Udayavni Special

Peacekeeping proven to be one of most effective tools available to UN to assist countries navigate path from conflict to peace: Jaishankar

PTI, Aug 18, 2021, 8:30 PM IST

UN peacekeeping has proven to be one of the most effective tools available to the world organisation to assist host countries to navigate the difficult path from conflict to peace, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said on Wednesday. Jaishankar’s remarks came after he laid a wreath at the UN Peacekeepers Memorial here to pay tributes to the peacekeepers who have sacrificed their lives in the line of duty. He was joined by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

”At a time when we are celebrating the 75th anniversary of the founding of the United Nations, peacekeeping has proven to be one of the most effective tools available to the UN to assist host countries navigate the difficult path from conflict to peace,” Jaishankar said in his remarks. Under India’s current Presidency of the UN Security Council, Jaishankar will chair an open debate Wednesday on technology and peacekeeping under the overarching theme of ‘Protecting the Protectors’. The Security Council will adopt two important documents on peacekeeping under the Indian presidency, the first time in almost 40 years.

Jaishankar said over one million peacekeepers have served under the UN flag since 1948.

”UN peacekeeping is a unique global partnership. It brings together the General Assembly, the Security Council, the Secretariat, troop and police contributions and the host governments in a combined effort to maintain international peace and security,” Jaishankar said.

”Its strength lies in the legitimacy of the UN Charter and in the wide range of contributing countries that participate and provide precious resources,” he said.

Jaishankar said that united by a commitment to maintain or restore peace and security, ”our women and men in blue share a common purpose to protect the most vulnerable.” He added that their sacrifices on behalf of the international community are one of the most concrete expressions of the UN Charter’s determination to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war.

”Peacekeeping, in that sense, is a high calling and the noblest duty,” he said.

Guterres thanked the Government of India for bringing ”us together at the peacekeeping memorial today to honour the service and sacrifice of our peacekeepers.” Guterres said strengthening the safety and security of peacekeepers is paramount. ”In line with Action for Peacekeeping, it is essential that we accelerate our move towards innovative data-driven, and technology-enabled peacekeeping,” he said.

”We owe it to our peacekeepers and to the populations we protect,” he said, adding that he looks forward to working with India, and with all member states to ensure that ”we do everything possible to protect our own, so that they can continue to protect others.” Guterres honoured the memory of the more than 4,000 peacekeepers who have made the supreme sacrifice, including 174 Indian peacekeepers, ”the highest number of all the troop-contributing countries”. ”We are forever grateful for their service. Their remarkable work and ultimate sacrifice will never be forgotten,” Guterres said.

The UN chief added that peacekeepers proudly carry on the legacy of those ”we have lost and continue to make a vital difference in the lives of millions of some of the world’s most vulnerable people” while facing the many challenges posed by COVID-19. ”They are not only protecting civilians and advancing political solutions, but they are also helping countries address the pandemic,” he said.

On the occasion, India’s Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador T S Tirumurti and Under-Secretary-General for Operational Support Atul Khare exchanged an MoU in support of the ‘Partnership for Technology in Peacekeeping’ initiative. The executing agencies for this MoU would be the Center for UN Peacekeeping (CUNPK – on the Indian side) and UN C4ISR Academy for Peace Operations (Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance) based in Entebbe (Uganda) on the UN’s side.

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