Non-state actors make peacekeeping more challenging: Army chief

April 6th, 2011 - 2:50 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, April 6 (IANS) Stating that peacekeeping operations were “becoming more complex” due to the threats posed by non-state actors in conflict zones, Indian Army chief Gen V.K. Singh Wednesday asked the United Nations to work out ways to tackle such challenges.

Addressing a seminar on ‘Peacekeeping vision 2015′ organised by the United Service Institution and Norwegian Institute of International Affairs here, Singh said threats from non-state actors to UN missions in conflict areas posed challenges not only to the blue berets on the ground, but also to policy-makers in the world body.

“It is easy to deal with state players. But, as far as non-state players are concerned, the possibility of what they will do and how they will convert their own capability and their influences on the state to the detriment of the peace-keeping mission needs to be seen much more seriously,” he advised the UN department of peacekeeping operations.

Peacekeeping operations were “becoming more complex…becoming more challenging”, the army chief said.

“There are new additions to the challenges that both policy-makers and the people on the ground have to face,” he said.

Singh noted that peacekeeping missions faced “a unique challenge” of implementing mandates that were “at times nebulous” or had aspects that may may not be “implementable or enforceable”. This, he said, needed to be worked out between the UN department of peacekeeping operations and the troop contributing countries, or it could pose problems on the ground.

“More often than not, what we have found in some missions (is that) the UN comes under fire because it is not able to enforce the mandate that has been given. There are a lot of facets that come out of the situation, which are probably just outside the mandate, and the entire mission comes under great amount of scrutiny and criticism,” he added.

Apart from peacekeeping and peace-enforcing, the UN missions are by and large made to carry out “peace-making” too, the general noted. He added that the missions have to “indulge outside military parameters to ensure that the various players are brought together on a platform where they can narrow down their differences…”

Over 8,000 Indian troops are currrently deployed on UN peacekeeping missions in places like the Congo, Sudan, Lebanon and the Golan Heights. India is the third highest contributor to such missions after Bangladesh and Pakistan.

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