India against sanctions on Russia

Reiterates traditional position against secession
Last Updated 19 March 2014, 19:40 IST

India is set to oppose the sanctions imposed on Russia by the US and European Union, notwithstanding its reluctance to support Crimea’s secession from Ukraine.

New Delhi is understood to have conveyed to Moscow that it would oppose any unilateral measures that the US or other western countries initiated or would take against Russia in the wake of Crimea’s secession from Ukraine on Tuesday.

India has in the past opposed unilateral sanctions by the US and the EU on Iraq and Iran, but adhered to such measures initiated by the United Nations against certain countries.

The US and the EU last Monday imposed sanctions on several officials from Russia and Ukraine accused of involvement in Moscow's actions in the Black Sea peninsula. After President Vladimir Putin defied the US and rest of western world to formally make Crimea a part of Russia, both Washington and the EU warned of more such measures in the coming days. Australia too on Wednesday slapped financial sanctions and travel bans on several Russian and Ukrainian officials.

Sources said that India would stick to its stand and oppose unilateral sanctions by the US or the EU against Russia.

New Delhi clarified its position a day after it refrained from supporting Crimea’s secession from Ukraine.

Putin called up Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Tuesday and explained why he inked a draft treaty with Crimean leaders to make the Black Sea peninsula a part of Russia. Though Russia was apparently keen to win the support of its old ally, India reiterated its traditional position against secession of any part of any sovereign country – a position that stems from fear of external intervention in its own trouble-spots like Kashmir.

Singh thanked Putin for explaining the “Russian position with regard to recent developments in Ukraine”, but emphasized on India’s “consistent position” on the “issues of unity and territorial integrity of countries”. The prime minister hoped that all sides would exercise restraint and work together constructively to find political and diplomatic solutions that protected the legitimate interests of all countries in the region.

(Published 19 March 2014, 19:40 IST)

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