Text of the Speech by Ambassador Arun K. Singh is appended below
It is a pleasure to be here this evening. Let me begin by thanking the Better World Campaign (BWC) and USIBC for extending me a warm welcome. My special thanks to BWC for celebrating the International Day of UN Peacekeepers and honouring India for its significant contribution to UN Peacekeeping over the last six decades. It's great to be among old friends and I see Atul who was a colleague in Indian Foreign Service and is now leading United Nation's Peacekeeping efforts, as Under Secretary General for Field Support since January 2015.
India stands committed to assist the UN in the maintenance of international peace and security with a proud history of UN peacekeeping dating back to its inception in the 1950s.Indian troops and police personnel have won high regard world-wide for their exceptional standards of performance under challenging circumstances.
India has contributed nearly 180,000 troops, the largest number from any country, participated in more than 44 missions out of the 69 UN peacekeeping operations mandated so far and 158 Indian peacekeepers have made the supreme sacrifice while serving in UN missions. In 2015 India is among the largest troop contributors [TCC] with around 8000 personnel deployed with ten UN Peacekeeping Missions, including the first Female Formed Police Unit under the UN
Peacekeeping has proven to be one of the effective tools available to the UN to assist host countries navigate the difficult path from conflict to peace. UN Peacekeeping, as we approach it, is guided by three basic principles:
Consent of the parties; Impartiality; Non-use of force except in self-defence and defence of the mandate.
Today's multidimensional peacekeeping operations are also called upon not only to maintain peace and security, but also to facilitate the political process, protect civilians, assist in disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of former combatants, in organization of elections, protect and promote human rights and support in restoring the rule of law. The Security Council's mandates to UN peacekeeping operations therefore need to be rooted in ground realities and correlated with the resources provided for the peacekeeping operation. It is critical that troop and police contributing countries are fully involved at all stages and in all aspects of mission planning.
We are seeing blurring of boundaries between conflict prevention, peacemaking, peacekeeping, peacebuilding and peace enforcement. While UN peacekeeping operations are, in principle, deployed to support the implementation of a ceasefire or peace agreement, they are often required to play an active role in peacemaking efforts and may also be involved in early peacebuilding activities. It is important to remember that impartiality and neutrality are key principles for ensuring acceptability of UN peacekeepers and also for their safety and security in the long term.
The Joint Statements adopted after the visit of PM Modi to USA in September, 2014 and President Obama's visit to India in January 2015 articulated an appreciation by US for the contributions of Indian peacekeepers to global peace and stability for the past 60 years, and welcomed the US partnership with India to train third country peacekeepers at India's training center in New Delhi.
While talking of peacekeeping, we cannot lose sight of the need for reform of UNSC so that it reflects the contemporary realities and enhances Council's credibility and effectiveness in dealing with global issues. President Obama also reaffirmed his support for a reformed UN Security Council with India as a permanent member and both leaders committed to ensuring that the Security Council continues to play an effective role in maintaining international peace and security as envisioned in the United Nations Charter.
India-U.S. engagement on UN and UN peacekeeping has been taking place in background of a growing India-U.S. relationship. The past year has been transformational in many ways. Today, the partnership is being implemented through more than 50 bilateral dialogue mechanisms between the two governments, and is a model of cooperation that not only benefits both nations, but also contributes to global peace, security and development. Cooperation across sectors like defence trade and technology, financial services, infrastructure, health care, education, energy, space and science and technology. will result in creation of greater employment opportunities for citizens of both nations. I believe that this would also be in the interest of global peace and prosperity.