India has said that it was deeply concerned over the deteriorating situation in Ukraine and reiterated its call for immediate cessation of violence and end to hostilities, saying all differences can only be bridged through honest, sincere and sustained dialogue.
India's Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador T S Tirumurti told a rare emergency special session of the UN General Assembly on Ukraine convened on Monday that New Delhi is doing whatever it can to undertake immediate and urgent evacuation efforts of Indian nationals still stranded in Ukraine.
"India is deeply concerned that the situation in Ukraine continues to deteriorate. We reiterate our call for immediate cessation of violence and end to hostilities, Tirumurti said.
"My government firmly believes that there is no other choice but to return to the path of diplomacy, he said.
Noting that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has advocated this strongly in his recent conversations with the leadership of the Russian Federation and Ukraine, Tirumurti said, "We reiterate our firm conviction that all differences can only be bridged through honest, sincere and sustained dialogue.
He said there is an urgent and pressing humanitarian situation developing in Ukraine.
India is doing whatever it can to undertake immediate and urgent evacuation efforts of Indian nationals who are still stranded in Ukraine. The safety and security of Indian nationals, including a large number of students, remains our top priority, he said.
He noted that the complex and uncertain situation at the border crossings is adversely impacting the uninterrupted and predictable movement of people.
This important humanitarian necessity must be immediately addressed, he said.
India on Monday decided to send relief supplies to Ukraine to deal with the humanitarian situation along its bordering areas arising out of tens of thousands of people attempting to flee the Russian invasion.
India thanked all neighbouring countries of Ukraine who have opened their borders for Indian citizens and given all facilities to Indian missions and their personnel to evacuate Indian nationals to their homeland.
"We stand ready to help those from our neighbours and developing countries who are also stranded in Ukraine and may seek assistance, he said.
In his conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Modi reiterated his call for an immediate cessation of violence and a return to dialogue, and expressed India's willingness to contribute in any way towards peace efforts.
In the telephonic call with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Modi said his long-standing conviction that the differences between Russia and the NATO group can only be resolved through honest and sincere dialogue.
He appealed for an immediate cessation of violence, and called for concerted efforts from all sides to return to the path of diplomatic negotiations and dialogue.
The 193-member UN General Assembly convened the rare and unprecedented emergency special session on Russia's aggression against Ukraine Monday after the 15-nation Security Council voted Sunday on a resolution to refer the crisis to the most representative body of the world organisation.
India had abstained on the resolution, along with China and the UAE while Russia voted against and 11 Council members in favour. It was the second time in as many days that India abstained on a Security Council resolution on Ukraine.
India had on Friday abstained on a UN Security Council resolution by the US that deplores in the strongest terms Russia's aggression" against Ukraine.
India, China and the UAE abstained on the resolution, which received 11 votes in favour by Albania, Brazil, France, Gabon, Ghana, Ireland, Kenya, Mexico, Norway, United Kingdom and the United States. The resolution on Friday was blocked since permanent member Russia, and President of the Security Council for the month of February, used its veto. This led to a procedural resolution in the Council to refer the matter to an emergency special session of the General Assembly.
President of the 76th session of the General Assembly Abdulla Shahid presided over the unprecedented session, only the 11th such emergency session of the General Assembly since 1950.
With the adoption of the UNSC resolution Sunday, it was for the first time in 40 years that the Council decided to call for an emergency special session in the General Assembly.
Following the debate in the session, the General Assembly is expected to vote on a resolution that would condemn Russia's aggression against Ukraine.
While a UNSC resolution condemning Russian invasion of Ukraine would have been legally binding and General Assembly resolutions are not, vote in the 193-member UN body is symbolic of world opinion on the crisis and carry political weight as they represent the will of the entire UN membership.