About UN Peacekeeping Forces
- The United Nations Peacekeeping Forces are employed by the UN to maintain or re-establish peace in an area of armed conflict.
- The UN may engage in conflicts between states as well as in struggles within states. The UN acts as an impartial third party in order to prepare the ground for a settlement of the issues that have provoked armed conflict.
- The UN Peacekeeping Forces may only be employed when both parties to a conflict accept their presence.
- The Peacekeeping Forces are subordinate to the leadership of the United Nations. They are normally deployed as a consequence of a UN Security Council decision. However, on occasion, the initiative has been taken by the General Assembly.
- Operational control belongs to the Secretary-General and his secretariat.
- There are two kinds of peacekeeping operations – unarmed observer groups and lightly-armed military forces. The latter are only allowed to employ their weapons for self-defence.
- The observer groups are concerned with gathering information for the UN about actual conditions prevailing in an area.
- The military forces are entrusted with more extended tasks, such as keeping the parties to a conflict apart and maintaining order in an area.
- The first UN peacekeeping mission was a team of observers deployed to the Middle East in 1948, during the 1948 Arab–Israeli War.
Why in News?
- Presiding over a United Nations Security Council open debate on technology and peacekeeping, External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar announced the rollout of a technological platform in partnership with the U.N., ‘ UNITE Aware’, to help enhance the safety of U.N. peacekeepers.
- UNITE Aware is a situational awareness software programme that will utilise modern surveillance technology for real time threat assessments to peacekeepers and help them enhance their security.
- This will access live video and satellite imagery, and in very volatile circumstances can also deliver early warnings to peacekeepers. It can also record data on critical incidents and events and follow daily operational activities. Using the platform, the entire peacekeeping operation can be visualised, coordinated, and monitored on a real time basis.
- India has developed the technology platform in partnership with the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations and the Department of Operational Support.
Contribution of India
- India, as a major contributing nation to U.N. peacekeeping activities, has been keen on using its month-long UNSC Presidency to prioritise peacekeeping. Recently, the Security Council adopted a resolution that paid tribute to peacekeepers and asked member-states that had hosted them to bring to justice those who had killed or committed acts of violence against them.
- India, which has 5,000 of its personnel deployed across nine missions, has lost 175 soldiers over the decades.
- India has consistently been among the top troop contributing nations to the U.N.
- In 2007, India became the first country to deploy an all-women contingent to a UN peacekeeping mission.
- The country has so far participated in 51 of the 71 missions and contributed over 2 lakh personnel.