Delivering an implied criticism of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, and distancing India, External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar said that India is on "the side that respects the UN Charter and its founding principles".

"As the Ukraine conflict continues to rage, we are often asked whose side we are on. And our answer, each time, is straight and honest. India is on the side of peace and will remain firmly there," Jaishankar added on Saturday.

But adding clarity to it, he said, "We are on the side that respects the UN Charter and its founding principles."

His speech at the UN General Assembly was closely watched by diplomats for any shift on India's public stance on Ukraine after Prime Minister Narendra Modi had bluntly told Russia's President Vladimir Putin that "this cannot be an era of war" and reiterated that dialgoue and diplomacy are the way to go.

By saying that India is with the side that "respects the UN Chart" that outlaws war, he planted India on the side that is not Russia's -- and diplomatically -- if cryptically -- avoided having to name Moscow while making the stance public.

Taking up the cause of the developing countries that have been hit hard by the food shortages and the rising price of energy because of the war, Jaishankar said, "We are on the side of those struggling to make ends meet, even as they stare at escalating costs of food, fuel and fertilisers."

"It is therefore in our collective interest to work constructively, both within the UN and outside, in finding an early resolution to this conflict," he added.

Source IANS

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