India abstains from voting on UN's Myanmar resolution, supports ASEAN initiative
India on Friday abstained from voting on the United Nations General Assembly's (UNGA's) resolution for an arms embargo against Myanmar, saying its views were not reflected in the draft resolution before the Assembly passed it. The UN's resolution demonstrated widespread global opposition to the Myanmar military and demanded that the country's democratic transition be restored.
"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's ambassador to the United Nations TS Tirumurti said, adding that it does not believe that the tabling of this resolution for adoption at this juncture, is "conducive to aiding our joint efforts towards strengthening the democratic process in Myanmar."
The UN's resolution called "upon the Myanmar armed forces to respect the people's will as freely expressed by results of the general election of November 8, 2020, to end the state of emergency, to respect all human rights of people of Myanmar 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."
Belarus called for a vote on the resolution in the 193-member UNGA while supporters had hoped for a resolution unanimously by consensus. The measure was finally approved with 119 countries voting 'yes', Belarus voting 'no' and 36 countries abstaining, including Myanmar’s neighbors China and India, along with Russia, according to the news agency AP.
Meanwhile, Tirumurti said India stood by the ASEAN initiative on Myanmar and the 'Five-Point Consensus' that calls for the envoy's dispatch and the immediate cessation of violence. "India welcomes ASEAN initiative on Myanmar and the ‘Five-Point Consensus’. Our diplomatic engagements will be aimed at strengthening these efforts. We call for upholding the rule of law and release of detained leaders," TS Tirumurti said.
"India’s position on Myanmar's situation has been clear and consistent. We have expressed our deep concern about the developments in Myanmar. We strongly condemn the use of violence and urge maximum restraint," Tirumuti said.
The envoy further said that India will stand by Myanmar as the country moves towards democracy. "India will continue to engage with measures to accelerate and support the democratic transition in Myanmar so that the hopes and aspirations of the people of Myanmar are fully respected and met," he said.
Commenting on the issue of repatriation of displaced persons from the Rakhine state of Myanmar, the envoy said India has the highest stake in resolving it at the earliest as it is the only country that shares a long border with Bangladesh and Myanmar.
The elected leaders of Myanmar were overthrown on February 1 this year in a coup by the army, which accused Aung Sang Suu Kyi's ruling party of cheating in the November elections. The army's allegation has been rejected by the previous election commission and international monitors.