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India's Commitment to UN Peacekeeping

  • 01 Jun 2023
  • 7 min read

For Prelims: UN peacekeeping mission, India-ASEAN Initiative for women in UNPK operations, International Day of UN Peacekeepers

For Mains: Role of UN Peacekeeping in resolving conflicts and promoting peace, India's contributions, India-ASEAN Initiative for women in UNPK operations

Why in News?

Recently, the Indian Army commemorated the 75th International Day of United Nations (UN) Peacekeepers on 29th May (which was designated by the UN General Assembly) at the National War Memorial in New Delhi.

  • Theme 2023: 'Peace begins with me'.
  • This day holds significance as it marks the anniversary of the first UN peacekeeping (UNPK) mission in 1948.
  • Additionally, India unveiled plans to conduct two initiatives later in 2023, specifically designed to train women personnel from South East Asia, as part of their collaboration with ASEAN in the defence sector.

What is India-ASEAN Initiative for Women in UNPK operations?

  • The 'India-ASEAN Initiative for women in UNPK operations' refers to a collaborative effort between India and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to promote the participation of women in UNPK operations.
  • This initiative focuses on providing training and support to women personnel from ASEAN member-states who are interested in serving as peacekeepers.
  • Under this initiative, India has announced two specific initiatives:
    • Specialized courses at the Centre for United Nations Peacekeeping (CUNPK) in New Delhi. These courses will offer targeted training in peacekeeping operations to women peacekeepers from ASEAN countries.
      • The aim is to equip them with the necessary skills and knowledge to effectively contribute to UNPK missions.
    • Table Top Exercise for women officers from ASEAN. This exercise will simulate various scenarios and challenges faced by UN peacekeepers, allowing participants to enhance their understanding and preparedness for UNPK operations.

What is UN Peacekeeping?

  • About:
    • UN Peacekeeping is a vital tool employed by the United Nations to help countries navigate the path from conflict to peace.
    • It involves the deployment of military, police, and civilian personnel to regions affected by conflicts or political instability.
    • The primary objective of UN Peacekeeping is to facilitate peace and security, protect civilians, and support the restoration of stable governance structures.
    • It brings together the UN General Assembly, the UN Security Council, the Secretariat, troop and police contributors and the host governments in a combined effort to maintain international peace and security.
  • First Mission:
    • The first UN peacekeeping mission was established in May 1948, when the UN Security Council authorized the deployment of UN military observers to the Middle East to form the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO) to monitor the Armistice Agreement between Israel and its Arab neighbours.
  • Mandates:
    • The mandates vary from operation to operation, but they generally include some or all of the following elements:
      • Monitoring ceasefires, peace agreements, and security arrangements.
      • Protecting civilians, especially those at risk of physical harm.
      • Facilitating political dialogue, reconciliation, and supporting elections.
      • Building rule of law, security institutions, and promoting human rights.
      • Delivering humanitarian aid, supporting refugee reintegration, and promoting environmental sustainability.
  • Principles:
    • Consent of the Parties:
      • Peacekeeping operations require the consent of the main parties involved in the conflict.
        • Without consent, a peacekeeping operation risks becoming a party to the conflict and deviating from its peacekeeping role.
    • Impartiality:
      • Peacekeepers should maintain impartiality in their dealings with the parties to the conflict.
      • Impartiality does not mean neutrality; peacekeepers should actively execute their mandate and uphold international norms.
    • Non-use of Force except in self-defence and defence of the mandate:
      • Peacekeeping operations should refrain from using force, except when necessary for self-defence and protection of their mandate.
      • "Robust" peacekeeping allows the use of force with Security Council authorization and consent from the host nation and parties involved.
  • Achievements:
    • Since its inception in 1948, UN Peacekeeping has played a crucial role in ending conflicts and promoting reconciliation in numerous countries.
      • Successful peacekeeping missions have been carried out in places like Cambodia, El Salvador, Mozambique, and Namibia.
      • These operations have made a positive impact on restoring stability, enabling the transition to democratic governance, and fostering economic development.

What are India's Contributions in UN Peacekeeping?

  • Troop Contribution:
    • India has a rich legacy of contributing to UN Peacekeeping operations. It is one of the largest troop-contributing countries, with a history of deploying soldiers, medical personnel, and engineers to various peacekeeping missions worldwide.
      • India has contributed approximately 2,75,000 troops to peacekeeping missions so far.
  • Casualties:
    • Indian Army soldiers have made significant sacrifices while serving in UN Peacekeeping Missions, with 179 soldiers losing their lives in the line of duty.
  • Training and infrastructure:
    • The Indian Army has established the Centre for United Nations Peacekeeping (CUNPK) in New Delhi.
      • This center provides specialized training for more than 12,000 troops every year in peacekeeping operations, hosting national and international courses for potential peacekeepers and trainers.
      • CUNPK plays a crucial role in sharing best practices and enhancing the capacity of peacekeepers.
  • Women in Peacekeeping:
    • India has taken proactive measures to promote gender equality in peacekeeping operations.
      • India has deployed Female Engagement Teams in United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei, which is the second largest women contingent after Liberia.
      • India has also deployed Women Military Police in United Nations Disengagement Observer Force and women staff officers and military observers in various missions.

Source: TH

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