Use influence to mediate truce between Russia, Ukraine: Tharoor to govt
New Delhi, April 05: The Congress' Lok Sabha MP Shashi Tharoor on Tuesday asked the government to use its influence to mediate a truce between Russia and Ukraine engaged in a war for over 40 days.
Participating in a short discussion on the 'Situation in Ukraine' in the House, he said India should not shy away from taking a morally correct position in line with its foreign policy.
About the country's foreign policy, Tharoor stressed, "it is neither Congress' nor BJP's foreign policy but it is Indian foreign policy." India, he said, could offer itself in a "mediating capacity" and play a role in putting an end to the conflict.
Referring to the softly-worded statements on the Russia-Ukraine war at the United Nations, the Thiruvananthapuram MP said, "We need to take a principled stand on such matters... with moral conviction." In this case, Russia has started the war, he said and added that India cannot endorse Moscow's action.
On India getting a lot of military supplies from Russia, Tharoor said the country pays in "top dollars" and it was not a one-way relationship.
The former Union minister also expressed concern about the emerging Russia-China-Pakistan axis.
With Russia becoming weak on account of sanctions, China will get an upper hand and "it is a matter of great concern" for India, he added.
The Congress member also criticised the remarks of certain BJP leaders and ministers that only those students who could not qualify National Eligibility and Entrance Test (NEET) go to Ukraine for medical education.
Such statements at the time of crisis reflect poorly on the nation, he said, adding the government must seriously rethink medical education in the country.
Appreciating 'Operation Ganga' under which 18,000 students were brought home from war-ravaged Ukraine, he said some embassies were probably quicker in evacuating their citizens and hence there are lessons to be learnt for India.
Tharoor said it was unfortunate that students stranded in war-hit Ukraine had to walk long distances to reach the bordering nations from where they were transported back to India.
Referring to certain videos on social media, he criticised Indian ministers for "publicity mongering" on foreign land which, he added, "was unnecessary." "We don't need publicity in other countries," Tharoor said.
Participating in the discussion, BJD MP Pinaki Misra praised the government for not yielding to hectoring by the US on the Russia-Ukraine war issue.
He said it was the US that used nuclear weapons and has a history of waging wars in several countries including Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan and the Middle East.
Misra also asked the Indian government to mediate a ceasefire between Russia and Ukraine.
The BJP's Brijendra Singh demanded that something must be done to ensure the students returning from Ukraine can complete their education.
Trinamool leader Sudip Bandyopadhyay wanted to know the status of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's promise that returning students were likely to be absorbed in colleges in Hungary.
Thamizhachi Thangapandian of the DMK urged the government to play the role of an honest negotiator in ending the ongoing conflict.