India has once again abstained from voting in a UN General Assembly resolution that condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which started a year ago.
The motion was backed by 141 nations with 32 abstaining and seven, including Russia, voting against it.
India reiterated its position on the invasion, saying that peaceful dialogue was the only way out.
Delhi has increasingly faced pressure to take a firm stand on Russia.
Many countries, including the US and Ukraine, have publicly appealed to Delhi to take a clear stand and “do the right thing”.
But India has resisted the pressure and continued with its strategy of not criticising Russia directly. It has abstained from similar resolutions both at the UNGA and at the UNSC in the past.
The two countries have a decades-old trusted relationship since the Cold War. Russia is also India’s largest arms supplier even though its share has dropped in recent years largely due to Delhi’s decision to boost domestic defence manufacturing and a widening imports portfolio.
The two countries also have a history of diplomatic co-operation – Moscow has vetoed UNSC resolutions over the disputed region of Kashmir.
Delhi, however, has talked about the importance of “the UN Charter, international law, and respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of states” in its past statements on Ukraine.
At the UN vote on Friday, India’s permanent representative to the UN, Ruchira Kamboj, said “no solution can ever arrive at the cost of human lives”.
The UN motion in New York called for immediate peace and reaffirmed support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, rejecting any Russian claims to the parts of the country it occupies.
In September, MPs in Moscow voted to illegally annex four regions of Ukraine.
The UN also demanded “that the Russian Federation immediately, completely and unconditionally withdraw all of its military forces from the territory of Ukraine within its internationally recognized borders” and called for a cessation of hostilities.
Besides India, China, Iran and South Africa were among the 32 countries to abstain in the vote.
The seven countries who voted against it were Russia, Belarus, North Korea, Eritrea, Mali, Nicaragua and Syria.