India's position consistent: Foreign Secretary on Ukraine crisis
New Delhi: India's position on the crisis in Ukraine has been "consistent" and it has every reason to believe that it should be in touch with all parties concerned, Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla said on Sunday.
Referring to India's stand on the UN Security Council resolution on Friday, Shringla said it has definitely pointed out that "loss of human lives is not acceptable".
India abstained from voting on the resolution that condemned Russian aggression against Ukraine, but at the same time New Delhi called for respecting the "sovereignty and territorial integrity" of States and sought immediate cessation of "violence and hostilities".
"In the UN Security Council, we have conveyed deep regret at the evolving situation. We have also definitely pointed out that loss of human lives is not acceptable," Shringla said at a media briefing.
"But at the same, time we have said that diplomacy and dialogue are the only option. Clearly from that perspective. I think our position has been consistent when it comes to dealing with the current situation at hand," he said.
The foreign secretary was replying to a question on the issue.
"We have been engaged with all parties. The prime minister has spoken to presidents of Russia and Ukraine. The external affairs minister has been in touch with a very wide range of interlocutors who are involved in the situation," Shringla said.
The foreign secretary said he separately met with the envoys of Russia and Ukraine on Sunday.
"We are essentially a country that has not only interests in the region. We have friends, we have equities in the area. We have every reason to believe that we should be in touch with all concerned," he said.
"If we can play (a role), if there is any way that anyone can contribute, not just us but anyone can contribute to alleviating what is a difficult situation, I am sure they would do what it takes," he said.
Shringla was asked whether India was keen to play a role in defusing the crisis.
While abstaining from voting on the resolution, India issued an 'Explanation of Vote' (EoV) in which it called for "return to the path of diplomacy" and sought immediate cessation of "violence and hostilities".
India also told the UN Security Council that it has been in touch with all parties concerned urging them to return to the negotiating table.
"The contemporary global order has been built on the UN Charter, international law, and respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of states," India said in the EoV said.
"All member states need to honour these principles in finding a constructive way forward. Dialogue is the only answer to settling differences and disputes, however daunting that may appear at this moment," it said.
Russia used its veto power to block the US-sponsored resolution deploring in the "strongest terms" Russian "aggression" against Ukraine.
Besides India, China and the United Arab Emirates too abstained from voting.