USI – ICWA UN WEBINAR “India and UN Peace Operations: Principles of Peace Keeping and Mandate”

USI – ICWA UN WEBINAR “India and UN Peace Operations: Principles of Peace Keeping and Mandate”

Report

INDIA AND UN PEACE OPERATIONS:

PRINCIPLES OF  UN PEACEKEEPING AND MANDATE

United Services Institution of India (USI)  in collaboration with the Indian Council of World Affairs (ICWA) has planned to conduct a series of theme-based webinar/ seminars on UN Peacekeeping Operation. Conceptualization of the themes and sub-themes were planned and executed by USI with support from ICWA. Several UN professionals and practitioners, from India and abroad, participated in the first inaugural webinar India and UN Peace Operations: Principles of UN Peace Keeping and Mandate from 10 AM to 1 PM (IST) on 27 Feb 202. The following sub-themes were discussed in the webinar:

  • Principles of UN Peacekeeping, its continued relevance and mandate implementation.
  • The relevance of the principle of “Use of Force” in the United Nations Stabilisation Mision in Congo (MONUSCO) and the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).
  • Contribution of traditional peace operations {United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) and United Nations Disengagement Force (UNDOF)} to sustainable peace.

The following speakers participated in the webinar:

  • Chair – Major General A K Bardalai (Retd) – Former UN Military Observer in the United Nations Verification Mission in Angola (UNAVEM), former Deputy Head of the Mission and Deputy Force Commander of UNIFIL.
  • Speakers:
    • Ambassador Asoke K. Mukerji – Former Permanent Representative of India to the United Nations.
    • Lieutenant General Satish Nambiar, PVSM, AVSM, VrC (Retd) – Former Force Commander and Head of Mission of the United Nations Protection Force in former Yugoslavia (UNPROFOR) and former Director of USI.
    • Dr Cedric de Coning – Research Professor with the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs (NUPI), been advisory on the UN Secretary-General’s Advisory Board for the Peacebuilding Fund.
    • Lieutenant General Chander Prakash, SM, VSM (Retd) – Former Indian Army Head of UN Peacekeeping Operations and Force Commander of MONUSCO.
    • Lieutenant General I S Singha, AVSM, VSM (Retd) – Former Chief Logistics Officer of United Nations Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE) and Force Commander and Head of Mission of UNDOF (Golan Heights).
    • Lieutenant General Jai Prakash Nehra, PVSM, AVSM** (Retd) – Former Deputy Head of Mission and Deputy Force Commander, UNIFIL.
    • Major General S B Asthana, SM, VSM (Retd) – Former Chief Logistics Officer at UNMEE.
    • Major General PK Goswami, VSM (Retd) – Former UN Military Observer in UNAVEM and presently Deputy Director USI.

After the webinar proceeding was initiated by Major General Goswami, the Chair steered the balance of the proceedings.

Major General BK Sharma, AVSM, SM and Bar (Retd), Director USI and former UN Military Observer in Central America delivered the welcome address and it was followed by a keynote address by Lieutenant General Satish Nambiar.

Ambassador Mukerji deliberated on the Principles of UN Peacekeeping at the strategic level. He underscored the necessity to adhere to the three core principles – deployment with the consent of the parties, impartiality in operations and non-use of force except in self-defence and defence of the mandate. He pointed out that there is a gap in the conceptual level thinking and the practical application of the principles at the operational level. He underlined the need for the Security Council to take inputs from the field for implementation of the mandate in an effective manner. He also touched upon the need for early reforms of the UN Security Council.

Dr Cedric spoke on the Relevance of the Principles of Use of Force in the context of UNMISS. After a short historical overview of conflict and the role of UNMISS, he deliberated on the protection of civilians and dilemmas of use of force, force generation and unity of purpose. He commented that given the government of South Sudan itself is the major threat to the civilians, consent at the operational level both from the government and the opposition is by and large is absent. He also raised the question of how does UNMISS intervene when the military of South Sudan targets the civilian population.

Lieutenant General Chander Prakash spoke on the relevance of the principles of use of force in MONUSCO. After a brief overview of the nature of conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo since its independence and how peacekeeping has evolved over the years; he highlighted how peacekeeping, robust peacekeeping and peace enforcement have unfolded.  Commenting on the role of the Force Intervention Brigade (FIB), he pointed out that while the use of force for humanitarian reasons is good, the peacekeeping mission loses its status of impartiality when it gets involved in the politics of the host government. He concluded by highlighting the benefit and drawbacks of the “Use of Force” in peace operations.

Lieutenant General Singha spoke about how the Principles of Peacekeeping apply to a traditional peace operation like  UNDOF. He commented that post-ISIS’s entry into Syria, the mission had to be redeployed towards the Israeli side. Since the new security situation of the Middle East affects the functioning of the mission, there is a need to revisit the mandate and structure of UNDOF.

Lieutenant General Nehra highlighted the unique domestic political setup and the status of Hezbollah in Lebanon and the delicate bi-lateral relation between Israel and Lebanon.  Thereafter, he stated that application of the Principles of Peacekeeping in UNIFIL should be seen in the context of the relationship between the local Lebanese population and Hezbollah, Hezbollah and Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF), Hezbollah and the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) and Hezbollah and the Government of Lebanon. He went on to state that should there be a recurrence of a major conflict between Lebanon and Israel, there is a high probability for the conflict to expand beyond the geographical limit of the region. Therefore, the continued presence of UNIFIL is a necessity.

Major General Asthana highlighted the major takeaways of the webinar.

In the end, Dr TCA Raghavan, IFS (Retd), Director General, ICWA gave the closing remarks and thanked all speakers for their  fruitful deliberations.

 

 

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