International seminar on UN peacekeeping operations ends

May 29th, 2008 - 9:06 pm ICT by admin  

Hyderabad, May 29 (IANS) A nine-day international seminar on evolving common operating procedures for UN peacekeeping operations that was attended by 90 officers from the armed forces of 15 countries, including India, concluded here Thursday. Exercise Aman Sena was a “grand success”, a defence ministry statement said.

The exercise was “a pioneering initiative by India and aimed at developing a common understanding of the UN philosophy on peacekeeping. An endeavour was also made to evolve and formulate common operating procedures”, the statement added.

During the table-top exercise, the participants were involved with various facets of peacekeeping operations, including planning, execution, deployment of forces, logistics, interface with other organs of the UN, humanitarian and other aid agencies and management of refugees.

“It was observed that there was close interaction and synergy amongst the participating officers which augurs well for successful joint operations in an UN environment in the future,” the statement said.

In his closing address, Chief of Integrated Staff Lt. Gen. Hardev Lidder observed that the last few decades had seen a paradigm change in the nature of conflicts.

“The rise of fundamentalism, regional or ethnic underpinnings and ideological or social flare-ups, arising out of the non-inclusive growth patterns are becoming the prime reasons for conflicts,” he maintained.

“Conflicts today, therefore, are more intra-state than interstate and also involve a large number of non-state actors,” Lidder added.

The shift in the “nature of war” had also brought about discernible corresponding changes in the character of peacekeeping, the general said.

“UN operations in today’s context may require use of force or elements of coercion and preventive intervention, which may impinge on national sovereignty,” he pointed out.

The changed nature of conflicts had also made the operations multidimensional and complex with the political, humanitarian, social and economic components working alongside the military, Lidder said.

“Despite the rising complexity of peace support operations and the involvement of a large number of governmental and non-governmental agencies, the most important unit of UN peacekeeping operations still remains the soldier on the ground.

“He is the visible face of the UN and has to discharge his duties using the human qualities of balanced judgment, patience and negotiation,” Lidder added.

Towards this end, the ministry statement said, the Indian armed forces have been conducting requisite training for their personnel at all levels of planning and operations, as well as participation, in international exercises and seminars.

“However, to ensure common understanding of the UN environment, synergy in operations and procedures and shared perceptions of work ethics and cultures, there is an imperative need of joint training amongst member nations,” the statement said.

Such interaction and training would also lead to quicker timeframes for reacting to emerging conflict situations, because timely intervention could actually help subside or resolve a contentious issue before it assumes unmanageable proportions, the statement added.

India has been in the forefront in supporting UN peacekeeping operations with over 50,000 armed forces and police personnel deployed around the world over the last 50 years.

Currently, some 9,000 armed forces personnel are deployed on UN peacekeeping operations in hotspots like the Congo, Ehtiopia/Eritrea and Lebanon.

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