EXTERNAL AFFAIRS Minister S Jaishankar on Thursday hit out at Russia and China, without naming them, as he spoke at the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) session on Ukraine. This is one of his toughest statements on Russia in the last seven months, since the invasion of Ukraine.
Recalling Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s emphasis to Russian President Vladimir Putin that “this cannot be an era of war”, Jaishankar said: “Let me emphasise that even in conflict situations, there can be no justification for violation of human rights or of international law. Where any such acts occur, it is imperative that they are investigated in an objective and independent manner. This was the position we took with regard to the killings in Bucha, and this is the position we take even today. The Council will also recall that we had then supported calls for an independent investigation into the Bucha incident.”
He also flagged that the “nuclear issue is a particular anxiety”, in the backdrop of Putin’s thinly-veiled threat of nuclear options.
In a reference to Beijing’s decision to block the listing of terrorists, Jaishankar said: “The fight against impunity is critical to the larger pursuit of securing peace and justice. The Security Council must send an unambiguous and unequivocal message on this count. Politics should never ever provide cover to evade accountability. Nor indeed to facilitate impunity. Regrettably, we have seen this of late in this very chamber, when it comes to sanctioning of some of the world’s most dreaded terrorists. If egregious attacks committed in broad daylight are left unpunished, this Council must reflect on the signals we are sending on impunity. There must be consistency if we are to ensure credibility.”
The session, which was chaired by French Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs Catherine Colonna, was attended by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, UK Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs James Cleverly, and foreign ministers of other UNSC members.
Earlier this month, China put a hold on a proposal moved at the United Nations by the US and co-supported by India to designate Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorist Sajid Mir, wanted for his involvement in the 26/11 Mumbai terrorist attacks, as a global terrorist.
In August, China had put a hold on a proposal by the US and India to blacklist Abdul Rauf Azhar, the brother of Jaish-e Mohammed (JeM) chief Masood Azhar and a senior leader of the Pakistan-based terror organisation. Abdul Rauf, born in 1974 in Pakistan, was sanctioned by the US in December 2010.
And, in June this year, China had put a hold, at the last moment, on a joint proposal by India and the US to list Pakistan-based terrorist Abdul Rehman Makki under the 1267 Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee of the UN Security Council.
On the situation in Ukraine, Jaishankar said: “The trajectory of the Ukraine conflict is a matter of profound concern for the entire international community. The future outlook appears even more disturbing. The nuclear issue is a particular anxiety.”
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“In a globalised world, the impact of the conflict is being felt even in distant regions. We have all experienced its consequences in terms of surging costs and actual shortages of foodgrains, fertilisers and fuel. On this score too, there are good grounds to be worried about what awaits us. The global south, especially, is feeling the pain very acutely. We must therefore not initiate measures that further complicate the struggling global economy and that is why India strongly reiterates the need for an immediate cessation of all hostilities and a return to dialogue and diplomacy. Clearly, as Prime Minister Narendra Modi has emphasised, this cannot be an era of war. On our part, we are also providing both humanitarian assistance to Ukraine and economic support to some of our neighbours under economic distress.”
He underlined that the “need of the hour is to end this conflict in Ukraine and return to the negotiating table”. “This Council is the most powerful contemporary symbol of diplomacy. It must continue to live up to its purpose. The global order that we all subscribe to, is based on international law, UN Charter and respect for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of all States. These principles too must be upheld, without exception,” he said.