General Assembly General Assembly


Mr. Chairman,


Let me begin by congratulating you on your assumption of this important office of Chair of the Peacekeeping Committee. We associate ourselves with the Statement delivered by Morocco on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement and would like to supplement it with some national perspectives.


2.       UN peacekeeping is a multi-stakeholder enterprise that emerged as a creative tool to respond to threats to international peace and security. Over the years, it has evolved to keep pace with the ever-growing complexity of challenges in a changing global environment. This Committee, which is charged with deliberating upon all aspects of peacekeeping, has a unique role in assessing these challenges and recommending appropriate measures to update the way we “keep the peace”. 


Mr. Chairman,


3.       Evidence that the strategic context in which the UN is “keeping the peace” is fast changing, is all around us.

  • i) Tragically, the level of casualties among peacekeepers, in the last 5 years, is the highest in any five-year period since the UN began “keeping the peace”. As a country which has sacrificed perhaps the largest number of its nationals in support of international peace and security, we view this with concern.
  • ii) No major political breakthroughs appear to be in sight, despite longstanding history of deployment in most of the Missions.
  • iii) A series of Strategic Reviews of various peacekeeping operations are underway to assess whether and how they can better fulfil their objectives.
  • iv) The Secretary General is in the throes of reworking the Secretariat’s processes to service the multiplicity of mandates that peacekeeping operations are required to fulfil.
  • v)  Concerns about greater sensitivity to gender, and worries about sexual exploitation and abuse, refuse to go away, despite the efforts made.
  • vi)  Consultations with Troop contributing countries before decision-making remain distant.

4.       In short, systemic shortcomings relating to the lack of clarity of mandates; mismatch with resources available to peacekeepers; lack of focus on political solutions to building and sustaining peace, are all well known through a series of reports and analyses. However, a coherent approach to jointly address these continues to elude us, even as we tend to focus on concepts for enhancing efficiency, effecting savings, improving logistics, expanding availability of troops and their rapid deployment.


Mr. Chairman,


5.       UN peacekeeping operations are primarily in intra-state situations, often with the involvement of non-state actors. In such circumstances, it is often proposed that a more 'robust' UN peacekeeping approach can deliver better. With little international investment in conflict resolution, this is tantamount to “arming without aiming”.  


6.       Adapting to high-risk environments is not only about military capabilities and posture. Implementation of ‘robust’ mandates is a much more complex task with serious inherent risks and less than certain outcomes, while possibly impacting the perceived impartiality of the United Nations.


7.    We, therefore, need to also examine what are the limits of large stabilization missions that are now undertaken. We need to consider whether there are other models that may entail investing in political engagement at all levels and implementing better non-security approaches. Let us not forget that the HIPPO Report motto was “politics is the best force multiplier.” This is, of course, the shared responsibility of the UN Secretariat, the Security Council and TCCs and the PCCs.


8.       India is a major T&PCC and safety and security of peacekeepers is of utmost importance to us, however, we do not think the success of UN peace keeping should be judged merely by the ability of peacekeepers to secure themselves, by arming themselves. It should be judged by the capability of missions to sustain peace by enabling political solutions through integrated responses.


9.       Of course, there is a case for UN peacekeepers to improve their training, equipment and performance. But let us also not ignore the underlying political issue, which is the UN Security Council’s decision to deploy peacekeepers into high-risk environments.  The humanitarian imperative to protect is intrinsic to ensuring that the peace is kept. However, peacekeepers cannot be substitutes for efforts to resolve conflict. This requires sustained political engagement. Such engagement needs to be addressed by the UN leadership at all levels and not by the troops alone.


Mr. Chairman,


10.     We acknowledge the requirement of rapid deployment in certain contexts and are working with the UN in this regard. However, the clarity of robust mandates and the needed resources, including unimpeachable information required for such flexible operations, in a fast-changing scenario, are difficult to achieve.


11.     The use of appropriate peacekeeping situational awareness is essential to assist the implementation of mandates and we welcome the ongoing efforts to fine-tune the policy framework on this sensitive issue. Modern technological tools are essential to complement human-based information for improving the situational awareness of peacekeeping operations. This should be done with appropriate safeguards that address the genuine concerns of the hosts and other stakeholders, that may be appropriate.


12.     Further, increasingly risky and complex military operations would require the knowledge of ground conditions that is often available with the troops deployed on the ground. It is, therefore, essential to institutionalize meaningful consultations of the Security Council with the TCCs and PCCs.




13.     We welcome the ongoing efforts by the Secretariat to prioritize environmental management in peacekeeping missions, as also the focus on energy, waste and water management to enhance operational efficiency and reducing a Mission’s environmental footprint. The UN must lead by example in this regard. 


14.     The Defence Ministers meeting in Vancouver, last November, was useful in mobilizing further pledges from many Member States, particularly in rapidly deployable units, innovative 'smart' pledges of training and capacity-building, as well as to increase the deployment of female troops and police officers. India was happy to renew its earlier pledges and also to make fresh pledges at this initiative.


15.     As a country that provided the first female police unit to UN peacekeeping, India supports the increased role of women in peacekeeping operations. We are happy that we have been able to achieve 15% participation of female officers as staff officers or military observers in UN peacekeeping operations by December 2017.  


16.     We fully support the Secretary General's continued efforts to address the issue of sexual exploitation and abuse that have damaged the UN's credibility. India has signed the Compact in this regard and Prime Minister Modi has joined the Secretary-General’s ‘Circle of Leadership’ on this issue. India was also the first country to contribute to the UNSG's Trust Fund to assist victims of sexual violence.


17.     India continues to work with the UN and partner countries to assist with training of peacekeepers, especially women peacekeepers from Africa. The latest of such joint training programmes was held last week, in association with the UN Women, on mainstreaming gender in UN Peacekeeping to end conflict related sexual violence.  


Mr. Chairman,


18.     We look forward to working with partners in this committee to make UN peacekeeping operations more effective and efficient, while observing the principles that have guided us in our collective endeavors to “keep the peace” thus far.


Thank You.