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Jaishankar announces rollout of tech to help protect U.N. peacekeepers

EAM Dr. S. Jaishankar looks at a photograph portraying Indian Peacekeepers at work in Republic of Congo at the UN Security Council President’s office.   | Photo Credit: Twitter@DrSJaishankar

Presiding over a United Nations Security Council open debate on technology and peacekeeping, his first as 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. India, as a major contributing nation to U.N. peacekeeping activities, has been keen on using its month-long UNSC Presidency to prioritise peacekeeping. The platform has been used in four U.N. missions, an Indian official told The Hindu.

On Wednesday, 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, according to official estimates.

“The international community must come together better to govern the digital space for good, while addressing its many challenges,” U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said at the debate.

Analogue world

“ … U.N. peacekeeping was conceived in an analogue world,” Mr. Guterres said. “It is now essential that it fully embraced the digital worlds in which we live.”

Mr. Jaishankar outlined a four-point framework for securing the peacekeepers at the debate.

First, he called for the deployment of proven, cost-effective, field-serviceable technologies that were environmentally friendly in their construction. Second, peacekeepers needed sound information and intelligence, he said, and this would require precise positioning and overhead visualisation, which would help enhance the security of missions.

“It therefore gives me great pleasure to announce that India is supporting the U.N. in the rollout of the UNITE Aware Platform across select peacekeeping missions. This initiative is based on the expectation that an entire peacekeeping operation can be visualised, coordinated and monitored on a real time basis,” Mr. Jaishankar said.

“We should ensure that any attack on a peacekeeper or a civilian is predictable, preventable or responded to immediately,” he said adding that technological improvements are continuous and available on the ground but also in the gear and weapons of peacekeepers.

Finally, Mr. Jaishankar called for investment in capacity building and training of peacekeepers with regard to technology, announcing to the Council, a Memorandum of Understanding between India and the U.N., in support of the “Partnership for Technology in Peacekeeping” initiative and the UN C4ISR Academy for Peace Operations (UNCAP).

Complexities and challenges

The Security Council adopted a “Presidential Statement” underscoring the importance of peacekeeping, the complexities and challenges of the environment in which it occurs and the importance of existing and new technologies to better protect Peacekeepers.

On Thursday, Mr. Jaishankar will chair a second open debate — on threats to international peace and security caused by terrorist acts.


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Printable version | Jan 27, 2022 2:10:49 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/jaishankar-announces-rollout-of-tech-to-help-protect-un-peacekeepers/article35983552.ece

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