Nerve agents that struck down the former double agent were first developed by Russia in the 1970s

China, Azerbaijan, Sudan, Algeria and Iran were among the countries that backed Russia's motion at the OPCW executive council

NEW DELHI: India has abstained from the voting on Russia's proposal for a new, joint investigation into the poisoning of ex-spy Skripal and his daughter in England which was voted down at the international chemical weapons watchdog Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) at The Hague.

Russia lost the vote by 15 votes to six, while 17 member states abstained. India was among the member states that abstained from the voting on Wednesday, persons familiar with the matter told ET.

China, Azerbaijan, Sudan, Algeria and Iran were among the countries that backed Russia's motion at the OPCW executive council. The issue has further deteriorated ties between the West and Russia leading to expulsion of diplomats from each other’s side in the last few weeks.

“The votes backing Russia and the abstentions showed that more than half of the council "refused to associate themselves with the West's point of view," said Russia's ambassador to the OPCW Aleksander Shulgin. He said the UK had told the council "a dirty flow of complete lies... outright Russophobia".

Russia has accused Britain of blocking access to an investigation being carried out by the Britain earlier said Russia's call for an inquiry with the UK was "perverse".

Russia called the meeting to challenge the UK, which has blamed Moscow for the March 4 poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury, southern England. Moscow has strongly denied any involvement and in a press conference after the vote said what happened in Salisbury looked like a "terrorist attack". It strongly criticised the US and EU countries for siding with the UK.

Speaking at the 57th Meeting of the Executive Council of the OPCW at The Hague on Wednesday Indian Ambassador to Netherlands Venu Rajamony said, “India has taken note of the allegations about the recent use of chemical weapons in the United Kingdom. Any use of chemical weapons is in complete disregard of humanity, and is reprehensible and contrary to the provisions of the Chemical Weapons Convention as well as accepted international legal norms. India is against the use of chemical weapons anywhere, at any time, by anybody, under any circumstances.”

“The Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) is a unique non-discriminatory multilateral instrument which continues to serve as a model disarmament treaty. It is important to maintain the credibility and integrity of the Convention. India has, therefore, maintained that all investigations of alleged use of chemical weapons should be conducted strictly in accordance with the provisions of the Convention. We also urge that all provisions of the Convention be utilised to address concerns in accordance with the procedures laid down in the Convention, so as to reach evidence based conclusions. India, as all other countries, should await the outcome of the investigation,” Rajamony suggested indicating not to jump into conclusion in branding the perpetrator.