Washington remains in close touch with New Delhi about the United States’ efforts to unite the world against the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the White House said on Thursday.

“We continue to remain in close touch with India about, you know, our efforts to rally the world, to stand up against Russian aggression,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said at a daily press conference. “That means implementing and abiding by sanctions that have been put in place.”

Psaki was responding to question about what the United States expected from India on the two wars the world was facing – the one in Ukraine and a health emergency due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Psaki noted that the US Deputy Security Advisor Daleep Singh visited India in March to have a conversation about Russia.

“We continue to encourage countries to speak out about Russian aggression,” Psaki said. “And obviously, on Covid-19, we have been an important partner with India in providing supply and vaccines and needs – in their times of need over the course of the last 15 months, and certainly we will continue to work with them on that.”

During his visit to the country, Singh had on March 31 cautioned India that Moscow would not help New Delhi if Beijing made incursions along the Line of Actual Control again.

“No one should kid themselves – Russia is going to be the junior partner in this relationship with China,” he had said. “And the more leverage that China gains over Russia, the less favourable that is for India. I don’t think anyone would believe that if China once again breached the Line of Actual Control, Russia would come running in India’s defence.”

India abstains vote on Ukraine resolution

Meanwhile, India on Thursday abstained from voting on a resolution by the United Nations Human Rights Council, which seeks to investigate Russian violations in Ukraine’s Kyiv, Kharkiv, Chernihiv and Sumy regions, The Times of India reported.

India was among the 12 countries to have abstained from voting on the resolution. In the 47-member council, China and Eritrea were the only two nations to have voted against the resolution.

While there was no explanation given, an Indian envoy made a statement during a discussion that preceded the voting.

“India’s position on the Ukraine conflict has been steadfast and consistent,” said Ambassador Indra Mani Pandey, permanent representative of India to United Nations. “We have constantly called for immediate cessation of violence and an urgent end to hostilities. Prime Minister Modi has reiterated this in his interactions with global leaders, including the leaderships of the Russian Federation and Ukraine. India continues to believe that pursuing the path of dialogue and diplomacy is the only way out.”

Pandey said that the evacuation of civilians from areas witnessing intense fighting should be prioritised. “We call for respect for and protection of human rights of people in Ukraine and reiterate our abiding commitment to global promotion and protection of human rights,” he added.

This is the 11th time that India has abstained in voting on discussions related to the Russian invasion of Ukraine since the war started on February 24, The Wire reported.

This includes a resolution in the United Nations General Assembly held on March 2. It had called upon Moscow to “immediately, completely and unconditionally” withdraw all of its military forces from Ukrainian territories. It was adopted as 140 countries voted in its favour. Thirty-eight countries, including India, abstained from voting.