About UN Peacekeeping Forces
- The United Nations Peacekeeping Forces (UNPKF) 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.
Contribution of India
- India has consistently been among the top troop contributing nations to the U.N.
- The country has so far participated in 51 of the 71 missions and contributed over 2 lakh personnel.
Why in News?
- India has delivered on its promise of 2,00,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines for the United Nations Peacekeeping Force worldwide, sending a shipment bound for Copenhagen.
- The cargo of AstraZeneca Covishield vaccines produced by the Serum Institute of India (SII) in Pune was sent despite the government’s decision to reduce exports in view of the need for vaccines domestically, honouring a commitment made by External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar at a UNSC meeting in February.
- Officials said that the Indian donation, combined with a Chinese commitment for 3,00,000 doses of vaccines would ensure that the entire force of more than two lakh soldiers, which comprises about 91,000 active personnel and 1,11,512 uniformed personnel, receives the requisite two doses each.
- India’s donation to the UNPKF will also benefit Indian soldiers, who make up one of the largest contingents of peacekeeping troops and police, with more than 5,000 men and women deployed in the Congo, South Sudan and Lebanon, among other countries.