World unites to fight for Ukraine, but co-sponsorship at UNSC tells a different story – India Today

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Ukraine is fighting to preserve its sovereignty and territorial integrity. Russia and the West, at the same time, are fighting a war for global supremacy. It is now visible that out of the two, it is the erstwhile Soviet state that has lost much since Russian troops set foot on Ukrainian soil.
On Friday, the UN Security Council (UNSC) put a US/Albania-backed resolution against Russia to vote.
Eleven of the fifteen members of the Council voted in favour of the resolution that “deplored” in the strongest terms Russia’s aggression against Ukraine. The Asian bloc in the Council – China, India and UAE – abstained from the vote.
READ: Ukraine’s President rules out peace talks with Russia in Belarus, open to other locations
It is also important to note that the resolution was opened up to all the 193 UN member-states to sponsor but only 81 countries co-sponsored the resolution. This speaks volumes of how the Russia-Ukraine conflict is being perceived.
The UN Security Council vote was ultimately vetoed by Russia and therefore, could not be passed.
The next step would be to move the motion at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) where it would undoubtedly pass with a majority.
Referring to the UNSC vote, India’s former envoy to the United Nations, Ambassador Syed Akbaruddin said, “The trend line is clear. The outcome will be a comfortable majority in favour of the US in the General Assembly. If nothing else, it reflects global sentiments and adds to a dominant narrative.”
Let’s now look at the numbers at the UNSC vote on Russian aggression in Ukraine:
A simple look at the co-sponsorship data gives one the broad idea that this is primarily a war over Ukraine between the West (Europe and NATO) and Russia.
In response to a question about why the co-sponsorship was less than 50 per cent, Ambassador Akbaruddin said, “The co-sponsorship of 81 for a contentious Security Council initiative is a high number for one needs to account for the paucity of time, limited interests and other constraints of smaller UN delegations.”
It is true that co-sponsorships for contentious issues are never very high because many countries may not agree with every bit of the text in the resolution and may have to get every single amendment cleared by their headquarters.
But when countries are asked to vote, they normally side with the overall sense of the house.
READ: Russia-Ukraine war: Has Moscow replaced Beijing as the West’s enemy?
For example, the 2014 UN resolution in response to the Russian annexation of Crimea titled “Territorial integrity of Ukraine”, obtained 100 votes in support. Eleven nations voted against the resolution, while 58 abstained, and a further 24 states were absent when the vote took place.
The resolution was introduced by Canada, Costa Rica, Germany, Lithuania, Poland and Ukraine.
Even back then, adoption of the resolution was preceded by unsuccessful attempts at the United Nations Security Council, which convened seven sessions to address the Crimean crisis, only to face a Russian veto.
There is little doubt that the global community is outraged by the Russian invasion of Ukraine. But is everybody convinced of the stand taken by Europe and the US?
Questions also persist on why NATO decided against military intervention at a time when the Ukrainian President is putting his own life on the line to side with the West.
Despite European sanctions against Russia, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Friday called out the ‘leaders of Europe’ over their silence on Ukraine’s NATO membership. He said, “Today, I asked the 27 leaders of Europe whether Ukraine will be in NATO. I asked directly. Everyone is afraid, does not answer.”
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) has become the focal point of Russia’s war against Ukraine. While the US had promised a stern response to the Russian invasion, no NATO boots are being sent to Kyiv since Ukraine is not a member of NATO.
India, on its part, is facing the most difficult foreign policy choice since the Cold War. The concept of ‘neutrality’ is redundant when two sides are at war. It is worse when both sides are your friends and there is a lot of interdependence between India and both, the West and Russia.
Former Deputy National Security Advisor Pankaj Saran, who also served as India’s envoy to Russia, weighed in on the issue.
He wrote on Twitter, “Russia-Ukraine continues to dominate and the discourse is finding its true level – whose side is India on. We are on our side. The cyclical bursts of Cold War antagonism are tiresome. There is another world out there.”
“The Ukraine issue has taken a new dimension in just 24 hours. Fully endorse India’s statement in the Security Council. The “old world” needs a sane voice,” Former Deputy NSA Pankaj Saran added in another tweet.
Explaining its decision to abstain from the vote, India said diplomacy is the only way to end this crisis.
India’s latest statement, however, did mention “sovereignty” and “territorial integrity”, unlike earlier remarks where New Delhi was hitting a more conciliatory note.
India’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Ambassador TS Tirumurti in the ‘Explanation of Vote’ (EOV) said, “The contemporary global order has been built on the UN Charter, international law and respect for the sovereignty of territorial integrity of states.
“Dialogue is the only answer to settling differences and disputes, however, daunting that may appear at this moment.”

#IndiainUNSC

UNSC’s consideration of the draft resolution on Ukraine

Watch: India’s Explanation of Vote by Permanent Representative @AmbTSTirumurti @MeaIndia pic.twitter.com/UB2L5JLuyS
India also expressed regret that the path of diplomacy was given up.
“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 from this resolution,” Ambassador Tirumurti explained.
While India is a non-permanent member of the UNSC, its stature has grown at the United Nations over the past few decades.
This is perhaps why the world is looking at India to emerge as the “sane” voice that would condemn the violence and violation of sovereignty even if geo-strategic compulsions constrain India from voting in favour of such resolutions.
Needless to say, abstaining but voicing loud condemnation of the Russian invasion of Ukraine could be the route India can take.

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