India eyes a larger say in UN peacekeeping operations

YB WEB DESK. Dated: 5/14/2018 5:31:50 PM

India is encouraging and supporting countries that send soldiers for United Nations peacekeeping operations with an eye on having a larger say when the mandate of such missions are set, said officials aware of the policy. As part of the drive, India is training 41 UN peacekeepers from 19 African countries in New Delhi.
“We have been cooperating with the US on joint training. This is in accordance with what Prime Minister told world leaders in New York in 2017 that India would step up its commitment to UN peacekeeping efforts,” said an official, who doesn’t want to be named.
The training is organised by the Center for United Nations Peacekeeping in India.
“This is the third in a series of peacekeeping courses for forces from African countries. It is significant that more African countries are sending troops for peacekeeping,” the official said.
Similar programmes were held in 2016 and 2017. “We train the troops. And we train the trainers. The idea of training the trainers helps expanding the programme,” the official said.
The programme includes imparting training in languages other than English. For instance, the current course includes Hindi and English. “The selection of participants was such that over 50% are from Francophone countries,” the official said.
The training modules include logistical matters, humanitarian issues that come up during operations, blackboard and tabletop exercises and mission briefs.
India has contributed more than 180,000 troops for over 49 UN peacekeeping missions. The country is the second largest troop contributor with 7,676 personnel deployed in 10 of 16 active UN peacekeeping missions of which 760 are policemen.
Also, India is seeking a greater role in decision-making for peacekeeping missions.
“Apart from the training aspect the international community must also start looking to reform the manner in which UN peacekeeping missions are established and operated in these challenging times,” said Ruchi Ghanashyam, secretary west in the foreign ministry during her address to the trainee peacekeepers in New Delhi.
“First, we need to acknowledge and address the political and legal challenges that have arisen when robust mandates are conferred on UN troops to achieve ambitious objectives. We remain an international system founded on the principle of respect for sovereignty, and there are difficult legal and political choices that will have to be made when robust mandates are given to UN peacekeeping missions,” she said.


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