[Sansad TV] Diplomatic Dispatch | UN Peacekeeping & India’s Role

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  • Last month, two BSF personnel who were part of the United Nations Peacekeeping Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, were killed during a protest in an eastern town near the border with Uganda.
  • This tragic incident has brought renewed focus on the role of peacekeepers and the urgent need to ensure their safety and security.

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.

What are the responsibilities of UNPKF?

U.N. military personal can be tasked with:

  • Protecting civilians and other U.N. personnel
  • Monitoring disputed borders
  • Observing peace processes in post-conflict areas
  • Providing security in conflict zones
  • Providing security during elections
  • Assisting in-country military personnel with training and support
  • Assisting ex-combatants in implementing the peace agreements

Why need UNPKF?

  • Conflict resolution: Peacekeeping has proven to be one of the most effective tools available to the UN to assist host countries navigate the difficult path from conflict to peace.
  • Burden sharing: Peacekeeping has unique strengths, including legitimacy, burden sharing, and an ability to deploy and sustain troops and police from around the globe, integrating them with civilian peacekeepers to advance multidimensional mandates.
  • Democratization: UN peacekeepers provide security and the political and peacebuilding support to help countries make the difficult, early transition from conflict to peace.

India’s contribution to UN Peacekeeping

(I) Largest contributor of troops

  • 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.

(II) 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.

(III) 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 U.N. 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.

(IV) 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.

Issues with UNPKM

[A] Issues for India

1. Interference in Kashmir

  • Despite its presence in several countries as part of the Peacekeeping missions, India has routinely expressed its displeasure at a similar mission headquartered in Srinagar and Islamabad.
  • The UN Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) was established on January 24, 1949 to supervise the ceasefire between India and Pakistan.

2. Disregard for India-Pak Ceasefire

  • UNMOGIP has remained in the region to observe hostilities between the neighbouring countries and report ceasefire violations along the Line of Control (LoC).
  • India has reiterated that the mission has “outlived its relevance” after the Shimla Agreement was signed by India and Pakistan in July 1972 and the establishment of the LoC.

[B] Global challenges

  • Diverse security challenges: 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.
  • Adequate resources: 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.
  • Greater say to troop’s country: It is critical that troop and police contributing countries should be fully involved at all stages and in all aspects of mission planning.
  • HR allocation: There should be greater financial and human resources for peace-building in post-conflict societies, where UNPKOs have been mandated.

Way forward

  • Reform the UNSC itself: Reformed multilateralism – and its root the reform of the UNSC.
  • Multi-partner collaboration: To make counterterrorism more effective by including actors outside of the UNSC.
  • Selective modernization: The third priority is more effective peacekeeping—by modernization and greater inclusion of the UN Peace Keeping Force (UNPKF).
  • Effective decision-making: The final priority was to make the UNSC’s decision-making more human-centric, through electoral accountability.

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1 year ago

In the Video, it says India is the third largest troop contributor where as in the notes its written Fifth. Please check.


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