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US congressional hearing questions India’s UN vote on Ukraine issue


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US lawmakers have questioned India’s UN vote on the Ukraine issue during a Congressional hearing on the Indo-Pacific on Wednesday (9).

India, a non-permanent member of the powerful United Nations Security Council for a two-year term ending December this year, has repeatedly abstained on resolutions against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Several lawmakers, including Indian American Ro Khanna, questioned the Pentagon leadership as to why India did not vote along with the US and its allies at the UN.

Responding to the questions, Ely Ratner, assistant secretary of defence for Indo-Pacific security affairs, told the House Armed Services Committee that India has a complicated history and relationship with Russia,

Ratner said that the majority of weapons that India buys are from Russia.

“The good news is that they are in a multi-year process of diversifying their arms purchases away from Russia. That’s going to take some time, but they are clearly committed to doing that, including increasing the indigenous — indigenisation of their own defence industry. That’s something we should support. So, I think in terms of their relationship with Russia, the trend lines are moving in the right direction,” he said.

Congressman Ro Khanna (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)

Khanna asserted that it was the US that supported India in its war against China in 1962 and again when it was engaged in a border conflict with China in 2020.

“Did Russia do anything to protect India when China was violating the Line of Actual Control, to your knowledge?” Khanna asked.

Khanna added: “I’ll just conclude by saying that I think it’s obvious that the US would stand against Chinese aggression on the Line of Actual Control far more than Russia or Putin would, and that we really need to press India to not be as dependent on Russian defence and to be willing to condemn Putin’s aggression in Ukraine, just like we would condemn Chinese aggression beyond the Line of Actual Control.”

Congressman Joe Wilson said that he is shocked that India has abstained on the issues of the mass murder in Ukraine.

“I am concerned a lot of this is because of foreign military sales and the different technicalities and whatever. What’s being done to address issues to make sure that previously brought up by Democrats and Republicans of their fondness for India that were not their main support of the military, which is in the interest of the people of India and the people of the Indo-Pacific,” Wilson said.

“The relationship with prime minister Narendra Modi should be with the US, not in any way associated by way of abstention with a megalomaniac Putin in Putin’s war. I saw our colleagues, Democrats and Republicans appalled that there would be abstention by India.”

Ratner, in response to another question from Congresswoman Lisa McClain,  said: “India, on its own accord as a sovereign decision, has been diversifying its arms purchases and development, including its own indigenisation and making some substantial purchases from the US as well.”

India’s Ambassador to the UN T S Tirumurti has earlier said that India has been deeply concerned over the rapidly deteriorating situation in Ukraine and the ensuing humanitarian crisis.



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