An Indian judge at the International Court of Justice has voted against Russia, a decision at odds with India's abstention from a United Nations General Assembly resolution on March 2 condemning the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Thirteen members (out of 15) of the ICJ, voted in favor of the order, while its vice-president, Kirill Gevorgian of Russia, and one of the judges, Sue Hanqin from China, voted against it.
Bhandari's vote takes on particular significance in light of India's position with respect to the conflict. Hitherto, New Delhi has avoided voting against Moscow at the UN, abstaining both in the resolutions presented to the Security Council and the Emergency General Assembly on 2 March.
Bhandari, 74, is a former justice with the Indian Supreme Court. He was elected to the ICJ in 2012 and re-elected in 2018.
A day after Indian judge Dalveer Bhandari voted against Russia at the ICJ, India's Ministry of External Affairs said judges at the International Court of Justice vote in their individual capacity.
The MEA spokesperson said: "He (Justice Bhandari) happens to be an Indian national who is a member in his individual capacity on the ICJ. I am not going to comment on how judges vote on issues that come to the ICJ."
The ICJ order notes that no evidence has been presented that Ukraine engaged in genocide against Russian-speaking communities in eastern Ukraine, which is one of the reasons Russia has cited for its invasion.
The US welcomed International Court of Justice (ICJ) order ordering Russia to immediately cease military operations in Ukraine. State Department Spokesperson Ned Price described the ruling as significant, noting that the ICJ "clearly and unequivocally" ordered Russia to immediately suspend military operations.
"We applaud the court order and urge the Russian Federation to adhere to it by immediately ceasing military operations in Ukraine and establishing unhindered humanitarian access," Price said.
"And the ICJ expressed grave concern about Ukraine's civilian population's extreme vulnerability, the numerous civilian deaths and injuries caused by the Kremlin's actions, and the substantial material damage, including the destruction of buildings and infrastructure," he added.
Although the court orders "The Russian Federation" to "immediately suspend the military operations", it has no power to enforce the order, that is vested in the Security Council where Russia has a veto.