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India Strongly Calls For Immediate Cessation Of Hostilities, Return To Dialogue In Ukraine: EAM Jaishankar

Military and diplomatic pressure is mounting on Russian President Vladimir Putin as partners India and China publicly urge him to make peace in Ukraine.

External Affairs Minister  S Jaishankar
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar PTI

Minister of External Affairs S Jaishankar on Thursday told the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) that India calls for the immediate cessation of all hostilities and a return to dialogue and diplomacy. 

Jaishankar further said that the "nuclear issue is a particular anxiety" in Ukraine. Notably, the comment comes a day after Russian President Vladimir Putin threatened the world with the use of nuclear weapons in Ukraine and said that he was not bluffing in saying that. 

Jaishankar's comments further underline the Indian committment to the peaceful resolution of the Ukraine crisis, which began on February 24 when Putin ordered the invasion of Ukraine, dubbed as a "special military operation". At the recently-concluded Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Summit, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had told Putin that this is "not an era of war". His comments were picked up by the global press and were seen as Indian disappointment with the Russian invasion of Ukraine. 

"The trajectory of the Ukraine conflict is a matter of profound concern for the entire international community. The future outlook appears even more disturbing. The nuclear issue is a particular anxiety," said Jaishankar at the UNSC briefing on Ukraine.

The briefing was chaired by French Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs Catherine Colonna. It was held on Thursday as world leaders gathered in the UN headquarters for the high-level 77th session of the UN General Assembly. 

Addressing the Council briefing were UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, and UK Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs James Cleverly and Foreign Ministers of other UNSC members.

Jaishankar said that in a globalised world, the impact of the conflict is being felt even in distant regions. 

"We have all experienced its consequences in terms of surging costs and actual shortages of food grains, fertilizers and fuel. On this core too, there are good grounds to be worried about what awaits us," said Jaishankar.

He said the Global South, especially, is feeling the pain very acutely. 

"We must therefore not initiate measures that further complicates the struggling global economy. That is why India strongly reiterates the need for an immediate cessation of all hostilities and a return to dialogue and diplomacy," said Jaishankar.

Referring to Modi's remark to Putin on the sidelines of the SCO Summit, Jaishankar said at the UNSC: "Clearly, as Prime Minister Narendra Modi has emphasized, this cannot be an era of war. On our part, we are also providing both humanitarian assistance to Ukraine and economic support to some of our neighbours under economic stress."

Jaishankar emphasised that the "need of the hour is to end this conflict in Ukraine and return to the negotiating table". 

He added, "This Council is the most powerful contemporary symbol of diplomacy. It must continue to live up to its purpose. The global order that we all subscribe to is based on international law, UN Charter and respect for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of all states. These principles too must be upheld, without exception."

India has not outight condemned the Russian invasion of Ukraine and it has been maintaining that the crisis must be resolved through diplomacy and dialogue. India has also continued to purchase Russian oil as the West shuns it saying income from selling Russian oil funds the war in Ukraine. India has been criticised heavily in the West for continuing to purchase Russian oil.

On Wednesday, Jaishankar met Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal at the UN headquarters in New York and apprised him of India's principled position that emphasises cessation of all hostilities and return to dialogue and diplomacy.

Ahead of his remarks, Jaishankar reminded the Council that India is not a signatory to the Rome Statute nor a member of the International Criminal Court.

Guterres voiced deep concern that Russia’s war in Ukraine shows no sign of letting up. 

He said, "The past seven months have seen unspeakable suffering and devastation. The latest developments are dangerous and disturbing. They are further steps away from any prospect of peace – and towards an endless cycle of horror and bloodshed."

Guterres further said that the "senseless war has unlimited potential to do terrible harm – in Ukraine, and around the world". 

He added, "The idea of nuclear conflict, once unthinkable, has become a subject of debate. This in itself is totally unacceptable. All nuclear-armed states should recommit to the non-use and total elimination of nuclear weapons."

Putin on Wednesday announced a "partial mobilisation" of some 3,00,000 reservists with immediate effect in the wake of setbacks suffered by Russia in its raging conflict with Ukraine, saying it was necessary as Moscow is fighting the "entire military machine of the collective West".

Putin made the announcement in a televised address to the nation in which he also said that Russia will use all the means at its disposal to protect its territory, warning the West that "this is not a bluff". This has been understood as a reference to nuclear weapons. 

Ukrainian forces earlier this month launched a counter-offensive in Eastern Ukraine. In recent weeks, Ukrainian forces have made stunning victories in the East and have captured key Russian logistics and military hubs, forcing Russia to flee from their positions. Thousands of square kilometres of land held by the Russians for over six months have been recovered by Ukraine in the counter-offensive.

The stretched-out frontline, the constant shelling of Russian borderline areas by the Ukrainian military and attacks on liberated regions required the call-up of servicemen from the reserve, Putin said in his address. His speech comes a day after the Lugansk and Donetsk People’s Republics, as well as Russian-controlled Kherson and Zaporozhye regions on Tuesday announced that they would hold referendums on whether to join Russia from September 23-27.  

Guterres said he is also deeply concerned by reports of plans to organise so-called "referenda" in areas of Ukraine that are currently not under government control. 

"Any annexation of a State’s territory by another State resulting from the threat or use of force is a violation of the UN Charter and of international law," said Guterres.

(With PTI inputs)

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