December 6, 2022
I will now deliver the following remarks in my national capacity.
Let me begin by thanking briefers from OCHA and UNICEF, for their respective briefings on the situation in Ukraine with regard to the protection of civilians and the situation of children.
India continues to remain concerned over the situation in Ukraine. The conflict has resulted in loss of lives and countless miseries for its peoples, particularly for women, children and elderly, with millions becoming homeless and forced to take shelter in neighbouring countries. Reports of attacks on civilians and civilian infrastructure in the recent weeks is deeply worrying. We reiterate our grave concerns in this regard.
Children constitute a third of humanity – the most important third, as they are our future. They are also the most vulnerable to suffering, particularly in situations of armed conflict, and therefore need additional protection and care. The conflict in Ukraine is no doubt severely impacting the 7.5 million children across Ukraine.
While the protection of the rights of the child, including their access to education is the primary responsibility of national government, the international community has the obligation, to do its utmost to provide succor to children affected by conflict. India is a signatory to the Convention on the Rights of the Child and appreciative of the ongoing efforts including that of UNICEF to alleviate the sufferings of the children. We also support UNICEF efforts to scale up its operations.
Since the beginning of the conflict in Ukraine, India has consistently called for immediate cessation of hostilities and an end to the violence. India has called upon both sides to return to the path of diplomacy and dialogue, and also expressed its support for all diplomatic efforts to end the conflict. We believe that no solution can be arrived at the cost of innocent lives. Our Prime Minister has spoken to the Presidents of Ukraine and Russia on multiple occasions and reiterated India’s position. India stands ready to support all such efforts aimed at de-escalation.
The impact of the Ukraine conflict is not just limited to Europe. The conflict is exacerbating concerns over food, fertilizer and fuel security, particularly in the developing countries. It is necessary for all of us to appreciate the importance of equity, affordability and accessibility on these critical issues for the Global South. Open markets must not become an argument to perpetuate inequity and promote discrimination.
India’s approach to the Ukraine conflict will continue to be people-centric. On our part, we are providing humanitarian assistance to Ukraine and economic support to some of our neighbours in the Global South under economic distress. To help low-income countries fight against price rise and shortage of foodstuff, India has exported more than 1.8 million tons of wheat to countries in need, including to Afghanistan, Myanmar, Sudan, and Yemen.
We hope that the international community will continue to respond positively to the call for humanitarian assistance. India has so far dispatched twelve consignments of humanitarian aid to Ukraine. At the request of the Ukrainian government, India has also provided financial aid for reconstruction of an educational institution. We stand ready to do more.
Let us not forget that the situation has also affected foreign students, including those from India. India facilitated safe return of 22500 Indian nationals, most of them students, studying in various universities in Ukraine. We are exploring options to minimize the impact on our students’ education. We appreciate the relaxations made by the Ukrainian Government for this academic year in respect of medical students.
In conclusion, let me reiterate that the global order is anchored in the principles of the UN Charter, international law and respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity of all states.
I now resume my duties as the President.