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Success of peacekeeping missions depends on UN’s moral force: Modi

Modi_in_US_2015 Updated: Sep 29, 2015 05:45 IST
United Nations
Modi in US

Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses a summit on peacekeeping to coincide with the United Nations General Assembly at the United Nations in Manhattan, New York.(REUTERS)

Pressing for reforms in the United Nations Security Council, Prime Minister Narendra Modi rued on Tuesday that nations contributing to UN’s peacekeeping operations had no say in the decision-making process.

“Success of peacekeeping ultimately depends not on the weapons they (soldiers) carry but on the moral force of the UNSC,” Modi said, addressing a summit on peacekeeping hosted by US President Barack Obama at the UN headquarters in New York.

Modi, who has been demanding a permanent berth for India at the UNSC, said the country was committed to the peacekeeping efforts, and announced the contribution of one additional battalion of Indian troops comprising 850 soldiers and three police units, and higher representation of women peacekeepers.

“The problems arise to a large extent because troop contributing countries do not have a role in decision-making process,” he told a gathering of world leaders, including Obama, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

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India is one of the largest contributors to the peacekeeping, having provided 180,000 soldiers to 48 of the 69 such missions. More than 125,000 troops and police from 120 countries serve in the UN’s 16 peacekeeping missions worldwide.

Modi underlined the need for carrying out the “long-pending task of reforms” of the UNSC to ensure its “relevance and effectiveness”, welcoming the peacekeeping summit that came at a time when the UN is in the 70th year of its existence.

The Indian PM said the security environment was changing fast, with peacekeepers facing a range of complex challenges as demands are growing and resources are decreasing.

He reiterated that India had been contributing to such missions from the beginning and was the first to send its female unit to Liberia. As many as 161 Indian soldiers have made sacrifice during peacekeeping missions, Modi said.

“This legacy of sacrifice is shared by three nations present here,” he said, in an apparent reference to Pakistan and Bangladesh.

Speaking at the summit, US President Obama said more than 50 countries have offered to contribute some 30,000 new troops and police to the UN’s struggling peacekeeping missions.

The pledges represent a major boost to UN blue helmet operations as peacekeeping demands grow worldwide and conflicts become deadlier.

The new contributions include helicopters, engineering units, field hospitals and bomb-detonating expertise that is desperately needed to bolster UN peace missions.

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