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Resolution 8979: India chose to sit on the fence

Resolution 8979: India stands in abstention in the 8979th resolution.

The international law has already been violated by Russia’s President Putin to which UNGA was held to condemn Russia’s action in Ukraine by introducing “UN Security Council resolution 8979”.

On Wednesday, in UNGA, India has already abstained for the third time in less than a week from giving its vote ‘against’ or ‘for’ Russia on UN Resolution “deploring Russia’s Aggression” explaining how dialogues can be the only way for settling down the differences and disputes.Russia-Ukraine War Updates Day 5: India to send relief supplies to Ukraine  today | World News – India TV

It’s almost over a week since Russia invaded Ukraine and Ukraine has been strongly asking for help from India. Where some countries along with NATO are helping Ukraine in terms of weapons as well as financially. India chose to sit on the fence.

It is nowhere hidden that India has been racing through time to save and bring back all its citizens as soon as possible, where the airspace in Ukraine is closed. India also mentioned how “no solution can ever arrive at the cost of human lives”.

Resolution at UN General Assembly (UNGA)

Consisting of 193 members, UNGA has presented a resolution to strongly condemn and deplore Russia. The resolution required 2/3rd of the majority that must be adopted by the General Assembly.

The resolution was affirmatively adopted by 141 members casting their votes in favor of the resolution, 5 members being against it and 35 in abstentions, whole of the assembly joyed in applause as the resolution stand passed.UN approves resolution condemning Russia for invading Ukraine, India  abstains a third time

This UNGA Resolution was very much similar to the resolution that was circulated in 15-Nation Security Council on Friday. India had abstained from that resolution also. The resolution collected 11 votes in favor 3 abstentions in total but Russia blocked the resolution through its veto power being the permanent member.

Later, the security council on Sunday again held a rare session i.e.- “emergency special session” where India again abstained on the resolution reiterating “ that there is no other choice but to return to the path of dialogue and diplomacy”

More Tough choices ahead

India after abstaining thrice, now, faces a difficult choice to make by the U.S and European-led coalition, in a path to ‘isolate Russia’ altogether.

The U.S and European-led countries are leading this charge of diplomacy against Russia and working on phones to convince other countries to vote along with them against Russia’s actions.

A European diplomat said to the Ministry of External Affairs that “We are presenting our position that why it must support Ukraine against Russia’s attack and it is up to India whether it will stand with the aggressor or with the victim, he also added that “despite the earlier abstention, diplomats feel India could “potentially’ change its position.

Modi, Putin discuss ways to boost energy, trade ties in St Petersburg |  Business Standard News

Another Western Diplomat said “If the vote happens in UNGA then India must take its clear stand with us or with countries like China, Syria, and Venezuela on the issue,” 

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock spoke and tried to convince External Affairs Minister Jaishankar to speak up in one voice along with the world that Russia’s president has violated international law and the European peace order as India has so far not criticized Russia’s actions directly. 

Is Russia an ally of India

This is just a straightforward question as India’s implicit support to Russia remains which can be estimated by its abstinence.

As the largest arms supplier, Russia has been India’s ally for a long time, and hence India might doubt that if it supported Ukraine in this “Russia vs Ukraine” then it might push Russia into China’s arm more further which will certainly multiply threat to India in near future.Ukraine's revolution still deserves our support | Financial Times

But all these arguments will fade if we try to calculate the percentage of Russia’s support to India, it might be true that Russia is the biggest provider of arms to India but not the reliable one since Putin came in power. Arms were supplied in a delayed manner and delayed up to the extent of rising prices and sometimes even making them double.

It must not be forgotten that there were many times Russia went blind-eyed to China’s aggressive acts towards India. Also, in the recent past, it was Russia who kept India away from the Afghan peace negotiations.

Russia’s stand could be nowhere seen when China raised Kashmir at UNSC in 2019 and 2020. It was the US and European countries that helped while going against their principles of human rights.

Nonetheless, the US and Europe were also absent when it came to India’s conflict with China. So, talking of India’s past decisions is what led it to have a dependence on Russia of some sort.

Why India chose neutrality 

Since the soviet days, Russia has provided India with 70 percent of critical weapons and has been proved to be India’s consistent friend at the UN.

Russia sided with India on the matter of Kashmir in UN, simultaneously India’s responded in the same manner since 1950 when India refrained to take a negative stand on the Soviet’s military operation in Hungary in the year 1956, in Czechoslovakia in 1968.

India told UNGA that the Soviet troops entered Kabul at the request of Afghanistan’s communist Hafizullah Amin government, when in 1979-80 Russia invaded Afghanistan and then at that time, Indira Gandhi’s government defended the military operations.Russia-Ukraine News - NBC News | NBC News

Now, It gives an absolute message from India’s side to the rest of the world regarding the India-Ukraine crisis with its continuous past stand that this matter is to be held internally between Europe or Nato-Russia in its extended form.

So, here, India decided to take a stand similar to the stand taken by the West on similar issues concerning India. Therefore, somewhere down the line neutrality can be India’s current alternative.

Diplomacy brings Risks

As by passing days in Russia-Ukraine continuing war, India is still holding up to its neutrality indirectly validating Putin’s tactic of claiming Ukraine’s territory through invasion. 

And if this war has a long way to go then the US might impose some more additional and rigorous sanctions against Russia. Also, this might provoke the US to sanction India under its countering America’s Adversaries through the Sanctions Act for buying the S-400 defense system from Russia. Although, the US has refrained from taking any punitive action against India since passing the law in 2017, unlike Iran for the deal.

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