UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres voiced deep regret over Moscow's termination of the implementation of the Black Sea Initiative decision, saying the initiative ensured the safe passage of over 32 million metric tonnes of food commodities from Ukrainian ports
India has voiced support for the UN's efforts in continuing the Black Sea Grain initiative and expressed hope for an early resolution to the present impasse, a day after Russia announced it was terminating implementation of the UN-brokered deal that allowed export of grain and related foodstuffs and fertilisers from Ukrainian ports.
Moscow on Monday said it was terminating the implementation of the Black Sea Initiative-- a UN-brokered deal that allowed food exports from Ukraine amid the ongoing conflict with Russia-- including the withdrawal of Russian security guarantees for navigation in the North-Western part of the Black Sea.
Addressing the UN General Assembly's annual debate on the 'Situation in the Temporarily Occupied Territories of Ukraine' on Tuesday, India's Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador, Ruchira Kamboj, said New Delhi is concerned about the recent developments in the region, which have not helped in securing the larger cause of peace and stability.
"India has supported the efforts of the UN Secretary-General in continuing the Black Sea Grain Initiative and hopes for an early resolution to the present impasse," Kamboj said.
"India continues to remain concerned over the situation in Ukraine. The conflict has resulted in the loss of lives and misery for its people, particularly for the women, children and elderly, with millions becoming homeless and forced to take shelter in neighbouring countries," she said.
Kamboj asserted that India's approach to the Ukrainian conflict will continue to be people-centric.
"We are providing both humanitarian assistance to Ukraine and economic support to some of our neighbours in the Global South under economic distress, even as they stare at the escalating cost of food, of fuel and of fertilisers – which has been a consequential fall out of the ongoing conflict," she said.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres voiced deep regret over Moscow's termination of the implementation of the Black Sea Initiative decision, saying the initiative ensured the safe passage of over 32 million metric tonnes of food commodities from Ukrainian ports.
The World Food Programme (WFP) has shipped more than 725,000 tonnes to support humanitarian operations — relieving hunger in some of the hardest-hit corners of the world, including Afghanistan, Horn of Africa and Yemen, Guterres said.
He added that the Black Sea Initiative and the Memorandum of Understanding on facilitating exports of Russian food products and fertilisers have been a "lifeline" for global food security and a beacon of hope in a troubled world.
"At a time when the production and availability of food are being disrupted by conflict, climate change, energy prices and more, these agreements have helped to reduce food prices by over 23 per cent since March last year," he said.
The UN-brokered Black Sea Initiative agreed by Russia, Turkiye, and Ukraine allowed millions of tonnes of grain and other foodstuffs to leave Ukraine's ports, which Guterres said played an "indispensable role" in global food security.
The UN noted that nearly one year into the agreement, more than 32 million tonnes of food commodities have been exported from three Ukrainian Black Sea ports to 45 countries across three continents.
The partial resumption of Ukrainian sea exports enabled by the Initiative has unblocked vital food commodities and has helped reverse spiking global food prices, which reached record highs shortly before the agreement was signed, the UN said.
Kamboj underlined that it is unfortunate that as the trajectory of the Ukranian conflict unfolds, the entire Global South has suffered substantial collateral damage.
"It is thus critical that the voice of the Global South be heard, and their legitimate concerns be duly addressed," she said.
Kamboj further said in her remarks that reports of attacks on civilians and civilian infrastructure are deeply worrying.
"We have consistently advocated that no solution can ever be arrived at the cost of human lives. Escalation of hostilities and violence is in no one's interest. We have urged that all efforts be made for an immediate cessation of hostilities and an urgent return to the path of dialogue and diplomacy," she said.
The Indian envoy underscored that dialogue is the only answer to settling differences and disputes, however daunting that may appear at this moment. "The path to peace requires us to keep all channels of diplomacy open," she said.
Noting Prime Minister Narendra Modi's repeated engagements with both Russia and Ukraine, Kamboj said it is essential to emphasise that "we firmly believe that this is not an era of war. It is with this understanding and spirit that India actively participates in this debate."
She said that the global order that "we all subscribe to" is based on international law, the UN Charter and respect for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of all States. "These principles must be upheld without exception," Kamboj said.