Monday, October 31, 2011

Consequences of fear
T P Sreenivasan
Last Updated : 31 Oct 2011 11:07:39 PM IST

Terrorism won its ultimate victory when fear gripped the world forever. We see the consequences of it everywhere. Nobody can envisage a world without elaborate security checks at airports, hotels and other public places. The effort, the inconvenience and the expenses incurred on security checks at airports flow out of fear. One of the symbols of a changed world after 9/11 is the security check, which makes people stand in line in different stages of undress to prove their innocence. Someone said that the worst punishment for Osama was not death, but a decree that he should go through security checks again and again at a US airport for the rest of his life. He would know only then the horrible heritage he had bequeathed.

The US changed more than the rest of the world after 9/11. It felt most vulnerable even with a nuclear arsenal, which could destroy the world many times over. It was stunned into the reality of the power of the future. The re-election of President Bush was itself a direct consequence of the fear America felt. The people of the US were convinced that no one else could ensure homeland security, which had become the new buzz word. No wonder he went after Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden in his war against terror. But the US strategy of dealing with enemies too changed out of the same fear. It does not assassinate its enemies or invade countries any more. It has found it necessary to use an uprising, if it exists, or invent one if it does not. ‘Do not meddle with the US; if you do, we will bring democracy to you’, seems to be the warning. In an earlier era, justice was swifter and action was more direct. Today, it is social networking that is used to ignite the fire of democracy that engulfs the once powerful dictators. Stealth rather than military strength plays the crucial role in bringing them to justice.

Those who may have watched the final moments of Saddam, Osama and Gaddafi may have noticed some common features. All of them lasted much longer than expected; the news of their death having been flashed across the globe long before they were found and executed. When their killings came, it looked as though it was a mere formality. We had come to expect the killings as they were seen by many as the enemy of the people. The Americans and NATO, as the case may be, were mere executioners. Questions even remained as to who pulled the trigger. The possibility of their own people having dealt the final blow was left open.

The new dispensation of regime change is catching on, but the question to be asked is whether it would have made any difference to the United States if the three had lived on. Did the movements that the West create to brand them as enemies go out of control? Was the final decision to eliminate them taken by the West or by the people who were ruled by them? Perhaps, the United States transferred their fear to the people of the world, particularly to the people of Iraq and Libya in the case of Saddam and Gaddafi. With short memories, the general public began to see them as dangerous and rejoiced in their elimination. The crowds in Benghazi did not look as though they were ruled for 42 years by the man who lay dead in a public mortuary.

The three men, who became villains in the eyes of the world, were not suddenly discovered as the causes or consequences of 9/11. The US had seen them as enemies even before. Saddam and Osama started off as benefactors of the US and beneficiaries of Western largesse. Gaddafi had challenged the US and the Western world in many ways on different occasions. But they were dealt with differently in the past. Senior Bush defanged him with the mother of all UN resolutions, which crippled Saddam’s government, but left him intact with minor doses of humanitarian injections. Osama and Al-Qaeda had inflicted wounds on the US in many parts of the globe, but he and his lethal outfit were not pursued with the same vigour as was done after 9/11. Gaddafi was allowed to survive even after Lockerbie. The sudden decision to eliminate him did not arise from a new threat, but from a new opportunity and the underlying reason to pull the trigger must have been the new fear that has gripped the West after 9/11.

The grim scenes of the death of the three men seemed to convey a message. They were found, after a long search and major sacrifices in men and material, as helpless humans with no power to defend themselves. Certainly, the message is that the US and the West will pursue their enemies to the last hideout, whether it is a drain, a secret cave or a fortified bungalow. The images of the three men at the mercy of American soldiers or their protégées will be a lesson to others who may inflict losses to the US or the Western world. It will not be long before local revolutions spring up in those countries, leading to humanitarian interventions and elimination of leaders who are out of step.

Fear is perhaps the most lethal of emotions and it can easily be transferred to countries and peoples by linking up even isolated incidents to certain individuals. The thought of a nuclear-armed Saddam had the whole world trembling and no one knew where Osama would strike the next. Who does not fear a ‘mad dog’ with a record of unpredictable behaviour? The protests were, therefore, drowned out by the jubilation over the advent of revolutions. Even the UN secretary general sounded jubilant over the killing of a man, whom his predecessors had escorted into the General Assembly several times in the past. No one saw any contradiction in a humanitarian intervention leading to the inhuman treatment of a man. Humanity seemed to heave a collective sigh that they did not have to fear one more source of danger to mankind.

The point to ponder is only whether the fear that engendered these killings was genuine or faked in order to eliminate enemies. The answer lies in the personalities of the leaders of the Western world today. Obama, Sarkozy, Cameron and Merkel are not Machiavellian enough to eliminate enemies brutally under a false pretext. They are gripped by genuine fear of harm to their people. But, in the ultimate analysis, fearful democratic leaders may do as much damage as fearsome dictators.

T P Sreenivasan is a former ambassador of India and governor for India of the IAEA. E-mail:

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


Below is the text of a lecture I delivered at the famed Vienna Diplomatic Academy just a while ago. The audience was more international than Austrian and at least three Indian students identified themselves. The rather prosaic title was given by the Academy as it is the title of a course the students have to cover for their degree. The moderator told me that it was a full house despite the fact that all lectures were not compulsory. The discussion was rich, spirited and informed.

