India has not yet criticised Russia for its invasion of Ukraine and it abstained from the votes at the UN platforms in condemning the Russian aggression

SINGAPORE: India abstained from voting for the United Nations resolution deploring Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong informed on Sunday. Loong also said that India did not vote because the country buys military equipment from Moscow.

Russia under the leadership of President Vladimir Putin had launched a specially military offensive on the East European country Ukraine, displacing millions and killing many more.

India abstained from voting in the US backed UN Security Council resolution in February that deplored “in the strongest terms" Russia’s “aggression" against Ukraine, with New Delhi saying dialogue is the only answer to settling differences and disputes.

Notably, the resolution never passed since permanent member Russia and the President of the Security Council for the month of February used its veto.

“India, China, Vietnam and Laos abstained from voting on the United Nations resolution deploring Russia’s invasion of Ukraine due to various considerations. India, for instance, buys military equipment from Russia," Lee said in Mandarin at an annual address to citizens of Singapore, news agency PTI reported.

Loong emphasised that Singapore is the smallest nation in ASEAN, therefore the country's interests and considerations are different from others.

"This is why Singapore has not only explicitly condemned Russia’s invasion but also went further to impose our own targeted sanctions on Russia," he said.

Lee said Singapore was not siding with the United States or Russia when it condemned the Russian invasion of Ukraine. “No one will speak up for Singapore if we are invaded one day if we do not stand firm and take a clear stand on the Ukraine crisis," he said.

In March, India abstained from the UN Security Council on a vote on a draft resolution by Russia on the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine.

Russia and China voted in favour of the Russian resolution, which made no reference to its invasion of Ukraine, while India was among 13 countries that abstained.

India had previously abstained on two occasions in the Security Council and once in the General Assembly on resolutions on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Unlike many other leading Western powers, India has not yet criticised Russia for its invasion of Ukraine and it abstained from the votes at the UN platforms in condemning the Russian aggression.

India faced flak from US lawmakers, both Republicans and Democrats, for choosing to abstain from UN votes to rebuke Russia's invasion of Ukraine. New Delhi has strong defence ties with Moscow.

In October 2018, India signed a USD 5 billion deal with Russia to buy five units of the S-400 Triumf air defence missile systems to ramp up its air defence, despite a warning from the then-Trump administration that going ahead with the contract may invite US sanctions.

The US has already imposed sanctions on Turkey under the CAATSA for the purchase of a batch of S-400 missile defence systems from Russia.

Despite strong objections from the US and the threat of sanctions from the Biden administration, India has refused to make any changes in its decision and is going ahead with the purchase of the missile defence system.

India pursues an independent foreign policy and its defence acquisitions are guided by its national security interests, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said in November last year.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine has also impacted the global security landscape, Loong said, adding that the possibility of Asia-Pacific’s major powers experiencing conflicts cannot be ruled out.

The war has created deep hostility between Russia and other states, especially the US and NATO countries, he said, adding there are nuclear powers on both sides.

Security in the Asia-Pacific has also been affected as relations between the US and China’s partners in Asia, such as Australia and Japan, have been strained.