United Nations/New Delhi:
India has said de-escalation of Russia-Ukraine tensions should be an immediate priority and that “all sides” should exercise “utmost restraint” as it told a UN meeting the mounting crisis can only be resolved through diplomatic dialogue.
“We cannot afford to have a military escalation,” India’s Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador TS Tirumurti told an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council on Ukraine on Monday night, and voiced “deep concern” over the escalation of tensions along the Russia-Ukraine border.
Mr Tirumurti also said these developments have the potential to undermine peace and security of the region.
Noting that the safety and security of civilians are essential, he said more than 20,000 Indian students and nationals live and study in different parts of Ukraine, including in its border areas. “The well-being of Indian nationals is of priority to us.”
The Indian embassy in Ukraine also made a fresh appeal on Tuesday to Indian students to leave that country temporarily.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, meanwhile, asserted India stands for peace and that the Ukrainian crisis should be resolved through talks.
“India wants peace to be established in any way. We are sure that when talks take place, some way or the other will come out,” Singh told reporters on the sidelines of an election meeting at Banshi Bazar in Ballia in Uttar Pradesh.
When asked about India’s stand, he said, “We want peace. We have always been in favour of world peace.” Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said the Russia-Ukraine crisis and the ensuing jump in global crude prices are a challenge to financial stability in India.
The two issues were discussed at the meeting of Financial Stability Development Council (FSDC), which comprises all the financial sector regulators, Ms Sitharaman told reporters in Mumbai.
“International worrisome situations where we actually voiced that we want a diplomatic solution for the situation that is developing in Ukraine… all these are headwinds,” Ms Sitharaman said.
Trade has not been impacted because of the geopolitical tensions but the government is keeping a close watch on the same and it is careful that the exporters should not suffer, she added.
President Putin on Monday signed decrees to recognise Ukraine’s regions of “Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics” as “independent”, escalating the tension in the region and increasing fears of Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine. He also ordered Russian troops into eastern Ukraine in what the Kremlin called a “peacekeeping” mission in the Moscow-backed regions.
Ambassador Tirumurti told the UN meeting that India has been closely following the evolving developments relating to Ukraine, including developments along the eastern border of Ukraine and the related announcement by the Russian Federation.
“The escalation of tension along the border of Ukraine with the Russian Federation is a matter of deep concern. These developments have the potential to undermine peace and security of the region,” he said.
“We call for restraint on all sides. The immediate priority is de-escalation of tensions taking into account the legitimate security interests of all countries and aimed towards securing long term peace and stability in the region and beyond.” Ambassador Tirumurti strongly emphasised 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.
“We are convinced that this issue can only be resolved through diplomatic dialogue. We need to give space to the recent initiatives undertaken by parties which seek to diffuse tensions,” Mr Tirumurti said, adding that in this context, India welcomes the intense efforts underway, 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.” Mr Tirumurti emphasised that the Minsk Agreements provide a basis for a negotiated and peaceful settlement and “we need greater efforts to find common ground to facilitate the implementation of the provisions of the Minsk Agreements, including key security and political aspects.” He also said India has emphasised “time and again” constructive diplomacy is the need of the hour to avoid scaling up of tensions.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)