India Abstained From The Syria Ceasefire Vote At The UN. Here’s WhyA view of a United Nations Security Council meeting in New York. (BRYAN R SMITH/AFP/GettyImages)

As Bashar Al Assad’s army and Syrian rebels clash to take control of Aleppo, members of the United Nations voted on a UN General Assembly resolution demanding an immediate ceasefire in Syria. India, along with 35 other countries abstained from voting.

One of the most important force behind India’s decision to not support the resolution was its traditional approach of not mixing humanitarian issues with international politics. However, there are two cold realities of geopolitics that explain India’s take on the crisis better.

First, India has enjoyed good relations with Syria. The country, which was suspended by the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in 2012 for “suppressing” the Syrian revolt, has supported India’s stand on Kashmir. OIC, which hosts some of the most authoritarian Islamist regimes, has also criticised India over “alleged human rights violations” in Kashmir.

Second, New Delhi wishes to maintain a balance between India’s relationship with the United States and Russia. While it draws closer to the United States in the defence sphere, India wants to ensure that its relationship with Russia remains cordial.

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