Foreign Policy Watch: United Nations

India’s Initiative for ASEAN Women in UN Peacekeeping


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: ASEAN, UNPKF

Mains level: UN Peacekeeping and its significance

asean un peacekeeping

Central Idea

India-ASEAN Initiative for Women in UNPK Operations

  • Defence Minister proposed this initiative last year to strengthen India-ASEAN defence cooperation.
  • Tailor-made courses for women peacekeepers from ASEAN member-states will be conducted at the Centre for United Nations Peacekeeping (CUNPK) in India.
  • Twenty peacekeepers, two from each country, will receive training in various aspects of peacekeeping.
  • A “Table Top Exercise” focusing on UNPK challenges will be held in December, specifically designed for women officers from ASEAN.

India’s Training and Capacity Building

  • The Indian Army has established the Centre for United Nations Peacekeeping (CUNPK) in New Delhi, which trains over 12,000 troops annually in peacekeeping operations.
  • The CUNPK hosts foreign delegations, shares best practices, and dispatches mobile training teams to Friendly Foreign Countries for capacity building in UNPK.
  • India has deployed Female Engagement Teams, Women Military Police, and women staff officers and military observers in various UN missions.
  • India has the second-largest women contingent in the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and UN Interim Security Force for Abyei.

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.

UN Peacekeeping is guided by three basic principles:

  1. Consent of the parties
  2. Impartiality
  3. Non-use of force except in self-defence and defence of the mandate

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.

Why UN Peacekeeping is needed?

  • Conflict resolution: UN peacekeeping missions play a crucial role in assisting host countries in transitioning from conflict to peace.
  • Burden sharing: UN peacekeeping utilizes a global coalition of troops and police to share the responsibility of maintaining peace and stability worldwide.
  • Democratization: Peacekeepers provide security and political support to facilitate the early transition to peace and support democratic processes in post-conflict countries.

India’s Contribution to UN Peacekeeping

  • Largest troop contributor: India has a long-standing history of contributing personnel to UN peacekeeping missions, with over 253,000 Indians serving in 49 out of 71 missions.
  • Current deployments: Approximately 5,500 Indian troops and police are deployed in UN peacekeeping missions, ranking India as the fifth-highest troop-contributing country.
  • Women in Indian Peacekeeping: India has played a pioneering role in deploying women peacekeepers, starting with an all-women contingent to Liberia in 2007.
  • Humanitarian services: Indian peacekeepers also provide medical care, veterinary support, and engineering services to communities in need.

Issues with UN Peacekeeping

[A] Issues for India

  • Kashmir interference: India has expressed discontent with the UN Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) operating in Kashmir, considering it irrelevant after the Shimla Agreement.
  • Disregard for India-Pak ceasefire: UNMOGIP continues to observe hostilities and ceasefire violations along the Line of Control, which India believes is unnecessary.

[B] Global Challenges

  • Diverse security challenges: UN peacekeeping operations need to adapt to rapidly evolving security dynamics.
  • Resource allocation: Mandates of peacekeeping missions should align with available resources.
  • Greater involvement of troop-contributing countries: Countries providing troops and police should have a meaningful role in mission planning.
  • Investment in peacebuilding: Adequate financial and human resources are required for post-conflict peacebuilding.

Way Forward

  • UNSC reform: Reform the UN Security Council to reflect the changing global landscape.
  • Multi-partner collaboration: Enhance effectiveness by involving actors beyond the UNSC in counterterrorism efforts.
  • Modernization of peacekeeping: Strengthen UN Peacekeeping Forces through modernization and inclusivity.
  • Human-centric decision-making: Promote accountability and transparency in the UNSC’s decision-making processes.


  • India’s commitment to promoting women’s participation in UNPK operations underscores its dedication to global peace and security.
  • These initiatives aim to enhance the capabilities and representation of women in peacekeeping, recognizing their valuable contributions to maintaining peace and stability worldwide.


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