[op-ed snap] The power play in peacekeeping

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Mains Paper 2: IR | Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Not much

Mains level: India is one of the largest (troop)contributors to the UN peacekeeping mission. And it is important to know how China’s involvement will affect India’s interests in this area.


News

Rising contribution of China in peacekeeping mission of the UN

  1. Having made a reluctant entry in peacekeeping (when it sent a small cadre of soldiers to Cambodia in 1992), China has now become the largest troop contributor among the permanent members of the UNSC
  2. More importantly, China is now the third-largest contributor to the UN’s regular budget and the second-largest contributor to the peacekeeping budget

What does this portend in China’s quest for great power status?
Is the picture that simple for India in geopolitical power play?

  1. In practice, a nation’s voice is in proportion to what it contributes towards the UN, especially funds — India’s contribution is only 0.737% when compared to China’s 7.92% and the U.S.’s 22%
  2. Troop contributions to peacekeeping do not get their due in UN power politics
  3. Pivotal posts in UN missions have always been with major fund contributors
  4. China has many pivotal posts in UN Missions

Selective use of VETO power by China

  1. China has used VETO power twice “over concerns over territorial integrity pertaining to Taiwan”
  2. China was against sending UN peacekeepers to Guatemala and Macedonia because they had established diplomatic ties with Taiwan

Importance of peacekeeping missions for China and its contributions in them

  1. In 2015, China committed a standby force of 8,000 peacekeepers and a permanent police squad for UN operations
  2. In addition, there is a 10-year $1 billion China-U.N. peace and development fund and $100 million in military assistance to the African Union
  3. It is no coincidence that Africa is where China has large economic interests
  4. Peacekeeping is said to be a cover for China to test its strengths in overseas deployments

How will it affect India?

  1. Chinese involvement in peacekeeping(along with its higher funding contributions) will put Beijing in the driver’s seat in formulating peacekeeping mandates
  2. And thereby affecting India in more ways than one

The way forward

  1. The truth is that though our troops have been on the front line of facing danger (168 soldiers lost in UN operations, till May 2017), the returns in UN power play have been low
  2. Peacekeeping missions are the raison d’etre(the most important reason or purpose for someone or something’s existence) of the UN
  3. And India’s generous contributions as far as peacekeeping troops are concerned should be key in its argument to have a greater say in the affairs of the UN. India must demand its pound of flesh
Foreign Policy Watch: India-China
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