UN peacekeeping missions continue to operate in challenging settings involving terrorists: Jaishankar at UNSC

United Nations, Aug 18 (PTI) External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Wednesday said that the UN peacekeeping missions continue to operate in a variety of challenging settings which involve terrorists, armed groups and non-state actors as he stressed on the need to strengthen the capabilities to secure the peacekeepers.

Jaishankar, who chaired the United Nations Security Council Open Debate on Technology and Peacekeeping here in the presence of UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, underlined the role of technology in the safety of UN peacekeepers and highlighted the role they play in maintaining peace and tranquillity.

Since deploying for the first time in 1948, UN peacekeeping missions continue to operate in a variety of challenging settings. This could involve armed groups, non-state actors and terrorists, he said.

Because the nature of peacekeeping missions and their attendant threats have become more complex, it is vital that our capabilities to secure the peacekeepers keep pace.

We owe it to them to ensure that our protective efforts meet the highest standards, Jaishankar said.

The 15-member powerful UN body is currently under India’s Presidency for the month of August.

India is one of the largest troop contributing countries to UN peacekeeping missions and has contributed more than 250,000 troops in 49 missions over the years.

Jaishankar also proposed a four-point framework that would lay out a possible architecture for securing UN peacekeepers to meet contemporary threats.

First, we must focus on operationally proven, cost-effective, widely available, reliable and field-serviceable technologies, he said.

These must also prioritise mobility, both in the sense of agile manoeuvrability of mission assets and in the sense of use of mobile digital/IT platforms, he said, adding that technologies should be environment friendly through use of renewables and fuel efficiency, and use of environmentally-friendly construction materials.

Second, there is a need for a sound information and intelligence foundation which will only ensure early warning and mobilising a coherent and early response, he said.

A reliable, high fidelity means to collect, use, process and share information and data will create advantages from the start for peacekeeping missions, the External Affairs Minister said.

Precise positioning and overhead visualisation of mission environments is critically important to provide intelligence and enhance the safety and security of mission personnel, he said.

Thirdly, we must contribute to ensuring that technological improvements are continuous and are available on the ground, in the gear peacekeepers carry and the weapons and tools they use to enhance their mobility, performance, endurance, range, and load-carrying capabilities while guaranteeing their safety and security, Jaishankar said.

This also includes strengthening of communication within missions and enhancing overall capacity to take informed decisions at the tactical and operational level, he said.

Fourthly, consistent training and capacity building of peacekeepers in the realm of technology needs attention and investment.

It is with this in mind that India is committed to long term engagement with the UNC4ISR Academy for Peace Operations in Entebbe, Uganda, to meet the training needs, link it with available technological capability, and shape future requirements, he added.