India called for direct contacts and negotiations between Russia and Ukraine to cease the hostilities between the two countries and said New Delhi has been and will continue to remain in touch with both Moscow and Kyiv.
India’s Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador R Ravindra said India continues to underline the need to respect the UN Charter, international law and the sovereignty and territorial integrity of States.
“India has been consistent in calling for an immediate end to all hostilities in Ukraine. Our Prime Minister has repeatedly called for an urgent ceasefire and that there is no other path left but of dialogue and diplomacy,” he said. Speaking at the UN Security Council briefing by Foreign Minister of Poland Zbigniew Rau, Chairperson-in-Office of Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), Ravindra said India calls for direct contacts and negotiations with a view to cease hostilities. “India has been in touch with both the Russian Federation and Ukraine and will continue to remain engaged. We continue to underline the need to respect the UN Charter, international law and the sovereignty and territorial integrity of states,” he said.
Voicing concern over the mounting human toll and the humanitarian situation in Ukraine, he said India undertook intensive and immediate steps to evacuate its nationals from conflict zones in Ukraine. “Till date, about 22,500 Indians have returned home safely. We are grateful to all our partners for their support in our evacuation efforts,” he said, as he thanked the Polish foreign minister for the generosity and help extended to Indian citizens, in their safe return from conflict zones in Ukraine. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has held several phone conversations with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and called for an immediate cessation of violence as well as concerted efforts from all sides to return to the path of diplomatic negotiations and dialogue.
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Ravindra said OSCE has been playing an important role in facilitating the implementation of the package of measures across both sides of the contact line in eastern Ukraine.
“However, recent developments in Ukraine and consequent deterioration of security situation have halted the functioning of the Special Monitoring Mission,” he said.
Russian President Vladimir Putin on February 24 announced a military operation in Ukraine and warned other countries that any attempt to interfere with the Russian action would lead to unprecedented consequences.
More than two weeks of war has created a humanitarian crisis in Ukraine that has accelerated in recent days. The United Nations estimates that over 2 million Ukrainians have fled their country, and the number is expected to grow.
Ravindra said India also supports OSCE Minsk Group’s continued efforts for a peaceful resolution of the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan.
“India believes that any lasting resolution of the conflict can only be achieved peacefully through diplomatic negotiations and we call on Parties to implement the agreement reached,” he said, noting with concern that steps that have been committed have yet to materialise.
Noting that the challenges confronting the OSCE community come from different sources, he said they include not only challenges to sovereignty but threats to peace from ethnic tensions and violent separatism within States.
“The OSCE, as the world’s largest security organisation, is also addressing some of the toughest transnational threats such as the proliferation of weapons, terrorism, cyber security, migration, environmental damage and drug trafficking,” he said.
”While noting the ongoing global counter-terrorism efforts and contributions of OSCE, we would like to take this opportunity to reiterate the importance of this issue. OSCE was among the first regional organisations to strongly condemn the terrorist attack on the Indian Parliament in 2001.OSCE needs to take into account such cross-border terrorist acts and other new and emerging threats,” he said.
India said in this context, the eight-point action plan on counter-terrorism proposed by External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar in January last year while addressing the Security Council, also “merits serious consideration” of the OSCE.
The action plan included a call to summon the political will and not justify terrorism, not glorify terrorists; no double standards and not to place blocks and holds on listing requests without any reason.