Ukraine Debate: The government seeks consensus on Ukraine Debate

Ukraine Debate in Parliament: Union Law and Justice Minister Kiren Rijiju said on Tuesday that members of Parliament should be united on Indian foreign policy.

Mr. Rijiju spoke during a debate on the crisis in Ukraine, which was initiated by RSP MP N.K. Premchandran under Rule 193. He recalled his personal experience of travelling to the Slovak Republic and thanked all countries bordering Ukraine for assisting in the evacuation of Indian students from various war-torn Ukrainian cities. MPs from all parties praised Nehru’s non-alignment legacy for allowing India to remain neutral in the face of the devastating conflict.

“Consider the circumstances surrounding the students’ repatriation. Ukrainians were occupied with counter-offensive operations. Missiles were soaring through the sky. Our diplomats worked to get our students out of that situation. Thousands of people were fleeing Ukraine, as I witnessed. We are not taking credit for anything. Any other government would have acted similarly “Mr. Rijiju stated.

He acknowledged that many people, including overseas Indians, contributed to the safety and security of the students caught in the middle of the crisis when Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24.

Manish Tewari praised Government for Ukraine evacuation

During the debate, Congress MP Manish Tewari praised the government for its approach to the Ukraine conflict, noting that India has previously carried out evacuations from Libya (2011), Kuwait (1990), and Lebanon (2006).

However, he added, “I’m sorry to say, but I’ve never seen so much chest-thumping as this. Onboard evacuation flights, forcing children to raise slogans praising the government was a self-defeating exercise that squandered the goodwill generated by Operation (Ganga).”

Members also urged India to take a more active role in ending the conflict, pointing out that when Russia attacked Ukraine, the government was slow to respond to the humanitarian crisis posed by the presence of thousands of Indian students in the country. The National Conference’s Dr. Farooq Abdullah stated that India must take steps to “de-escalate this war.” Shashi Tharoor, a Congress member, stated, “Other embassies were more efficient in releasing their citizens than ours. Additionally, students had difficulty getting to the border points. It was completely unnecessary for our government to seek publicity in other countries in order to bring our own people back.”

Mr. Tharoor also stated that India could have used “stronger language in its response to Russia’s actions.”

“We have a special relationship with Russia, which we value, but Russia has resorted to force in this case. We may be indebted to the Soviet Union for its assistance, but this applies to both Russia and Ukraine “Mr. Tharoor was speaking about India’s friendship with the former Soviet Union, which included Russia and a number of other republics, including Ukraine.

Both the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and Russia have been criticised by BSP MP Shyam Singh Yadav. Mr. Yadav said of NATO’s eastward expansion, ” “Russia had every right to be concerned. However, attacking Ukraine is not acceptable.” Mr. Yadav also pointed out that the government should have acted sooner, given that the Russian military build-up had been going on for months prior to the invasion. “Zelensky should have compromised in light of the large-scale destruction and death that is taking place in Ukraine,” Mr. Yadav said of Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Supriya Sule of the National Congress Party praised Nehru’s legacy of non-alignment and congratulated External Affairs Minister Dr. S. Jaishankar on Operation Ganga, which evacuates students from Ukraine, calling the violence in Kyiv”unforgivable.” 

Operation Ganga: ‘Operation Ganga’ to bring back Indians who have been stuck in Ukraine. India has already successfully returned over 1,000 of its citizens to the country under this program. It has also established 24-hour control centers to aid with the evacuation of Indians over the borders of Hungary, Poland, Romania, and the Slovak Republic.

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