De-escalation, Indians' safety priorities: India at UNSC on Ukraine crisis
At an emergency meeting called by the United Nations Security Council on Tuesday, India said that de-escalation of tension along the Russia-Ukraine border is a "matter of deep concern." "These developments have the potential to undermine peace and security of the region," India's Permanent Representative to the United Nations, TS Tirumurti, said. India also expressed concern about the safety of its citizens in Ukraine.
Why does this story matter?
- The emergency meeting of the UNSC was called after Russian President Vladimir Putin recognized two rebel regions in eastern Ukraine as independent states.
- This has further escalated the ongoing military crisis along the Russia-Ukraine border.
- Western countries have been claiming that Moscow has amassed over one lakh troops near its border with Ukraine.
- However, Russia has denied any plans of invading Ukraine.
India supports efforts to diffuse tension
"We need to give space to the recent initiatives undertaken by parties which seek to defuse tensions," Tirumurti said while welcoming such efforts, including "through the Trilateral Contact Group and under the Normandy format." "We need Parties to exert greater efforts to bridge divergent interests. We cannot afford to have a military escalation," he added.
Well-being of Indians is our priority: Tirumurti
Tirumurti also raised concerns about the safety and security of Indians in Ukraine amid the heightening tensions. "Safety and security of civilians are essential," Tirumurti said, adding that over 20,000 Indian "students and nationals live and study in different parts of Ukraine, including in its border areas." "The well-being of Indians is of priority to us," he added.
'Mutually amicable solution to defuse tension'
"In conclusion, we strongly emphasize the vital need for all sides to maintain international peace and security by exercising the utmost restraint and intensifying diplomatic efforts to ensure that a mutually amicable solution is arrived at the earliest," Tirumurti said.
India on back foot on Russia's actions
Notably, India didn't condemn Putin's recognition of the two separatist regions of Ukraine--Donetsk and Luhansk. The use of the term "these developments" without naming Russia's actions can be seen as a diplomatic effort to remain neutral. By asking "all sides" to intensify diplomatic efforts to reach an amicable solution, India refrained from blaming anyone for not being cooperative.