Security Council: At the Open Debate on United Nations Peacekeeping: A Multidimensional Approach at the United Nations Security Council

Jan 21,2013

Mr. President,


At the outset let me thank you for organizing this debate on the important subject of peacekeeping and its crucial role in building peace in post-conflict situations.


India is proud to have been associated with UN peacekeeping from its very inception. As a country that has contributed more than 100,000 peacekeepers to virtually every United Nations peacekeeping operation in the past six decades, we have an abiding interest in UN Peacekeeping. During our Presidency of the Security Council in August 2011, we had also organized a debate on UN Peacekeeping. Even today India is one of the largest contributors to major Peacekeeping missions, and we remain committed to this global enterprise.


I also wish to convey our deep appreciations to the Secretary General for his presence today and his useful briefing on the subject. Peacekeeping has been a critical activity of the UN in maintaining international peace and security. Its collaborative character infuses it with a unique legitimacy that defines its strength.


The core values of UN peacekeeping explain its enduring relevance. Principles of consent, impartiality, and non-use of force except in self-defence and in defence of the mandate have all outlived the many transitions that peacekeeping has witnessed from truce-supervision missions of yesteryears to multi-dimensional mandates of today.


Today’s debate on the multidimensional nature of peacekeeping underscores the evolutionary nature of peacekeeping in ample measure.


Mr. President,


Peacekeeping often gets deliberated as a standalone exercise rather than as a contributory endeavour that imparts strength to the larger peace enterprise. This reflects the substance of its currency. In order for peace to be sustainable, enduring and lasting it is imperative that all components of the comprehensive peace enterprise contribute in achieving peace.


In this regard, I would like to draw the Security Council’s attention to the Presidential Statement (S/PRST/2011/17) issued in August 2011 that called for meaningful engagements with the TCCs, integration of field expertise and experiences in peacebuilding strategies, and in the drafting of mission mandates.


The nature of mandates will continue to shape the practice of peacekeeping. My delegation has often spoken strongly, in favour of a tiered and inclusive mandate-making process to ensure that mandates are updated, flexible, and in tune with the ground realities. In-depth consultations with troop and police contributing countries should be an integral part of the mandate generation process. A fair assessment of mandates with corresponding resources will inject a sense of realism into expectations with respect to mission objectives and achievements.


Unfortunately, resource allocation has failed to keep pace with the mandate expansion, and peacekeeping missions are called upon to do more and more with less and less. This has added to operational challenges faced by peacekeepers and missions are overstretched due to shortage of personnel and equipment. Resources accorded need to be commensurate with the mandates and efficiency measures should not compromise operational necessities.


A reference has been made to UNMOGIP. Suffice to point out that UNMOGIP’s role has been overtaken by the Simla Agreement of 1972 between India and Pakistan, signed by the Heads of the two governments and ratified by their respective parliaments. In times of austerity, we need to address the question whether the resources being spent on UNMOGIP would not be better utilized elsewhere.


Mr. President,


Peacekeeping and peacebuilding are two sides of the same coin. Critical peacebuilding tasks such as disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR), security sector reform (SSR), rule of law, basic governance, institution building, and support to the democratic processes are all premised on peacekeepers proactive involvement. Our strategies and approaches, therefore, should be geared to capitalize on these strengths. UN Peacekeeping, in-fact, makes all of this affordable at a fraction of the cost involved in similar endeavours elsewhere.


Two- thirds of UN’s field presence comprises of uniformed personnel. They respond to a complex set of challenges in a holistic manner. In this context we should synergize the keeping-of-peace and the building-of-peace. Their mutual-complementarities should be harmonized rather than being zoned as the civilian versus military.


Functional necessities should guide us in developing programmatic contents and budgetary outlines. The propensity to create new structures, mechanisms, and positions that only add additional bureaucratic layers need to be discouraged in the current context.


Partnership is peacekeeping’s central pillar. All stakeholders of the process have a duty to enhance dialogue and mutual understandings. The triangular cooperation framework, in this regard, offers a viable site to engender and consolidate this partnership.


The representative character of peacekeeping and its reform process is the key to its across the board acceptability. It is imperative that the work on this reform process is not the prerogative of a few but is representative across the board.


Finally, Mr. President, my delegation is happy that a resolution has been adopted today that will strengthen the peacekeeping framework.


I Thank You, Mr. President.

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