India seeks crucial reforms of U.N. security institutions

India, which has contributed 1.7 lakh peacekeepers to U.N. missions, has told the U.N. Security Council that it wants crucial reforms of security institutions to facilitate peace-building in the conflict-hit nations.

India’s Permanent Representative to the U.N. Ambassador Asoke Mukerji said in a U.N. Security Council debate on ’Security Sector Reform (SSR): Challenges and Opportunities’ on Monday that security sector reform is an “important element of post-conflict peace-building” and should be part of the internal political process of a nation emerging from conflict.

“It was only a few days ago that two Indian Peacekeepers donning the blue helmet were injured while protecting civilians at the UNMISS base at Bor in the South Sudan.

“This attack is another example of unresolved political issues in South Sudan which also reflects the importance of understanding the complex political environment of these peacekeeping missions, where security sector reform has to take root as part of the internal political process of the concerned member state,” Mr. Mukerji said.

Mr. Mukerji said India has experience relevant to reform of a country’s security sector, having played an active role in 43 U.N. peacekeeping missions in which almost 170,000 Indian peacekeepers have participated so far.

Six peacekeeping operations and eight Special Political Missions have been mandated to do SSR.

He said in many of these peacekeeping operations, troops from India are directly involved.

Outlining a few principles that must guide security sector reform, he said the most sustainable way for effective reforms is by ensuring national ownership of the process.

“We have, in the past, also emphasized that the external footprint, including of the U.N., should be light to avoid any possible overtones of neo-colonialism,” he added.

Noting that establishment and maintenance of public order is important, Mr. Mukerji said a security vacuum after a peace agreement is dangerous.

The focus has to be on what is do-able and not on an agenda driven by priorities of donor countries.

“Given the importance of national ownership and the scarcity of resources, the priority, in our view, should be given to issues such as ensuring impartiality in recruitment, vetting of new recruits and training. A focus on the political dimension of police reform will only be controversial and, perhaps, also counter-productive,” he said.

He cautioned against an over reliance on “innovative” approaches, in instances when there is need to cut costs.

“There is a belief that U.N. missions can be asked to do more with less. We can understand that - at some level - such logic will appeal to some people. The truth, however, is that cost cannot be cut without also cutting corners,” he added.

He urged Member-States to be pragmatic by only including mandates that are deliverable and for which resources are available.

“Security sector capacity building needs to necessarily occupy centre-stage in security sector reform. Such an approach would be both cost-effective and sustainable,” he said.

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Printable version | Aug 9, 2020 5:10:01 PM |

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