India has decided to proceed cautiously regarding the Ukraine crisis, with Russian troop buildup near the country’s borders. On Friday, India backed diplomatic efforts to resolve this situation, stating that it was closely following the high-level discussions taking place between the US and Russia. 

For the first time, India has remarked on the tensions flaring up between Moscow and the NATO countries, urging that a peaceful solution be reached through diplomatic efforts. It also drew attention to the aim of “long term peace and stability in the region and beyond”. 

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So far, there hasn’t been much headway in diplomatic talks between the US and Russia. While US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that he and his Russian counterpart better understood each other’s positions, which would help as they proceed, he also conceded that the call between them wouldn’t have yielded breakthrough results anyway. 

Russia however, has denied any plans of invading Ukraine and has accused the NATO countries of fuelling hysteria against the Vladimir Putin-led government. Russia has gone forth to accept that the US proposal in defusing the situation has some rational points. 

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India, which has close ties with both the US and Russia, has so far been on the fence about the matter. It has also exercised caution in commenting on the developing tensions. However, in light of both Russia and the NATO countries flexing their military strength at the Ukraine border, and eastern Europe, the Indian government has extended help to nationals in Ukraine. 

The country is hoping for the crisis to blow over but in the meantime, Indian nationals and students, whose numbers come close to 18,000, have been asked to register with the Kyiv embassy, if they require any assistance. The Indian embassy in Ukraine is also closely monitoring the ground situation. Meanwhile, the US has already ordered family members of embassy employees to evacuate, starting Monday, January 24. 

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Despite India’s measured response, over the volatile situation, its involvement and neutrality might become more complicated with China openly backing Russia, asking that the US take cognizance of Russia’s demands. 

Currently, while ground troops cause fear of a Russian invasion of Ukraine, Moscow has demanded that Ukraine’s entry into NATO is blocked and that the organization reduce military presence in eastern Europe. As the head of NATO, the US has rejected this offer outright.