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UN Peacekeeping: Experiences of India and Brazil

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  • August 19, 2013
    Round Table
    1500 to 1730 hrs

    The Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses hosted a round table discussion on UN Peacekeeping: Experiences of India and Brazil on August 19, 2013. The conference was chaired by DG, IDSA and the participants included H.E. Mr. Carlos Duarte, Ambassador of Brazil to India, Lt. Gen. (Retd) Satish Nambiar, Distinguished Fellow, IDSA, Ambassador Deepak Bhojwani, Brig. Harinder Singh, Maj. Gen. (Retd.) Ashok Kumar Mehta, Col. S. Murugesan, Director, CUNPK and Mr. Pawan Kapoor, JS (UNP), Ministry of External Affairs.
    Some key points were highlighted by the speakers.

    • India and Brazil are key participants of UN peace keeping operations (PKO). During their long history as traditional peace keepers, India has participated in 46 missions out of a total of 67 peace keeping missions while Brazil has participated in over 30. Currently, India and Brazil are ranked third and seventeenth respectively, among the top 20 troop contributing countries (TCC).
    • The Centre for United Nations Peacekeeping (CUNPK), New Delhi, acts as a training facility for Military Contingent officers/ Military Observers and staff members. It also provides training to personnel from friendly foreign countries and organises international seminars and discussions.
    • The nature of peacekeeping has undergone a change in the past decade. There has been a significant rise in the PKO budget and troop deployment along with an expansion in the mandate of peace keeping. There is recognition of the relationship between security and development, which is vital to establish peace and avoid recurrence of conflict. Under this multidisciplinary approach, peace keeping involves stabilisation of conflict area, political reconciliation, institution building, reconstruction and development and protection of civilians.
    • While the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) doctrine remains highly contentious, both in terms of its necessity and legitimacy, the concept of Responsibility while protecting (RwP) was introduced by the Brazilian President in her opening speech of the UNGA session in 2011 as a complementary concept. RwP seeks to reduce UN-authorised violence and make peace keeping a more judicious process.
    • There is a mismatch between mandate creation through UNSC resolutions and mandate implementation on the ground. Burden sharing has become a myth as the developed countries have completely removed themselves from activities in the field while TCCs struggle to keep up with the wider scope of peace keeping missions with fewer resources available.
    • PKOs have acquired a regional component with the involvement of regional groupings such as EU and AU in these missions. A cooperative framework on peacekeeping could be envisaged for the SAARC grouping in the South Asia region as three of the countries in the region, namely Bangladesh, Pakistan and India are the largest TCCs.

    During general discussion, the following issues were highlighted.

    • There is a need to remember the purpose of PKOs which is not to get entrenched in internal conflict but create a space for dialogue. The narrow concept of peace keeping needs to be redefined to reflect its broad mandate.
    • There should be consideration for creating a standing force of the UN which is deployed as soon as the UNSC passes a resolution and pulls back to go into reserve when a UNPK force has been put together. Deliberations need to be held on how to fund and maintain a standing capability.
    • The concept of Force Intervention Brigade (as deployed in DR Congo) is not necessarily the right way to proceed and a distinction needs to be made between the brigade and other UNPK forces deployed in the conflict area.
    • The TCCs need to be involved in mandate crafting to reduce the performance gap and reassess their relevance. The developed countries also need to step up while TCCs demand a bigger role in the decision making process and establish best practices.
    • The intention behind mandate creation needs to be examined carefully. The role of RwP doctrine as an improvement to the R2P concept also needs to be explored in this context.

    Report prepared by Divita Shandilya, Research Intern, IDSA