United Nations, Jul 3: Underlining the need to strengthen the existing mechanisms in UN peacekeeping operations, India has urged caution against actions rooted in authorisation from a Security Council that does not represent current realities and underscored the need to reform the powerful UN body.

Delivering India's position on UN Policing during the 4th UN Chief of Police Summit held here last month, Intelligence Bureau Director Tapan Kumar Deka said that while creating the right political conditions and supporting development is conducive to creating conditions where conflict doesn't take root, “we have to be wary of infringing upon the sovereignty of host nations and their various political stakeholders, especially given the current mistrust the world has in our multilateral systems”.

“We have also been witnessing conversations on peace enforcement in the context of peace operations. While we need to strengthen existing mechanisms, we call for caution on any activity that is rooted in authorisation from a Security Council that is not representative of current realities,” he said at the session titled ‘Strengthening Peace Operations and Peace Enforcement'.

Deka said as the Security Council is the institutional architecture primarily responsible for the maintenance of international peace and security, it is important that the 15-nation UN organ is a reformed body with the expansion of membership in both the permanent and non-permanent categories.

Given that more than half of the Security Council's work is focused on Africa, India has been consistently calling for greater representation of Africa in line with the Ezulwini Consensus and the Sirte Declaration, he said.

Deka said the changing nature of armed conflict, with a surge in intra-state conflicts involving non-state armed groups, has increasingly exposed peacekeeping operations to regional and global dynamics that undermine their efforts to implement their mandate. The maintenance of international peace and security has become more complex and calls for strengthening our peace operations in a manner that they are rooted in clear mandates, backed by adequate resources and incorporating clear exit strategies.

“Our recent experiences have been indicating the fallacy of solutions being imposed from outside. India has always stressed that there can be no substitute for national efforts in creating an environment where civilians are secure,” he said, adding that it is important that conducive conditions are created for local political and social processes to take hold.

“The eroding support of host nations to the presence of peacekeepers is a reflection of the failure to address the root causes of conflict,” Deka said.

Apart from being one of the largest troop-contributing countries, Indian police contribution to UN peacekeeping is also a priority area with the Formed Police Unit of 139 personnel deployed in the United Nations Organisation Stabilisation Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO), which included 11 women.

India also has 11 individual police officers deployed in the UN mission in South Sudan and one deployed in the United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA).

Deka said India's experience has revealed recently further learnings that can be employed in its operations.

“We have experienced, in the context of our deployment in a conflict-ridden situation, that there are divergences in interpretation of mandates between various stakeholders, which results in inadequacy of mandate delivery as well as a threat to the safety of our peacekeepers.

“It is, thereby, extremely important that there is continuous and effective coordination between the UN leadership, host nation as well as Troop/Police Contributing countries. This is necessary right from conception when Mission mandates are drawn, to the execution process, till the time of exit of Missions. Strengthened peace operations call for strengthened coordination,” he said.

Further complicating the conflict scenarios is the misuse of the access to digital and social media which is used to spread misinformation and disinformation, Deka said, adding that this calls for strategic communication to be strengthened as also creating local awareness on the mandate of the peacekeeping missions so that there are no misplaced expectations on part of local government and society.

“At the same time, we must accept that host nations would need our support in their endeavour of finding lasting solutions, and towards this end, we must promote multilateral solutions, including regional partnerships, that can overcome the limitations of the Security Council's outdated membership,” he said. PTI