Why did India abstain from voting on the Ukraine resolution at UNSC?

India abstained. India is not absent from this.

PM Narendra Modi already appealed to Russia to resolve via dialogue. It is a great decision for India. India didn’t vote against Ukraine despite knowing that Ukraine voted against India at UNSC

  • The reason – 

As far as India is concerned, we are not NATO members. Ukraine is abandoned by USA & NATO. As a developing nation, India has always maintained a non-alignment policy to keep itself distant from the cold war.

India Ambassador said that Dialogue is the only answer to settling differences and disputes, however daunting that may appear at this moment. It is a matter of regret that the path of diplomacy was given up. We must return to it. For all these reasons, India has chosen to abstain on this resolution. India believed dialogue is the only answer to reaching a resolution and settling disputes.

China’s abstention comes just weeks after Beijing and Moscow declared a “no limits” partnership, backing each other over standoffs on Ukraine and Taiwan with a promise to collaborate more against the West. But China still said that they support dialogue and negotiation in a peaceful manner.

It is important to know that after the collapse of Soviet union the relationship between Soviet Union and India was inherited by Russia and this relationship is both described by Russia and India as a ‘”special and privileged strategic partnership.” China, in 2001, China and Russia countries signed the Treaty of Good-Neighbourliness and Friendly Cooperation which paved the way for expanding economic and trade ties, including sales of defence equipment and energy by Russia to China, and Russia’s backing for China’s position on Taiwan.

The Indian elephant never forgets!

In 1971 when Hindu genocide was going on in East Pakistan and India was at war, US not only brought a UNSC resolution against India but also sent the nuclear armed 7th fleet to bomb India.

USSR not only defeated this resolution but also sent its own nuclear submarines to scare 7th fleet away which soon turned back as soon as it sighted Russian submarines. After USSR dismantled, Russia has assiduously maintained the relationship as its successor state.

If you step on the streets in India, you will find 90% Indians supportive of Russia. This is a relationship not built in a day. Indian PM and Russian President have an annual summit once a year to keep it going. Ukraine did all the wrong things to piss off India. It voted in favor of sanctions against India whem India did nuclear tests and voted against India’s permanent membership of UNSC. To make it worse , it sells weapons to India’s sworn enemy Pakistan. This is unfogivable. No Indian can overlook this.

Russia on the other hand has consciously denied any military sales to Pakistan with India’s security concerns in mind. India still depends on Russia for critical military supplies. Its war winning military platforms like Brahmos and S400 are either partly or fully Russia supplied. Russia also helped India build nuclear submarines by sharing technology, something US has consistently denied to India even after becoming a “strategic partner”.

No Indian in their hearts trusts America due to old cold war baggage and given America’s notorious track record in picking and dumping allies at short notice. To make it worse, there are consistent attempts in American press and Democratic Party to defame and demonize Indian government. Not a day goes by when there is not something Hinduphobic or anti-India being published in American press, NGO space, and academia. There are elements in American deep state and public space hell bent on destroying America’s relationship with India. Indians watch all this going on in America with deep concern and this impacts relationship in more than one way. It will be strategic blunder for India to abandon Russia for a vague American promise.

And then here is a peek into history. Ukraine opposed India’s candidacy for permanent seat to UN. Again opposed India’s stance on Kashmir. Helped Pakistan with tanks to be used against India.

Recently, the Ukraine envoy in India talked about how Mr. Modi can successfully intervene in the current crisis. Modi too made a statement that Russia must end violence with Ukraine and instead opt for peaceful negotiations. Yet it’s same Ukraine that signed agreement to beef up Pakistan war tanks and sell its advanced tanks. Where did they think Pakistan was going to use those tanks? Iran? Afghanistan?…so nations can’t act myopic to serve their self interests and then turn around and act indignant when the countries that could have been harmed by their business decisions weigh their own interests.

I am saying all this to point out a simple fact that a country should choose it’s words carefully in international diplomacy. Since Ukraine’s agreement and its standing with Nato didn’t help avoid attack by Russia. And it’s strong anti India stance does not help Ukraine when it has to request help from India. By abstaining from a vote against Russia, India is saying the fault or shortcomings are on both sides and thus Russia and the West should sit across the table and resolve their issues.

Also it’s an opportunity to drive home the point that UN is irrelevant and ineffective institution created by the big boys club to squeeze smaller countries while they are free to make and break rules as they please when it comes to their interests. It would be interesting to see what UN does to meaningfully hurt Russia, else the UN resolution on Kashmir and it’s repeated interference in India’s affairs belongs in the same bin as their resolution condemning Russia.

UAE needs Russian cooperation to control crude oil prices and not allow it to become Iranian ally. This is why they did not go against Russia. While India’s abstention in UNSC vote today to condemn Russia’s action makes sense, China’s abstention was unexpected. But more interesting was UAE’s abstention, which is a message to Washington. The Emiratis seem displeased with the Biden administration and are diversifying.

This diversification transcends beyond the UAE’s multilayered ties with Moscow. In 2021, Russia/UAE annual bilateral trade was over $4B. The phone call early this week between the Russian and Emirati foreign ministers emphasized strengthening ties. The UAE has increasingly pursued a “zero-problem” regional policy—much of which was expedited after the Afghan debacle. Senior Emirati leaders have since visited Tehran, Ankara, Damascus, Doha, and Baghdad. And to Washington’s dismay, UAE has also engaged with Bashar al-Assad.

While UAE cares about the F-35 deal, it swiftly replaced it with 80 French Rafale jets deal. To address its Iran-linked missile/drone threat, it signed $3.5B deal with South Korea for surface-to-air missiles. It now plans to buy 12 L-15 jets from China, so the UN vote was no surprise. In future too, many will rethink the positions from the neutral perspective based on interests.


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