India on Wednesday joined the US and 11 other member countries of the United Nations Security Council in abstaining from voting on a resolution that Russia had moved on the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine without mentioning its own role in the matter.
Unlike the previous occasions when New Delhi had abstained from voting in the UN on the Ukraine situation, India’s mission in New York this time has not explained its vote.
Nor has India made any effort to officially distance itself from a US official’s description of the abstention by India and other countries as a “unified protest vote”.
In a tweet, the US ambassador to the UN, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, said: “Just now, in a unified protest vote, 13 members of the Security Council abstained from Russia’s farcical resolution deflecting blame for the humanitarian crisis it has created in Ukraine.”
This is the first time since the Ukraine conflict began on February 24 that India has stood with the western bloc in a UN vote on the issue.
Russia and China voted in favour of the resolution, while the other 13 Security Council members abstained.
The US and some other western countries see the resolution as an effort by Moscow to “use the Council to provide a cover for its actions in Ukraine”.
India has been under pressure from the western world to take a stand against Russia and condemn Moscow over the Ukraine conflict. New Delhi, however, has fallen back on the Nehruvian policy of not engaging in condemnation and, instead, creating a space for negotiations. US President Joe Biden has termed India’s position “shaky”.
Asked about Biden’s remark and the impact that India’s position on the Ukraine conflict has had on its relations with the US, external affairs minister S. Jaishankar told the Rajya Sabha: “Indian foreign policy decisions are made in Indian national interest and we are guided by our thinking, our views and our interests.”
Jaishankar was responding to MPs’ queries during Question Hour.
To the question whether India was considering rupee trade with Russia to address the emerging problems of dealing with Moscow, he said: “Government is examining various aspects including the payment aspect. There is a group within the government, composed of different ministries. It is led by finance ministry to examine these matters.”