India's position on Ukraine conflict 'steadfast and consistent', says Jaishankar

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar. Photo:PTI|File

New Delhi: India on Thursday said its position on the Russia-Ukraine conflict has been "steadfast and consistent" and that it stood for peace, and also asserted there is no question of linking the Ukraine situation to issues of trade.

Stating that India's stand on the conflict that entered the second month is based on six principles, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar further said that the government is examining various trade-related aspects, including those related to payments. He noted that the crude oil imported from Russia is very little.

In the context of the unfolding developments in Ukraine, India has been emphasising that the global order is anchored on international law, the UN Charter and respect for territorial integrity and sovereignty of states, he added.

Jaishankar was replying to a question and supplementaries on the Ukraine situation during the Question Hour in the Rajya Sabha.

"India's position on the Ukraine conflict has been steadfast and consistent. We have expressed deep concern at the worsening situation and called for an immediate cessation of violence and end to all hostilities," he said.

Jaishankar's comments came in the backdrop of increasing disquiet in the West over India not criticising Russia for its invasion of Ukraine and abstaining from voting at the UN Security Council in condemning the Russian attack.

"In our conversations with global leaders at the highest levels, we have emphasised to all member States of the UN that the global order is anchored on international law, UN Charter and respect for territorial integrity and sovereignty of states," he said.

Regarding India's stand on the conflict, the minister stated, "Our position is not that, this is not our problem. Our position is that we are for peace.

"When the Prime Minister spoke to Presidents (of Russia and Ukraine), the intent obviously at that time was the evacuation of students..but there was a larger conversation on what we could do which lead to the cessation of hostilities and return of dialogue and diplomacy. I think today that sentiment is widely shared by many countries. We have articulated it very strongly".

On trade amid the Russia-Ukraine crisis, he said, "Indian foreign policy decisions are made in Indian national interest and we are guided by our thinking, views and interests. So, there is no question of linking Ukraine situation to issues of trade".

India's position on Ukraine is based on six principles, the minister told the Upper House.

Firstly, India calls for an immediate cessation of violence and hostilities. India stands for peace.

Secondly, India believes that there is no other way than the return through the path of dialogue and diplomacy.

Thirdly, India recognised that global order is anchored on law, UN Charter and respect for territorial integrity and sovereignty of all states.

Fourthly, India calls for humanitarian access to a conflict situation.

Fifthly, India gives humanitarian assistance. The nation has given 90 tonnes of humanitarian assistance so far. India is looking at providing more, especially medicines.

Lastly, India is in touch with the leadership of both Russia and Ukraine. The Prime Minister himself has spoken to the Presidents of both countries.

Jaishankar noted that Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke with the leadership of Russia, Ukraine, and its neighbours as well other major world leaders since the unfolding of the crisis.

"He conveyed our considered view to all parties concerned that there is no other choice but the path of diplomacy and dialogue," the minister said.

"In these conversations, the prime minister expressed deep concern about the ongoing conflict and resultant humanitarian crisis. The prime minister reiterated his call for immediate cessation of violence and noted that India has always stood for peaceful resolution of issues and direct dialogue between the two parties."

Replying to a supplementary, Jaishankar said, "Because of the emerging problem in dealing with Russia, the Government is examining various aspects, including the payment aspect".

He told the House that there is a group within the government representing different ministries led by the finance ministry to examine these matters.

As regard to oil trade with Russia, Jaishankar stated, "We import very little (crude) oil from Russia. It is less than one per cent of our imports. Many countries import even 20 times more oil than we do (from Russia)".


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