Why in news?
- On May 29, the Indian Army commemorated the 75th International Day of UN Peacekeepers.
- On this day, India also announced that it will organize two initiatives later this year for women personnel from South East Asia as part of defence cooperation with ASEAN.
- This announcement follows Indian Defence Minister’s suggestion last year to focus on "women in United Nations Peacekeeping (UNPK) operations" as an important initiative.
What’s in today’s article?
- United Nations Peacekeeping (UNPK) operations
- News Summary
- The UN Charter gives the Security Council primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security.
- In fulfilling this responsibility, the Council can establish a UN peace operation.
- UN peace operations are deployed on the basis of mandates from the United Nations Security Council.
- These mandates differ from situation to situation, depending on the nature of the conflict and the specific challenges it presents.
- Depending on their mandate, peace operations may be required to:
- Deploy to prevent the outbreak of conflict or the spill-over of conflict across borders;
- Stabilize conflict situations after a ceasefire;
- Assist in implementing comprehensive peace agreements;
- Lead states or territories through a transition to stable government, based on democratic principles, good governance and economic development.
- There are three basic principles that continue to set UN peacekeeping operations apart as a tool for maintaining international peace and security. These are:
- Consent of the parties
- In the absence of such consent, a peacekeeping operation risks becoming a party to the conflict; and being drawn towards enforcement action.
- Peacekeepers should be impartial in their dealings with the parties to the conflict, but not neutral in the execution of their mandate.
- Non-use of force except in self-defence and defence of the mandate
- Since 1948, the UN has helped end conflicts and foster reconciliation by conducting successful peacekeeping operations in dozens of countries, including Cambodia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mozambique, Namibia and Tajikistan.
- UN peacekeeping has also made a real difference in other places with recently completed or on-going operations such as Sierra Leone, Burundi, Côte d’Ivoire, Timor-Leste, Liberia, Haiti and Kosovo.
- In other instances, however, UN peacekeeping have been challenged and found wanting, for instance in Somalia, Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia in the early 1990s.
- Overall, UN Peacekeeping Forces have an impressive record of peacekeeping achievements, including winning the Nobel Peace Prize (1988).
India’s contribution in peacekeeping missions
- Current status
- India is one of the largest troop contributing nation to UNPK.
- Currently, India has around 5,900 troops deployed in 12 U.N. Missions.
- India’s contribution to the peacekeeping budget stands at 0.16%.
- Contribution so far
- India has been actively participating in peacekeeping right from 1950 when it supplied medical personnel and troops to the UN Repatriation Commission in Korea.
- India has contributed approximately 2,75,000 troops to peacekeeping missions so far and 159 Indian Army soldiers have lost their lives across the globe.
- Joint training of U.N. peacekeepers from African countries
- In 2016, India and the U.S. had begun an annual training programme for joint training of U.N. peacekeepers from African countries.
- Centre for United Nations Peacekeeping (CUNPK)
- Indian Army has established a CUNPK in New Delhi to impart training in peacekeeping operations and the Centre trains more than 12,000 troops every year.
- Women deployment
- 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.
- This 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.
- Other contributions
- In August 2021, India, in collaboration with the UN launched UNITE AWARE platform.
- It is a technology platform to ensure the safety and security of peacekeepers.
- India has also proposed a 10-point plan, including making those targeting UN peacekeepers more accountable.
- It also suggested to build a memorial wall to honour peacekeepers.
- To further expand the India-ASEAN ties,the Raksha Mantri had announced initiatives for Women in UN Peace Keeping Operations.
- These proposals were made at the inaugural India-ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting held in November 2022 at Siem Reap, Cambodia, to commemorate the 30th Anniversary of India-ASEAN relations.
- As part of this announcement, India is set to conduct two initiatives for women personnel from South East Asia later this year.
Initiatives under the India-ASEAN Initiative for women in UNPK operations
- Courses for women peacekeepers of ASEAN member-states
- One of the initiatives includes conducting of tailor-made courses for women peacekeepers of ASEAN member-states at the Centre for United Nations Peacekeeping (CUNPK) in India this September.
- The Indian Army has established CUNPK (in 2000) in New Delhi to impart niche training in peacekeeping operations.
- In all 20 peacekeepers, two from each country, would be trained.
- Table Top Exercise for women officers from ASEAN
- The other initiative is a ‘Table Top Exercise’ for women officers from ASEAN incorporating facets of UNPK challenges to be conducted in December.