‘Dialogue is the only answer to settling differences and dispute’, India at UNSC

India voiced regret about collateral consequences of the Ukraine conflict

UNSC meeting (File) The United Nations Security Council holds a ministerial level meeting on the crisis in Ukraine at U.N. headquarters in New York | Reuters

As the Ukraine war continues unabated, India has said the international community must question why the Security Council, the UN's principal organ tasked with the primary responsibility to maintain international peace and security, has been rendered completely ineffective in resolving the ongoing conflict.

The remarks by Sanjay Verma, Secretary (West) in the Ministry of External Affairs, came while he was speaking at the UN Security Council open debate on ‘Upholding the purposes and principles of the UN Charter through effective multilateralism: maintenance of peace and security of Ukraine'.

He said the international community must pause and ask two pressing questions at the present juncture. “One, are we anywhere near a possible solution acceptable?”, Verma said in his remarks on Thursday. “And if not, why is it that the UN system, and particularly its principal organ, this very UN Security Council, mandated to primarily maintain international peace and security, rendered completely ineffective to the resolution of the ongoing conflict?”, he added. 

Verma underlined that for multilateralism to be effective, outdated and archaic structures need reform and reinventing, else, their credibility will always be on the wane. And unless we fix that systemic flaw, we will continue to be found wanting.

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy addressed the open debate Wednesday held under the Council Presidency of Albania, his first in-person address to the powerful 15-nation UN organ.

Ahead of the meeting, there was intense speculation of a possible confrontation between Zelenskyy and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov at the horse-shoe table but the Ukrainian leader left the Council soon after his speech and Lavrov came in later.

Verma reiterated India's continued concern over the situation in Ukraine and said Delhi has always advocated that no solution can ever be arrived at the cost of human lives. 

Underlining Prime Minister Narendra Modi's view that this is not an era of war and instead it is time for development and cooperation, Verma said the escalation of hostilities and violence is in no one's interest. "We have urged that all efforts be made for an immediate cessation of hostilities and an urgent return to the path of dialogue and diplomacy.”

He stressed that dialogue is the only answer to settling differences and disputes, however daunting that may appear at this moment. “The path to peace requires us to keep all channels of diplomacy open,” he said, adding that steps which endanger the possibility of dialogue and negotiations should be avoided.

India voiced regret that the collateral consequences of the conflict have led to rising prices of food, fuel and fertilizers, affecting the world at large and particularly the member states of the Global South, who have been left to fend for themselves.

“From our perspective, it is critical that their voices are heard and their legitimate concerns duly addressed,” Verma said, adding that India's G20 Presidency has ensured that some of these economic pitfalls faced by developing countries were brought to the forefront of the G20 Agenda. 

He emphasised that through a consensus-based approach, a road map was agreed upon under India's G20 Presidency that also provided solutions for countries facing debt distress. 

The G20 Leaders' Summit hosted by Modi in Delhi this month culminated in the successful adoption by consensus of a joint declaration. 

Verma said India's approach to the Ukraine conflict will continue to be people-centric and Delhi is providing both humanitarian assistance to Ukraine and economic support to some of India's neighbours in the Global South facing economic distress. Verma said it is vital that the international community continues to believe in the promise of diplomacy and that it eventually delivers. 

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