After initial criticism, Tharoor expresses satisfaction on Centre’s Ukraine strategy

After initial criticism, Tharoor expresses satisfaction on Centre’s Ukraine strategy

Senior Congress leader and former diplomat Shashi Tharoor has expressed satisfaction at Government of India’s response to the Ukraine crisis and its plan to bring back stranded medical students.

External affairs minister S Jaishankar on Thursday (March 3) briefed a 21-member parliamentary committee on the situation in Ukraine. The meeting was attended by nine MPs including Tharoor, Rahul Gandhi, Anand Sharma, Shiv Sena’s Priyanka Chaturvedi among others.

The meeting assumes significance in the backdrop of widespread criticism of the government’s handling of the crisis, evacuation of students and the UN vote.

Tharoor, who was very vocal about the troubles faced by Indian students in Ukraine, tweeted to express satisfaction about the meeting. “It was a good meeting. We are all united”.

Earlier, Tharoor had gone against his party line to question India’s abstention in UN voting against Russia at the United Nations Security Council. “Our stand has been that we do not support invading other countries and regime change through violence and war… After our abstention, many regretted that India had placed itself on the ‘wrong side of history,” Tharoor had said then.

Rahul Gandhi had also targeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi for “missing in action” while Indians suffered as a result of the crisis. After the death of an Indian student in Ukraine’s Kharkiv city two days back, Gandhi tweeted: “To avert further tragedy, the Government must share how many students have been evacuated, how many are still stranded in Ukraine and a region wise detailed evacuation plan”.

Tharoor, however, sounded convinced about the government’s efforts after the parliamentary committee meeting on Thursday. He tweeted: “Excellent meeting of the Consultative Committee on External Affairs this morning on Ukraine. My thanks to Dr S Jaishankar & his colleagues for a comprehensive briefing & candid responses to our questions & concerns. This is the spirit in which foreign policy should be run.”

Foreign minister S Jaishankar also tweeted, “Just completed a MEA consultative committee meeting on developments in Ukraine. A good discussion on the strategic and humanitarian aspects of the issue. Strong and unanimous message of support for efforts to bring back all Indians from Ukraine.”

Last week, India abstained on a UN Security Council resolution to convene a rare emergency special session of the UN General Assembly on Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, even as New Delhi asserted that there is no other choice but to return to the path of diplomacy and dialogue to settle the Ukraine crisis.

The 15-nation Council met to vote on a procedural resolution to refer the Ukrainian situation to an emergency session of the 193-membered UN General Assembly.

India, China and the UAE abstained, while Russia voted against the resolution and 11 Council members – Albania, Brazil, France, Gabon, Ghana, Ireland, Kenya, Mexico, Norway, United Kingdom and the United States – voted in favour. It was the second time that India abstained in the Council on a resolution on the Ukraine crisis.

The Congress had toed the Centre’s line on the UN vote. “The Congress while expressing its anguish is of the considered view that the international community must work together for cessation of armed conflict and early restoration of peace to save human lives and further aggravation of the crisis,” read a statement issued by the party.

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