India is one of the founding members of United Nations. India’s commitments for maintenance of international peace have been second to none.
UN Peacekeeping is guided by four basic principles
1_Consent of the parties.
3_Non use of force except in self-defence.
4_Defence of the mandate.
1. 1950 Korean war – Medical Unit and Custodian force for Neutral Nations Repatriation Commission.
2. Indian forces served in Gaza Strip from 1956 to 1967.
3. 1960 in Congo, on attaining independence from Belgium.
4. In Iran – Iraq after Gulf War I, On Iraq Kuwait border.
5. Central America, Lebanon, Golan Heights, Rwanda, Sudan/South Sudan.
1. Total 49 mission sending more than 2,08,000 troops. Highest troop contribution amongst all countries.
2. 156 Indians have sacrificed their lives on peacekeeping mission, highest for any nation.
3. Indian peacekeepers have been awarded with Dag Hammarskjold award for their supreme sacrifices.
4. India have unique distinction of sending all women contingent in Liberia.
5. We also have developed a well-rounded policy on UN peacekeeping.
6. India has established training centre in Delhi under Centre for UN Peacekeeping.
7. Image of Indian peacekeepers is that they have acted in extremely profession manner. They are known for their competence and ability to establish rapport with local populations.
8. Presently in 2019, according to UN website 6,022 Indian troops are deployed in 9 out of 14 UN peacekeeping missions. Primarily in Congo, South Sudan and Lebanon.
It would be an understatement to say that India’s contribution to global peace has been remarkable.Antonio Guterres
Changing role of peacekeepers.
History of peacekeeping.
1. It was formed as a tool to maintain peace and security in the conflict areas during cold war period when UNSC had been paralyzed.
2. First Peacekeepers were sent to Arab-Israeli war. They were unarmed military troops whose primary role was to monitor, report and and build confidence.
3. First Armed mission – 1956 Suez Crisis.
4. First large scale mission – Congo crisis. 20,000 troops were deployed. India contributed heavily in this mission.
5. Since then more than 70 missions have been employed by UN.
Present situation of peacekeeping.
1. Now Peacekeepers are often involved in civil wars, where constitutional authority does not exist, or is often limited.
2. Sometimes non-state actors are also involved which are not bound to follow any norms.
3. They are also called upon to monitor humanitarian relief operations. Human rights violations, Assist in mine clearance.
4. Monitor state boundaries.
5. Provide civilian police support.
6. Assist in infrastructure building like road, railway, bridges.
7. Assist in electoral processes.
Present Issues in Peacekeeping.
1. Changing nature of peacekeeping (as discussed above).
2. Reluctance on part of developed countries to contribute troops for the mission.
3. Allegations by fund contributing countries of misappropriation of funds by troop contributing countries.
4. Some countries like Pakistan and Bangladesh look at peacekeeping as a means to earn foreign exchange. They have failed to act in responsible manner.
India’s demands for reforms.
1. Consultation with troop contributing countries.
2. More funds and timely release of funds.
3. Zero tolerance towards any irresponsible behaviour like sexual violence, corruption etc. by peacekeepers.
4. Developed countries have proposed ‘robust peacekeeping’. Since attacks against peacekeepers are increasing, they should also be allowed to keep offensive weapons.
(There is also objection to this idea since it will end difference between peacekeeping and collective security. This can be mis-utilized by developed countries who will send their forces in disguise of peacekeepers.)
Based on the articles from
1. India and United Nations Peacekeeping Operations, MEA website. by Lt. Gen. Satish Nambiar (Retd.)
2. 70 years of peacekeeping: Achievements, challenges and need for reforms, ORF website, by Pallav Agarwal.