India breaks streak of UN abstentions on Ukraine, votes in opposition to Russia

Although this was the first time India had not abstained on a matter linked to Ukraine and voted with the West, a diplomatic source played down its significance

Arul Louis Aug 25, 2022
India’s Permanent Representative Ruchira Kamboj speaks at the United Nations Security Council meeting on Ukraine on Wednesday, August 24, 2022. (Photo Source: UN)

Breaking its streak of strategic abstentions on votes over Ukraine, India Wednesday joined 12 other members of the UN Security Council to vote on Wednesday to invite Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky to speak through a remote video link, a move that Russia opposed.

China abstained on the vote and Russia naturally voted against the invitation, but because it was a procedural matter it did not count as a veto.

When the meeting began, Russia’s Permanent Representative Vassily Nbenzia, objecting to Zelensky's video link arrangement, demanded he should come in person to the Council chamber and asked for the vote, which ended up showing Moscow’s isolation.

Although this was the first time India had not abstained on a matter linked to Ukraine and voted with the West, a diplomatic source played down its significance.

The source said Wednesday’s vote was different from the issues India had abstained on and those were more substantial. 

“It was (only) for or against Zelensky’s participation” in the meeting through a video link, the source pointed out.

While speaking at the meeting, India's Permanent Representative Ruchira Kamboj stuck to New Delhi's distinctive version of neutrality in the Ukraine conflict.

The meeting took place on a day of twin import for Ukraine – its independence day as well as the half-year mark for the Russian invasion

Allowed to speak by video link after the vote, Zelensky warned that the world’s security depended on how Russia’s invasion was handled.

“It is on the territory of Ukraine that the world’s future will be decided,” Zelensky said, “our independence is your security”.

Kamboj did not name Russia as she spoke of the war’s toll on Ukraine and its impact on the rest of the world.

Nor did she offer overt support for Ukraine while mentioning the humanitarian help India has rendered Ukraine.

"The conflict has resulted in loss of lives and countless miseries for its peoples, particularly for women, children and elderly, with millions becoming homeless and forced to take shelter in neighbouring countries”, she said, calling for an immediate end to the violence.

“We encourage talks between Ukraine and Russia (and) Prime Minister Narendra Modi has himself, more than once, spoken to them, in this regard”, she said.

Modi has spoken to Presidents Vladimir Putin of Russia and Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine asking them to hold talks for a peaceful resolution of the conflict.

Nbenzia blamed what he called Ukraine’s senseless “crusade” for the conflict and claimed that  Russia launched the “special operation” because of threats from it.


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