New Delhi: Abstaining along with 30 other countries in the voting on adoption of a Saudi-drafted resolution on Syria in the UN General Assembly, India on Saturday said the decision was taken after it felt that the issue was marked by "great polarization" at the global organisation.
Asserting that its move to abstain from voting was not to "duck" the issue of escalating violence in Syria, over which New Delhi was "extremely worried and alarmed", the sources in the Ministry of External Affairs said it was also "deeply depressing" that the situation will continue unless there was major UN engagement to resolve the crisis.
The sources also maintained the situation has "slipped out of debating chambers to the battlefield" with the conflict between two "well-equipped and armed" sides showing no signs of abating.
India abstained from voting after the Saudi-drafted text referred to calls for President Bashar al-Assad to step down.
The draft UN General Assembly resolution, which expressed "grave concern" at the escalating violence in Syria, got 133 votes in favour in the 193-member body on Friday.
India abstained from voting after the Saudi-drafted text referred to calls for President Bashar al-Assad to step down and asked UN states to severe diplomatic relations with the troubled nation.
The resolution, which is not legally binding and is of a moral nature, also demanded that the country lockdown its chemical and biological weapons.
Asked if Syrian government has approached India, the sources said their Foreign Minister was in touch with the Indian Ambassador there.
In his explanation of vote on the resolution, India's Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador Hardeep Singh Puri said the resolution makes specific reference to the July 22 resolution of the League of Arab States which "openly called for President Assad to step down from power and for other UN members to severe diplomatic relations and contacts with Syria."
He said while India does not hold any brief for any particular Syrian leader, it could not welcome the League's resolution.
"It is unfortunate that this element of the present resolution was not removed, and hence we have abstained from the resolution," Puri said.
The resolution also deplored "the failure of the Security Council to agree on measures to ensure the compliance of Syrian authorities with its decisions".