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India votes against Russia in UNSC during procedural vote on Ukraine

  • Published
    27th Aug, 2022
Context

India for the first time voted against Russia during a “procedural vote” at the United Nations Security Council on Ukraine.

India currently is a non-permanent member of the UNSC for a two-year term, which ends in December.

About

What did India vote for (just for inviting Ukrainian President)?

  • India has voted for a procedural matter that Russiaopposed at the UN Security Council.
  • Going against Moscow's stance, India joined 12 other members of the Council to vote for inviting Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to speak via a remote video link.
  • While speaking at the meeting, India's Permanent Representative Ruchira Kamboj stuck to New Delhi's distinctive version of neutrality in the Ukraine conflict.

On the 31st anniversary of Ukraine's independence, the UN Security Council met to assess the six-month-old conflict. 

India’s Stand:

  • India has not criticised Russia for its aggression against Ukraine. It is still on its ‘NEUTRAL’ approach.
  • It wants both the countries to return to the path of diplomacy and dialogue.
  • It has also expressed its support for all diplomatic efforts to end the conflict between the two countries.

Points highlighted by Ukrainian President

  • Zelensky, demanded that the Russian Federation be held accountable for its actions against Ukraine.
  • The Ukrainian President called on Russia to cease its “nuclear blackmail” and completely withdraw from the plan.

What West wanted from India?

  • The West has been trying to lead a united, multilateral effort to criticise Russia.
  • They knew that failing to swing India to their side would create a diplomatic loophole for Russia to exploit.
  • The West also wants to discourage India from buying Russian oil.
  • The West is aware of the nature of India’s dependence on Russian arms.
    • The US, for instance, has hinted that it is ready to provide India with alternatives to encourage New Delhi’s diversification of military supplies and lessen its reliance on Russian weapons systems.

What does India want?

Balance between China, Russia and West: India’s core interest lies in balancing China and nurturing strategic partnerships with both the West and Russia.

Why India’s neutral approach is beneficial?

  • Emerging as an important state: With its neutral approach India has emerged as a big, strategically important swing state has invited a lot of global attention.
  • Making best out of all: India has showcased fullest expression of strategic autonomy.
    • It is a posture that relies on diplomatic activism, geopolitical pragmatism, prioritizing national interests over bloc politics and maintaining good relationships with all sides so that these relationships can be leveraged to eke out the best possible outcome for India, even amid moments of global turmoil.
  • Maximise policy space: Strategic autonomy is also an attempt to maximise policy space.
  • Avoiding constraints: India sees bloc politics as a constraint on its actions and choices.

India’s interests in Russia (What explains India’s muted criticisms of Russia)

  • Two factors: The relationship with Russia is vital for India for a variety of reasons.
    • Oil, energy opportunities
    • reliance on Russian arms and legacy systems
  • To wean Russia’s dependence on China: India may also be mute in its criticism of Russia in an attempt to mollify Russia and wean it off its increasing dependence on China.
    • The India-Russia strategic relationship has weakened as China-Russia relations have strengthened.
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