Today’s edition of Current Affairs Dialog Box will comprise discussion on UNGA Resolution on Russia, Ukraine Conflict. Read further to enhance your UPSC exam preparation and find the topic’s relevance from the CSE syllabus point of view.
For yesterday’s edition of Current Affairs, click here.
Prelims: United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), UN Security Council (UNSC)
Mains: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.
Why in the News?
Recently, India has abstained from voting on the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) resolution to condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The United Nations is the one universal body we have, the one organization to which every country in the world belongs; if it is discredited, the world as a whole will lose an essential institution. Critically comment.
The UNGA resolution was similar to the one circulated in the 15 nations Security Council recently, on which India had abstained from voting.
The UNSC resolution received 11 votes in favor and three abstentions, and it was blocked after permanent member Russia exercised its veto.
Following the failure of the Council to adopt the resolution, the Security Council voted again to convene a rare “emergency special session” of the 193-member General Assembly on the crisis.
Key Points of the Resolution
The resolution was cosponsored by 96 countries and condemned the February 24 “special military operation” by Russia.
The resolution demanded that Russia immediately cease its use of force against Ukraine and refrain from any further unlawful threat or use of force against any UN member state.
The resolution also deplores the February 21 decision by Russia related to the status of certain areas of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions of Ukraine as a violation of the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine and inconsistent with the principles of the Charter and demands that Russia immediately and unconditionally reverse the decision related to the status of certain areas of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions of Ukraine.
It also called upon the parties to abide by the Minsk agreements and to work constructively in relevant international frameworks, including in the Normandy format and Trilateral Contact Group, towards their full implementation.
The resolution was adopted with 141 votes in favour, five Member States voting against and 35 abstentions.
India again abstained on this resolution, reiterating that “there is no other choice but to return back to the path of diplomacy and dialogue.”
India’s Permanent Representative to the UN said that the “safe and uninterrupted passage” of Indian nationals, especially students, was India’s “foremost priority”.
India called for an “immediate ceaseﬁre” and humanitarian access to conﬂict areas.
“India urges that all Member States should demonstrate their commitment to the principles of the UN Charter, to international law and respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity of all states”.
To understand the ongoing Russia-Ukraine crisis in detail, watch a detailed video lecture by Prem Sodhani Sir, our DREAM TEAM faculty for Current Affairs:
Stand of Various Countries on the Resolution
A number of countries in India’s neighborhood supported the resolution — Bhutan, Nepal, and the Maldives, for instance. Afghanistan, currently run by a militant organisation (the Taliban), and Myanmar, currently ruled by a junta, also voted in favor of it.
Bangladesh, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, like India, abstained. China also abstained.
The United Arab Emirates, which had abstained from the UNSC vote, voted for the resolution in the General Assembly.
Are UN Resolutions Legally Binding?
The resolution required a 2/3rd majority of those voting yes or no to be adopted in the General Assembly.
Assembly resolutions are not legally binding but can reflect and influence world opinion.
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.
The way India and Russia have engaged in the United Nations demonstrates India's inclination toward Russia.
Invasion of Afghanistan: India supported the Soviet Union or abstained from voting on a number of issues such as the Czechoslovak intervention of 1968 or on the invasion of Afghanistan in the 1980s.
Russia’s annexation of Crimea: The UN General Assembly had adopted a resolution on Russia’s annexation of Crimea, after the Security Council failed to act due to the Russian veto.
India and China had both abstained in the voting of the resolution, adopted by UNGA in March 2014.
UN interventions in Kashmir: The Soviet Union was the only country to veto resolutions in the UN Security Council against UN interventions in Kashmir in 1957, 1962 and 1971.
India’s intervention in Bangladesh Liberation War of 1971: The Russian veto was crucial in determining India’s victory in the Bangladesh Liberation War of 1971.
The US had passed a resolution in the Security Council demanding a ceasefire and withdrawal of armed forces by India and Pakistan.
The Russians once again had vetoed the resolution, allowing India to keep fighting for the cause, which eventually led to the liberation of Bangladesh.
Nuclear Weapons Test: The Soviet Union has also stood against India, the most important among them being when India decided to carry out a nuclear weapons test in 1974.
Russia’s actions have left India in an uncomfortable position as it attempts to balance its interests with both Russia and the West.
Given its experiences in its own neighbourhood, with China and Pakistan, India should also be wary of the implications of not condemning one country unilaterally attempting to change the borders it shares with another.
About United Nations General Assembly (UNGA)
UNGA is one of the United Nations' six principal organs, serving as the prominent policy-making, and representative organ of the United Nations (UN).
In 1945, Unites Nations (International organization) was founded. It is presently made up of 193 Member States.
It meets annually in its headquarters in New York City, generally in the month of September.
Decisions are taken by voting, generally, a simple majority is considered but in case of important decisions, a two-thirds majority is considered.
Each member has one vote.
The other five organs of the UN are the Security Council, Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), the Trusteeship Council, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) and the UN Secretariat.