India's tightrope walk on the Ukraine standoff today got more challenging as Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered military operation inside the neighbouring state.
Speaking at the emergency meeting of the UN Security Council on the Russia-Ukraine crisis, India's Permanent Representative to the UN, Ambassador TS Tirumurti, warned that the situation is in danger of "spiralling into a major crisis".
Ambassador Tirumurti added that there is a risk to the "peace and security of the region", if the situation in not handled carefully. He reiterated India's position of peaceful means to settle disputes, and said, "India has consistently advocated at the United Nations the need for peaceful settlement of disputes in accordance with international law and with agreements entered into by parties concerned."
India called for "de-escalation of tensions, and emphasised on diplomacy to address all issues concerning the situation". As has been India's position, Ambassador Tirumurti reaffirmed the "call to exert greater efforts to bridge divergent interests". He talked about the "legitimate security interests" of all parties, which should be taken into consideration.
This is also a throwback to 2014 when New Delhi abstained from voting on a UN general Assembly resolution to condemn Russia’s annexation of Crimea. India had even opposed the imposition of sanctions on Russia by the US and its allies over the Crimean invasion.
New Delhi has excellent, and expanding ties with Washington, and is an important member in the Quad (along with the US, Australia and Japan) that seeks to counter China’s expansionist agenda in the Indo-Pacific. At the same time, India cherishes the decades-old India-Russia bonds which preclude any move by New Delhi to side with the West in what is essentially an eastern European conflict.India is intently watching the crisis unfold, even as oil prices have topped $100 per barrel. India imports about 85 percent of its crude oil needs and about half of its natural gas requirement. Moody’s had earlier said, that the Asia-Pacific region has limited direct exposure to Russian or Ukrainian entities. Nonetheless, the region may not be immune to the second-round effects of a conflict.