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India Calls For Well-Planned Transitions Of UN Peacekeeping Missions

India Calls For 'Well-Planned Transitions' Of UN Peacekeeping Missions

Union Minister Meenakshi Lekhi said UN Missions play an important role in bringing peace. (File)

United Nations:

India, which is among the largest troop contributing countries to UN peacekeeping, on Wednesday said that drawdown of peacekeeping missions should not be driven by the temptation for austerity, cautioning that the cost of relapsing is always much higher than the short-term savings.

Addressing the UN Security Council open debate on UN Peacekeeping Operations – Transitions, held under Ireland’s current Presidency of the 15-nation Council, Union Minister of State for External Affairs Meenakshi Lekhi said the drawdown of a UN Peacekeeping Operation and its reconfiguration into a minimal modified UN presence represents a critical phase for the success of a UN Peacekeeping Mission.

“For the host country, on one hand this signals progress towards political stability and new development opportunities; but on the other hand, it also presents a real risk of the country relapsing into conflict,” she said during the event.

“UN Peacekeeping Missions have been playing an important role in bringing about peace and stability in countries of deployment, despite numerous operational challenges. One of the major operational challenges that continue to hamper Peacekeeping operations has been the transition phase from peacekeeping to peacebuilding,” she added.

India is the largest troop contributor to the UN peacekeeping operations in cumulative terms since their inception, having deployed more than 250,000 peacekeepers across 49 UN missions.

Ms Lekhi also called for well planned transitions of these missions. She underscored that it is important that mission transitions are well planned, taking into account the objective assessment of various factors in the host country.

“The drawdown of a peacekeeping mission should not be driven by the temptation for austerity. The cost of relapsing is always much higher than the short-term savings,” she said, adding that in this regard, India welcomes the important advisory, bridging and convening roles of the Peacebuilding Commission, especially when the Council is discussing mandates of Peacekeeping Missions.

Underlining that peacekeeping and peacebuilding are not mutually exclusive, Lekhi said it is important to actively support the post-conflict peacebuilding and recovery initiatives of the host States and the efforts of the UN in Peacebuilding should be strengthened, by providing it adequate financial resources.

She emphasised that the primary responsibility to protect civilians across its territory lies with the host State.

The Security Council should encourage and support the efforts of the host State towards the effective implementation of a national plan for civilian protection.

Noting that full respect for the sovereignty of a country can never be over-emphasised, she said the transition strategies should recognise the primacy of national governments and national ownership in identifying and driving priorities.

“The efforts of the host States towards security sector reforms, capacity building of police, justice and correction, and promotion of rule of law and good governance need to be supported and supplemented,” she said.

She also highlighted that the political solution of the conflict is paramount for achieving stability and sustainable peace.
Reconfigured peacekeeping operations have a crucial role in fostering a positive environment and encouraging collaboration among all relevant parties, she said.

Ms Lekhi told the Council, which also heard from UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, that the transition of peacekeeping operations and peacebuilding depend on several factors, including the way such transitions are envisaged, planned and executed by the UN.

“To be successful, this critical phase needs the active collaboration of all stakeholders,” she said, citing the example of the recent transition of the UN-AU Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) into the UN Integrated Transition Assistance Mission in Sudan (UNITAMS).

She stressed that effective mandate delivery of the UN peacekeeping missions is critical to achieve the benchmarks for transition.The peacekeeping missions should be given clear, focused, sequenced, prioritized and practically achievable mandates, and most importantly, these should be matched by adequate resources.

India is the largest troop contributor to the UN peacekeeping operations in cumulative terms since their inception, having deployed more than 250,000 peacekeepers across 49 UN missions.

“This bears testimony to India’s commitment towards contributing a reliable, well-trained and highly professional peacekeeping force,” Ms Lekhi said.

As of today, nearly 5,500 Indian peacekeepers are deployed across 9 UN Missions and 174 peacekeepers from the country made the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty.

India “was also happy to donate” COVID-19 vaccines for all UN peacekeepers and upgrade two hospitals for peacekeeping to combat the pandemic.

Ms Lekhi also highlighted that the first-ever all women peacekeeping contingent was from India and stationed in Liberia. India’s Female Engagement Team (FET) is also playing an important role in MONUSCO, she said.

India, which had organised a signature event on peacekeeping during its Presidency of the Council last month, said technology, especially digital technology can play a crucial role in post conflict peace building, to improve public services, promote transparency in governance, enhance the reach of democracy, promote human rights and gender sensitivity.

She stressed that India is convinced that human-centric, gender sensitive and technologically primed solutions and the robust functioning of democratic institutions of governance that give all stakeholders a say in creating a better future is the biggest guarantee for the success of peacebuilding and for sustaining peace.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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