Greater consultation between the UN Security Council and troop contributing countries is "no longer an option but an urgent imperative" for effective UN peacekeeping operations, India today said while emphasising that UNSC mandates must "recognise" ground realities.
Greater consultation between the UN Security Council and troop contributing countries is “no longer an option but an urgent imperative” for effective UN peacekeeping operations, India today said while emphasising that UNSC mandates must “recognise” ground realities.
“As a country that has participated in close to 50 peacekeeping operations, and which values this opportunity to serve, we believe there is need for greater consultation between the UNSC and troop contributing countries. This is no longer an option, it is an urgent imperative,” Minister of State for External Affairs M J Akbar said at the inaugural session of United Nations Peacekeeping Course for African Partners (UNPCAP-01) at the Manekshaw Centre here.
He said experience shows that the effectiveness of UN peacekeepers depends “critically” on the consent that exists for their presence on the ground.
“Troop contributing countries (TCC) should and must be consulted, not just because Article 44 of the UN Charter says so, but because TCCs with their commanders and personnel deployed on the ground can provide valuable inputs to the UNSC when it draws up mandates, or when it translates mandates into implementable peacekeeping objectives,” he said.
The course will be held till August 12 as a Indo-US partnership, under which representatives of armed forces from various African countries would be trained in intricacies of global peacekeeping including “saving lives of civilians, children” during conflicts.
“There can be no prosperity without peace…Therefore all of you are also missionaries of prosperity,” Akbar said.
He said it is also time to pay more attention to the manner in which “we draw up UNSC mandates. Mandates must recognise ground realities”.
“A peacekeeping mission’s strategic goals must be laid down in clear and precise terms, and only after taking realistic stock of the resources should we make a commitment. Overly ambitious or robust mandates, without the required diplomatic preparation or necessary resources, are a sure recipe for failure, which, in turn, will undermine the UN’s long-term credibility,” he said.
US Ambassador to India Richard Verma said, “Today we commemorate a new chapter in our cooperation, by working together with third world country partners in Africa to build peacekeeping capacity. This initiative was announced at the 2015 US-India Strategic and Commercial Dialogue, and I am proud to say that in less than a year we have translated our pledge into action.”
Army Vice Chief Lt Gen MMS Rai, India’s Permanent Representative in UN Syed Akbaruddin, UN Resident Coordinator Yuri Afanasiev, and a few top officials from the US government were also present at the function.
Akbar said India’s close ties with Africa are well known, “our friendship and cooperation deepens every day”.
“We are ‘neighbours’ across an ocean. We have together fought colonialism and apartheid, today we are working with even greater passion and commitment to liberate our peoples from a punishing legacy of poverty.
“Prosperity is our common purpose. It was a privilege for India to host all 54 members of the AU last October at the India-Africa Forum, which marked another major stride in this effort,” he said.
On India’s contribution to peacekeeping, Verma said India has participated in “48 of the UN’s 69 peacekeeping missions – a higher proportion than any other country – and many of these missions have been in Africa”.
“Our growing collaboration on peacekeeping is underpinned by two fundamental principles: one is India’s long and proud tradition of peacekeeping, which is commensurate with its global leadership. The second premise is that the US and India share not only an important bilateral relationship, but an increasingly global partnership,” he said.
India’s Permament Representative in UN Syed Akbaruddin said peackeeping can be summarised in “five Cs — complicated, complex, challenging, entails extensive requrement for capacity building, and needs cooperation.
“It involves a vast array of actors….It is as critics as say like a Christmas tree. Every actor invloved in making the mandate tries to pin his or her wish-list onto the tree,” he said.
Akbar said, “Over the years the nature of this peacekeeping has also changed. What started out as a tool to prevent inter-state wars, has now also been deployed to solve intra-state conflicts, often in environments that also involve terrorism and criminal networks.”
As a leading TCC, India has searched for practical ideas that will help bridge the gap between our promise of “never again” and levels of effectiveness, he said.
“Our answer lies in the way we train our peace keepers. Better training for UN peace keepers will almost always ensure better outcomes, no matter how difficult or complex the peace operation.
“Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced at the Peace Keeping Summit last September at the United Nations, and also at the India Africa Forum last October, that India will do whatever it can to share its peace keeping experience with others and in particular with countries in Africa,” Akbar said.