms,” reaffirms the sovereignty of Ukraine and “requires the Russian Federation immediately, completely, and unconditionally to withdraw its forces,” a senior administration official of the U.S., who did not want to be named, told reporters on a briefing call on Thursday.

During a call with Mr. Jaishankar on Thursday, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, “stressed the importance of a strong collective response to condemn Russia’s invasion and call for an immediate withdrawal and ceasefire,” during this call, the State Department’s spokesperson said.

Asked if India, a ‘Major Defense Partner’ of the U.S., was “in sync” with the U.S. on Russia, U.S. President Joe Biden said on Thursday that discussions were still on-going – possibly referring to talks around Friday’s resolution.

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