Even as the UN General Assembly dealt Russia a devastating diplomatic blow by suspending it from the Human Rights Council, India remained neutral in the matter, abstaining from voting.
Russia, however, announced its voluntary withdrawal from the 47-member Council immediately following the vote on Thursday.
“We believe that no solution can be arrived at by shedding blood and at the cost of innocent lives. If India has chosen any side, it is the side of peace and it is for an immediate end to violence,” T.S. Tirumurti, the Permanent Representative, remarked.
He explained that India was abstaining for both substantive and procedural reasons.
Simultaneously, New Delhi, which is also a member of the Council, refused to vote for the suspension despite pressure from the US and the West.
India has abstained for the eighth time on UN actions relating to Ukraine, since January.
“Recent reports of civilian killings in Bucha are deeply disturbing. We have unequivocally condemned these killings and support the call for an independent investigation”, Tirumurti remarked.
He did, however, say about the resolution, “we firmly believe that all decisions should be taken fully respecting due process, as all our democratic polity and structures enjoin us to do. This applies to international organisations as well, particularly the UN.”
Several countries abstained, claiming that suspending Russia before an investigation into the atrocities authorised by the Council was complete was premature.
Watch | India’s neutrality on test at United Nations General Assembly
Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brazil, Egypt, Indonesia, Iraq, Malaysia, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, Sri Lanka, and the United Arab Emirates were among those who abstained.
Libya was the only Member State to be suspended from the Geneva-based Human Rights Council in 2011 when the General Assembly passed an unprecedented resolution expressing deep concern about the human rights situation in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya in the wake of Muammar Al-Qadhafi’s violent crackdown on anti-government protestors.
(With inputs from agencies)