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India, Russia, China abstain from UN Vote on Myanmar

  • June 19, 2021

India joined Russia, China, the UAE and Saudi Arabia to abstain from a resolution on Myanmar at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), saying its views were not reflected in the draft resolution and that a “consultative and constructive” approach involving Myanmar’s neighbours was necessary.

India further said the resolution was tabled in a hurry.

The resolution was adopted with 119 countries voting “yes”, Belarus voting “no” and India along with 35 other countries, including neighbouring Bangladesh and Bhutan, besides Iran, Egypt and Pakistan, abstaining.

The entire Western bloc led by the United States voted in favour.

The UNGA resolution on Friday called upon the Myanmar armed forces to respect the results of the general election of November 8, 2020.

It urged the country “to end the state of emergency, to respect all human rights of (its) people… and to allow the sustained democratic transition of Myanmar, including the opening of the democratically elected parliament, and by working towards bringing all national institutions, including the armed forces, under a fully inclusive civilian government that is representative of the people’s will.”

India said its views had not been reflected in the draft being considered for adoption.

“We would like to reiterate that a consultative and constructive approach involving the neighbouring countries and the region, remains important as the international community strives for the peaceful resolution of the issue,” it added in its Explanation of Vote (EOV).

“The fact that there is lack of support from all neighbouring countries as well as several countries in the region itself should, hopefully, serve as an eye-opener to those who choose to pursue a hasty course of action,” India said.

India does not believe that the tabling of this resolution is “conducive to aiding our joint efforts towards strengthening democratic process in Myanmar”. “We are therefore constrained to abstain,” it said.

ET has, however, learnt that there was a China factor that forced a vote on the resolution even as both New Delhi and Beijing abstained from voting.

Highly placed sources told ET that India along with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations was trying to arrive at a resolution that could be adopted by the UN through consensus, but that China allegedly played spoilsport by forcing a vote on the resolution through Belarus.

This split the Asean vote, with Laos and Cambodia abstaining and Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and Vietnam voting in favour.

India had earlier welcomed the Asean initiative on Myanmar and the ‘Five-Point Consensus’.

According to the consensus, there shall be an immediate cessation of violence in Myanmar and all parties shall exercise utmost restraint and that constructive dialogue among all parties concerned shall begin to seek a peaceful solution.

It also stated that a special envoy of the Asean Chair shall facilitate mediation of the dialogue process, with the assistance of the bloc’s secretary general.

Asean shall provide humanitarian assistance through the AHA Centre (Asean Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance on disaster management) and the special envoy and delegation shall visit Myanmar to meet with all parties concerned, it stated.

The UNGA resolution expressed ‘grave concern’ at the February 1 coup and called upon Myanmar’s military junta to immediately and unconditionally release President Win Myint, State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi and other government officials, politicians and those arbitrarily detained or arrested.

India also called upon all Member States to prevent the flow of arms into Myanmar.’

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