Underlining that UN peacekeeping has become increasingly challenging in face of growing violence across conflict hotspots, India has called for reassessing the Security Council’s approach towards peacekeeping and to address operational and other challenges faced by these operations.
“Today, UN peacekeeping is becoming increasingly challenging in the face of growing violence across conflict theaters, with a diminishing focus on the political process,” India’s Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador Ruchira Kamboj said while addressing the UNSC briefing on United Nations Peacekeeping Operations on Tuesday.
She said that it is critical to reassess the Council’s approach towards peacekeeping as well as to address the security and operational challenges faced by peace operations. India is one of the largest troop and police contributors, with more than 5,700 Indian peacekeepers presently deployed in 9 out of 12 peacekeeping missions.
Underlining that India’s peacekeeping credentials need no elaboration, Kamboj noted that 177 Indian peacekeepers have made the supreme sacrifice while serving in UN peacekeeping missions, the highest from any troop-contributing country.
Kamboj highlighted that it is important that peacekeeping missions are given clear and realistic mandates, which are also matched equally by provision of adequate resources.
“The Council needs to avoid terminologies and formulations while crafting Mission mandates that may generate false hopes and expectations,” she said, adding that the problem arises to a large extent because troop and police contributing countries do not have a role in the decision-making process.
“This anomaly should be rectified sooner than later,” she said.
Further, given that peacekeeping operation is a collective endeavor, she said performance of all mission components, military as well as civilians, and the leadership should be considered while evaluating the performance of a mission.
Kamboj also stressed that “all-out efforts” need to be made to bring perpetrators of crimes against peacekeepers to justice.
She said the Council needs to call on host nations to ensure implementation of measures adopted by the Council under Resolution 2589 of 2021 to address the issue of impunity of crimes against peacekeepers.
She stressed the need for addressing the insecurity of civilians caused by terrorist groups.
However, the primary responsibility to protect civilians from non-State groups across its territory lies with the host State.
“We should strengthen capabilities of the host States’ security forces by providing them adequate training and logistical support,” she said.
India said a regional approach is imperative for resolution of armed conflicts as well as building collective security against transnational threats posed by terrorist groups.
“The Council should support the role of regional and subregional organisations in mediation, the monitoring of ceasefires, assistance to the implementation of peace accords and post-conflict rebuilding,” Kamboj said.
India reiterated that the least the UN system needs to do is to ensure that the proposed memorial wall at the UN headquarters in memory of the fallen peacekeepers is installed urgently and at a visibly prominent location at these premises.
“India stands ready to contribute, including financially, to that noble endeavour,” she said.
Kamboj added that peacekeeping missions should be deployed prudently, with full recognition of their limitations.
“Equally important is to improve the understanding of mandate of peace operations among the local stakeholders – as to what a UN Peacekeeping Mission can and cannot do for them,” she said, adding that effective mission communication strategy and coordination with host Government plays a critical role in this regard and would help in addressing misinformation and disinformation against peacekeepers and enhancing safety and security of peacekeepers.
She emphasised that the role of women peacekeepers cannot be over-emphasised in effective peacekeeping.
India “takes pride” in having deployed the first-ever all women peacekeeping contingent in Liberia in 2007, which inspired a whole generation of Liberian women to take part in country’s security sector.
Kamboj voiced India’s readiness to contribute further in this regard.
India said establishing trust and ensuring smooth coordination between the Peacekeeping Mission’s leadership and the host State is essential to achieve the desired goals of peacekeeping operations.
Peacekeeping Missions should encourage national ownership of the peace-building process among various stakeholders and adhere to the fundamental principles of peacekeeping, she said.
Kamboj told the Council that India has been a strong advocate of introducing new and advanced technology in Peacekeeping Missions to overcome security and mandate implementation challenges.
In 2021, India supported rolling out of the UNITE AWARE Platform aimed at enhancing safety and security of peacekeepers and signed an MOU with the UNC4ISR Academy for Peace Operations in Entebbe, Uganda, to meet its training and technology needs.
Kamboj said peacekeeping missions need to factor an exit strategy from their very inception.
“There are several examples of redundant peacekeeping missions which continue to be a drain on UN’s depleting resources. Given the spate of spiraling conflict zones across the global landscape, retention of redundancy at the cost of minimizing efficiency in other critical peacekeeping operations is uncalled for.” Kamboj emphasised that the success of UN peacekeeping ultimately depends not just on the weapons and equipment that the troops carry, but on the moral force that the decisions of the UN Security Council command and the political process set in motion to resolve the conflict.
“India, in line with its time-tested credentials and experience in this domain, stands ready to support any sincere effort in that regard,” she said.