UN Peacekeeping


    In News

    • Recently, two BSF personnel who were part of the UN Peacekeeping Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) were among five people killed during a protest in an eastern town near the border with Uganda.

    About the recent killing and MONUSCO 

    • MONUSCO: This protest in Butembo was part of a week-long call for demonstrations and agitations against the UN mission called MONUSCO.
      • In the MONUSCO mission India is the second largest troop contributor, with 2000 personnel, after Pakistan.
      • The main command-and-control hub of MONUSCO is located in Goma, DRC.

    Background on United Nations Peacekeeping

    • 1948: The U.N. began its Peacekeeping efforts in 1948 when it deployed military observers to West Asia.
      • The Peacekeeping mission’s role was to monitor the Armistice Agreement between Israel and its Arab neighbours.
    • Joint effort: The U.N. Peacekeeping mission is a joint effort between the Department of Peace Operations and the Department of Operational Support, and aims to assist host countries to transition from situations of conflict to peace.
    • Aim: U.N. Peacekeepers provide security as well as political and peace building support to conflict-ridden countries.
    • Coverage: There are approximately 81,820 personnel serving on 13 peace operations led by UNDPO in four continents currently.
      • This represents a nine-fold increase since 1999.
    • Contribution: A total of 119 countries have contributed military and police personnel to UN peacekeeping.
      • Currently, 72,930 of those serving are troops and military observers, and about 8,890 are police personnel.
    • The three basic principles that guide U.N.’s Peacekeeping missions are:
      • Consent of the parties
      • Impartiality
      • Non-use of force except in self-defence and defence of the mandate
    • Responsibilities of U.N. military personnel
      • Protecting civilians and other U.N. personnel
      • Monitoring disputed borders
      • Observing peace processes in post-conflict areas
      • Providing security in conflict zones
      • Providing security during elections
      • Assisting in-country military personnel with training and support
      • Assisting ex-combatants in implementing the peace agreements

    India’s contribution to UN Peacekeeping

    • History of India’s contribution: India’s contribution to UN Peacekeeping began with its participation in the UN operation in Korea in the 1950s, where India’s mediatory role in resolving the stalemate over prisoners of war in Korea led to the signing of the armistice that ended the Korean War. 
      • The UN entrusted the Indian armed forces with subsequent peace missions in the Middle East, Cyprus, and the Congo.
      • India also served as Chair of the three international commissions for supervision and control for Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos established by the 1954 Geneva Accords on Indochina.
    • Contribution: India has a long history of service in UN Peacekeeping, having contributed more personnel than any other country.
      • More than 2, 53,000 Indians have served in 49 of the 71 UN Peacekeeping missions established around the world since 1948.
    • Fifth highest contributor: currently there are around 5,500 troops and police from India who have been deployed to UN Peacekeeping missions, the fifth highest amongst troop-contributing countries.
    • Force Commanders: India has also provided, and continues to provide, eminent Force Commanders for UN Missions.
      • India also had the honour of providing two Military Advisers.
    • Role of women in Indian Peacekeeping
      • In 2007, India became the first country to deploy an all-women contingent to a UN Peacekeeping Mission.
      • The Formed Police Unit in Liberia provided 24-hour guard duty and conducted night patrols in the capital Monrovia, and helped to build the capacity of the Liberian police.
    • Medical care as part of India’s Missions
      • In addition to their security role the members of the Indian Formed Police Unit also organised medical camps for Liberians, many of whom have limited access to health care services.
      • Medical care is among the many services Indian Peacekeepers provide to the communities in which they serve on behalf of the Organisation.
      • Indian veterinarians serving with the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) stepped up to help cattle herders who were losing much of their stock to malnutrition and disease in the war-torn nation.
      • The Hospital by India in Goma, operational since January 2005 has 90 Indian nationals including 18 specialists.
    • UN Medals of Honour
      • The Indian contingent in the Upper Nile region has all received UN Medals of Honour.
    • Trust Fund on sexual exploitation
      • India was the first country to contribute to the Trust Fund on sexual exploitation and abuse which was set up in 2016. 

    Data/ Facts/ Statistics

    • A total 175 Indian peacekeepers have so far died while serving with the United Nations.
    • India has lost more peacekeepers than any other UN Member State.
    • India has been the largest troop contributor to UN missions since inception.
    • Blue Helmets
      • Blue Helmets are the military personnel of the U.N. that work alongside the U.N. Police and civilian colleagues to promote stability, security, and peace processes. 
      • The personnel get the name from the iconic blue helmets or berets they wear. 
      • All military personnel under Blue Helmets are members of their national armies first who are seconded to work under the U.N. command. 
      • African and Asian countries outnumber their western counterparts in contributing soldiers to Blue Helmets.  


    Way Forward/ Suggestions

    • International community: India is of the view that the international community must grasp the rapid changes that are underway in the nature and role of contemporary peacekeeping operations. 
    • The Security Council’s mandates to UN Peacekeeping operations need to be rooted in ground realities, and correlated with the resources provided for the peacekeeping operation.
    • Involvement: It is critical that troop and police contributing countries should be fully involved at all stages and in all aspects of mission planning.
    • Financial and human resources: There should be greater financial and human resources for peace-building in post-conflict societies.
    • Solving difference of opinion: The biggest challenge that UN peacekeeping forces are facing today is the difference of opinion between the countries of the Global North and South with regards to the scope and mandates of peacekeeping operations.

    Source: IE