Foreign Policy Watch: United Nations

India’s role in UN Peacekeeping Missions

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : United Nations Peacekeeping

Mains level : Read the attached story

Two BSF personnel recently got martyrdom who were part of the UN Peacekeeping Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

Why in news?

  • A total 175 Indian peacekeepers have so far died while serving with the United Nations.
  • India has lost more peacekeepers than any other UN Member State.

What is United Nations Peacekeeping?

  • UN Peacekeeping helps countries navigate the difficult path from conflict to peace.
  • UN peacekeepers are often referred to as Blue Berets or Blue Helmets because of their light blue berets or helmets) can include soldiers, police officers, and civilian personnel.

UNPKF in operation

  • Since 1948, UN Peacekeepers have undertaken 71 Field Missions.
  • There are approximately 81,820 personnel serving on 13 peace operations led by UNDPO, in four continents currently.
  • This represents a nine-fold increase since 1999.
  • A total of 119 countries have contributed military and police personnel to UN peacekeeping.
  • Currently, 72,930 of those serving are troops and military observers, and about 8,890 are police personnel.

India’s contribution to UN Peacekeeping

  • India has a long history of service in UN Peacekeeping, having contributed more personnel than any other country.
  • To date, more than 2,53,000 Indians have served in 49 of the 71 UN Peacekeeping missions established around the world since 1948.
  • Currently, there are around 5,500 troops and police from India who have been deployed to UN Peacekeeping missions, the fifth highest amongst troop-contributing countries.
  • India has also provided and continues to provide, eminent Force Commanders for UN Missions.
  • India is the fifth largest troop contributor (TCC) with 5,323 personnel deployed in 8 out of 13 active UN Peacekeeping Missions, of which 166 are police personnel.

History of India’s contribution

  • India’s contribution to UN Peacekeeping began with its participation in the UN operation in Korea in the 1950s.
  • This is where India’s mediatory role in resolving the stalemate over prisoners of war in Korea led to the signing of the armistice that ended the Korean War.
  • India chaired the five-member Neutral Nations Repatriation Commission, while the Indian Custodian Force supervised the process of interviews and repatriation that followed.
  • The UN entrusted the Indian armed forces with subsequent peace missions in the Middle East, Cyprus, and the Congo (since 1971, Zaire).
  • India also served as Chair of the three international commissions for supervision and control for Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos established by the 1954 Geneva Accords on Indochina.

Role of women in Indian Peacekeeping

  • India has been sending women personnel on UN Peacekeeping Missions.
  • In 2007, India became the first country to deploy an all-women contingent to a UN Peacekeeping Mission.
  • The Formed Police Unit in Liberia provided 24-hour guard duty and conducted night patrols in the capital Monrovia, and helped to build the capacity of the Liberian police.
  • These women officers not only played a role in restoring security in the West African nation but also contributed to an increase in the number of women in Liberia’s security sector.

Medical care as part of India’s Missions

  • In addition to their security role, the members of the Indian Formed Police Unit also organized medical camps for Liberians, many of whom have limited access to health care services.
  • Medical care is among the many services Indian Peacekeepers provide to the communities in which they serve on behalf of the Organization.
  • They also perform specialized tasks such as veterinary support and engineering services.

India’s views on UN Peacekeeping

  • India is of the view that the international community must grasp the rapid changes that are underway in the nature and role of contemporary peacekeeping operations.
  • The Security Council’s mandates to UN Peacekeeping operations need to be rooted in ground realities, and co-related with the resources provided for the peacekeeping operation.
  • It is critical that troop and police contributing countries should be fully involved at all stages and in all aspects of mission planning.
  • There should be greater financial and human resources for peace-building in post-conflict societies, where UNPKOs have been mandated, according to officials.

 

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