In a statement at the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) open debate on Friday (September 22, 2023), India has stressed the importance of dialogue and diplomacy, voicing deep concerns over the ongoing situation in Ukraine.
Thanking the current UNSC president, Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama, for hosting the debate, the Indian representative underscored the critical role of effective multilateralism in upholding the principles of the UN Charter, especially in maintaining peace and security in Ukraine.

Secretary (West) in the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) Sanjay Verma, representing India, emphasized, "India continues to remain concerned over the situation in Ukraine. Escalation of hostilities and violence is in no one’s interest." He further called for an "immediate cessation of hostilities and an urgent return to the path of dialogue and diplomacy."

The sentiment was echoed in a tweet by the official India at UN, NY X (formerly Twitter) account: “The path to peace in Ukraine requires dialogue and diplomacy, not escalation. We must uphold international law and respect for sovereignty. It's time for effective multilateralism and dialogue to prevail.” 

Highlighting the implications of the conflict, Verma remarked on the adverse economic impacts resulting from the war, noting rising prices of essentials like food, fuel, and fertilizers. Particularly concerning, Verma said, is the effect these escalations have had on the member states of the Global South, who have been disproportionately impacted and "left to fend for themselves."

This perspective aligns with India's commitment to spotlighting the concerns of the Global South. With its G20 Presidency, India has taken steps to ensure that the economic pitfalls faced by these developing countries are front and center on the G20 agenda. In addition to diplomatic efforts, India has provided humanitarian assistance to Ukraine and economic support to Global South neighbors.

On the pressing question of the effectiveness of the UN in resolving the Russia-Ukraine conflict, Verma reiterated Prime Minister Narendra Modi's perspective that "this is not an era of war." He conveyed two critical questions that the global community must grapple with: whether a satisfactory resolution to the conflict is in sight and why the UN, especially the UNSC, seems "rendered completely ineffective" in its primary mandate of maintaining international peace and security.

As Verma pointed out, "For multilateralism to be effective, outdated and archaic structures need reform and reinventing." Without such reforms, the credibility of these institutions remains in jeopardy.

Mr. Verma later took to Twitter to reflect on his address, stating, “Addressed the UN Security Council Open Debate on Ukraine. Underscored PM’s call that “this is not an era of war”! Important that we believe ... that eventually, it is always dialogue and diplomacy, that delivers.” 

The economic implications of the Russia-Ukraine conflict, as highlighted by Verma, resonate with India's broader concerns on global economic stability. India's rapid economic growth in the past decade has made it one of the leading global economies. As a result, economic disruptions in one part of the world can have ripple effects on its growth trajectory.

For instance, the rising fuel prices as a consequence of the conflict could potentially hinder India's growth. As a significant importer of oil and gas, any fluctuation in global prices directly impacts the country's economy. Similarly, as Verma highlighted, rising prices of food and fertilizers can adversely affect India's agricultural sector, which employs a significant portion of its population. Furthermore, India's reference to the "Global South" in the UNSC debate emphasizes its role as a representative voice for developing nations.

India’s stance at the UNSC debate on the Russia-Ukraine conflict is not just about one issue. It is emblematic of the country's historical approach, its current global relationships, its aspirations on the world stage, and its role as a spokesperson for the developing world. While the immediate concern is the restoration of peace in Ukraine, the points made in this debate will be relevant in global geopolitics for years to come. It underlines the importance of multilateral dialogue and the evolving role of emerging powers like India in shaping the future global order.