Unlike rest of the Quad members, India has not condemned the Russian invasion of Ukraine at the United Nations Security Council so far.
Australia’s High Commissioner to India, Barry O’Farrell has said that Quad member countries have accepted India’s position on the crisis in Ukraine and that it is clear Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been using his contacts to try and bring an end to conflict in that country.
His comments came a day before Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and his Indian counterpart are to meet for a virtual summit with Ukraine on the agenda. There has been some concern in the West over India’s position on the conflict.
“The Quad countries have accepted India’s position. We understand that each country has bilateral relationship, and it is clear from the comments of the MEA (Ministry of External Affairs) and Prime Minister Modi himself that he has used his contacts to call for the end of the conflict and no country will be unhappy with that,” the Australian High Commissioner told reporters.
Unlike rest of the Quad members, the US, Japan and Australia, India has not condemned the Russian invasion of Ukraine and has been calling for the crisis to be resolved through dialogue and diplomacy.
According to certain diplomatic sources, India’s position on Ukraine reflects India’s first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru’s policy in 1957 which stressed more on creating space to resolve conflicts rather than direct condemnation. The source reiterated that India’s current stance on Ukraine is based on that policy laid down by Nehru 65 years ago.
The source further referred to Japanese Prime Minister, Fumio Kishida’s call seeking Modi’s help in convincing Vladimir Putin to maintain an open international border, as an illustration of India’s significance in the world.
The Japanese PM met Mr. Modi on Saturday for a summit meeting where Ukraine was one of the issues discussed.
India has continued to walk a thin line on the Ukraine-Russia conflict even as several countries across the globe have deplored President Putin for his invasion of its neighbour. Unlike rest of the Quad alliance, India had abstained from voting in the United Nations Security Council, condemning Russia’s actions, and has been one of the very few countries to go ahead and buy oil from Russia.
Indian Oil Corp recently ordered 3 million barrels of Russian oil through a tender, while Hindustan Petroleum Corp has also booked 2 million barrels for May loading.
The White House Press Secretary, Jen Psaki had said last week that India taking the Russian offer of discounted crude oil would not be a violation of the US sanctions on Moscow, but he did emphasise that countries need to also think about “where you want to stand” on the Russian action.
Mr. Modi has talked to Russian President Putin over the phone three times and also spoken to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy twice since the conflict began.
Meanwhile Pakistan Prime Minister, Imran Khan, on Sunday complimented India for its “independent foreign policy”, saying that the neighbouring country continues to buy oil from sanctions-hit Russia for the betterment of its people.
“I laud India today… they have always had an independent foreign policy. India is part of the Quad alliance with US … and it calls itself neutral. “It is buying oil from Russia despite global sanctions because their policy is for the betterment of the people,” PM Khan said.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Sunday said his country would continue to condemn Russia’s “unprovoked, unjustified invasion” of Ukraine and to call on Russia to immediately withdraw its forces from Ukrainian territory in line with the legally binding decision of the International Court of Justice.
He told reporters that Russia’s actions are a gross violation of international law and the principles that support a rules-based order that favours freedom. “What happens in Ukraine does not just affect Europe. As we’re seeing here in Australia, it affects…the rules-based order upon which our own region depends,” he said at the news conference. Australia’s High Commissioner to India, Barry O’Farrell had noted that at the Quad leaders’ summit in February, all members had recognised that each country has a different perspective on the Ukraine crisis because of their own bilateral relationships with the two countries involved in the conflict.