India, for the first time, issued a cautious statement on the Ukraine crisis, batting for free and fair elections and more sustained diplomatic efforts for resolution of issues between Ukraine and its “neighbouring countries”.
While the statement issued by the Ministry of External Affairs on Thursday evening does not mention Russia by name, National Security Adviser Shiv Shankar Menon had specifically referred to “Russian legitimate interests”. “We are watching what is happening in Ukraine with concern... The broader issues of reconciling various interests involved and there are, after all, legitimate Russian and other interests involved and we hope those are discussed, negotiated and there is a satisfactory resolution to them,” Menon told reporters.
The MEA statement noted that India was monitoring the situation and was concerned at escalation of tension, with 5,000 Indian nationals in Ukraine, out of which 4,000 are Indian students.
“India welcomes recent efforts in reducing the tension and hopes that a solution to Ukraine’s internal differences is found in a manner that meets the aspirations of all sections of Ukraine’s population,” said the MEA statement.
India, further noted: “It would be important, in this context, for a legitimate democratic process to find full expression through free and fair elections that provide for an inclusive society.”
“India calls for sincere and sustained diplomatic efforts to ensure that issues between Ukraine and its neighbouring countries are resolved through constructive dialogue,” said the statement.