India’s UN ambassador has condemned the killing of civilians in the Kyiv suburb of Bucha, marking a notable change in Indian officials’ public approach to its partner’s invasion of Ukraine for a long time, Russia.
TS Tirumurti, India’s permanent representative to the UN, called reports of the killings “deeply disturbing” at a meeting of the UN Security Council on Tuesday.
“We unequivocally condemn these killings and support the call for an open investigation,” Tirumurti said, without naming Russia.
“The situation in Ukraine has shown no significant improvement since the Council’s last discussion on the issue. The situation has only deteriorated, along with its humanitarian consequences,” he said.
A bit of context: Previous statements by the Indian government have not condemned Russia’s aggression, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi instead calling for a “stop to violence”.
India has also abstained from various UN resolutions condemning Russia, saying peace talks should take place and the two nations are focusing on “diplomacy and dialogue”.
Criticism of the opposition at home: Tirumurti made his statement on the same day that India’s opposition Congress Party expressed concern over the nation’s stance on the war.
In a parliamentary discussion on the issue, Shashi Tharoor called India’s first statement to the UN in February “deplorable”.
“I was shocked, I will say quite honestly, at our first two statements at the United Nations…it wasn’t just the abstention,” Tharoor said.
Congress Party MP Manish Tewari spoke on the evolving geopolitics, saying “this new Iron Curtain has the potential to divide the world”, and added that India “couldn’t have -not be able to sit at the top of this new iron curtain”.
“…Russia is a trusted friend of India, and it’s a longtime ally. Russia has come to the aid of India in our probably most difficult times… But then, Mr. President, sir, friends also need to be informed if they are wrong, maybe they need to pull themselves together,” Tewari said.
Discussions are due to continue on Wednesday with the response from Indian External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar.