As the world rallies to condemn Russia, India remains silent on the sidelines

WASHINGTON — As most of the world joins together to condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, one holdout stands out: India.

The world’s largest democracy and one of its fastest growing economies is a key ally in the U.S.-led coalition to counter China's expansionism.

But India has long-standing ties to Russia, and the war in Ukraine has put the world’s second-most populous country in an uncomfortable position, forced to choose between Moscow and Washington, and instead ending up in the small minority of countries refraining from a formal denunciation.

“We are in a difficult situation because we have very strong stakes on both sides,” Arun Singh, a former Indian ambassador to the United States, told the Indian media outlet MoJo Story. “Clearly, because of this difficult situation, India decided it was better to abstain.”

At the United Nations on Wednesday, 141 counties voted for a resolution censuring Russia over its invasion of Ukraine, while four joined Russia in voting against the measure, and 35 abstained — including India and its two biggest geopolitical rivals, Pakistan and China.

The abstention drew criticism from officials in Washington, where American presidents of both major parties have pursued closer relations with New Delhi over the last two decades.