If you find in my lecture echoes of some recent speeches of Mani Shankar Aiyer, Shyam Saran, Shivshankar Menon or Shashi Tharoor, it was not accidental. I did not do a cut and paste job, nor did I plagiarise them. But I found that some of the ideas articulated by them recently fitted into my narrative and they occurred to me as I wrote. Being original was not my priority, but making my presentation effective and comprehensive. As they say, copying from one is plagiarism, but copying from many is research. I wish to thank them for being my Dronacharyas, who, hopefully, will not demand a costly gurudakshina.



The current geopolitical and economic importance of India

By T.P.Sreenivasan

I am delighted to be back at the Vienna Diplomatic Academy, where I have listened to erudite scholars and brilliant diplomats in the past. The Vienna Diplomatic Academy occupies a special place as a nursery of diplomats in a city, which is considered the cradle of diplomacy. I consider it an honour to be invited here to speak about my country, its current geopolitical and economic importance. I am grateful to the Academy and the Public Diplomacy Division of the Indian Ministry of External Affairs for making this possible. Vienna brings back fond memories of my tenure here when my good friend, Ambassador Sucharipa headed the Academy. I am sorry to hear that he passed away recently.

India has been important to the world over centuries of its civilisational history. From zero to complex philosophical concepts, India has contributed immensely to the evolution of mankind. Indian treatises on such varied subjects as rule of law, statecraft, astrology, diplomacy and even love have determined human behaviour for centuries. India is a young country, but an ancient civilization. It has played its part in the past, it plays its part today. Its image may have changed from time to time, but its importance has been beyond question throughout recorded history. A country that has given the world the Vedas and the Upanishads, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, the Bhagavad Gita, Kathakali and Kathak, the Buddha and Mahatma Gandhi will remain significant even if it does nothing more for a century. But India continues to be a dynamic power, playing its role in a changing world.

India has never been a homogeneous entity. Its diversity is its strength. It has also never been a conquering nation. Its charms and wealth have attracted a multitude of cultures to its vast expanses. Emperors and conquerors subjugated it, but it outlasted all of them. It absorbed the best in alien cultures, but never lost its identity. The India of today derives its strength from its rich heritage and its innovative spirit. Its political and economic importance today is part of a continuum, enriched by experience, innovation and triumph of the human spirit.

Today, the world hails the emergence of India. President Barack Obama declared in the Indian Parliament last year that India is not an emerging nation, it has already emerged. But India’s emergence has been celebrated before. President George Bush and President Bill Clinton before him, came to India to declare that India is indispensable in building a new world order. When India won its independence in1947 after a non-violent freedom struggle, it was hailed as a model and a hope for millions under colonial subjugation. Mahatma Gandhi, like the Buddha two thousand years earlier, became a hero to the world. “Generations to come will scarce believe that such a one as this walked this earth in flesh and blood”, said Albert Einstein. The excavations of Mohanjodaro and Harappa had already revealed that the civilization that existed in the Indus Valley was more advanced than anything that existed at that time. For India, therefore, being considered important in the world is not a new experience.

But it is true that India has assumed a new importance and a new stature politically and economically since the end of the cold war. It has been compared to a slumbering elephant, slowly waking up and making its presence felt in the international arena. More has been written about India than ever before. Power, they say, is shifting from the west to the east. India, as Indira Gandhi declared some years ago, has been recognized as a “different power”, different in ambitions, different in development strategy, different in political profile and different in ethos. What makes India important today is not just its phenomenal economic growth and its growing political influence, but the way it conducts itself as a responsible nation, seeing itself as an essential component of an evolving world order. It does not seek domination, but harmony, it seeks equity, not exploitation. It has not sought economic growth without care for the environment, it has not surrendered to unbridled market forces without restraint and regulation. This explains how India has escaped the worst consequences of global recession, it also explains why India has not yet attained its legitimate place in the global power structure.

India’s greatest challenge politically and economically has been in its neighbourhood. But in dealing with its neighbours, most of them smaller and weaker, India has sought cooperation rather than confrontation, peaceful settlement of disputes rather than armed conflicts or other forms of coercion. Wars have been imposed on us, but we did not escalate them. We have not held on to an inch of territory, which came into our hands as a result of war. India has been patient with boundary disputes, resorting to persuasion and logic rather than use or threat of use of force. China’s rise and assertiveness brings back memories of the disillusionment of the early sixties, when India’s vision of Asian unity was rudely shattered. But provocations are met with patience. India seeks areas of cooperation and mutual benefit even when it is encircled and threatened. Managing an adversarial relationship with China is the biggest challenge for Indian foreign policy in the next decades. The key to the future may lie in economic complementarities creating a political environment that fosters normalization. With both the countries seeking equations with others, it may take a long time for the two countries to engage with each other without external involvement.

Pakistan, “born of the same womb” as India, sees an existential threat in friendly relations with India as the question, “Why Pakistan?” may come up if they have no serious differences with India. Neither religion nor language justifies the partition and justifications are invented and reinvented again and again. But India has persisted with its peace offensive without compromising on the non-negotiables like the status of Jammu and Kashmir. India has walked the extra mile to peace despite provocations like the Mumbai terrorist attack. If only Pakistan had abandoned terrorism as an instrument of policy, there could be a breakthrough in bilateral relations. Even as it is, there are hopeful signs as Pakistan begins to recognize the imperatives of economic cooperation. The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) has begun to make a difference in the region.

With all the problems it may have with its neighbours, which entail a mix of hard pursuit of its own national interests and sympathetic understanding of the needs of others, India remains the key to stability and progress in South Asia. Its importance as a regional power is long acknowledged. More recently, India’s importance in the outer periphery of our neighbourhood has also been recognized. Secretary State Hillary Clinton travelled to Chennai recently to stress the importance of India’s benign influence in South East Asia and beyond. As against Chinese economic and military assertiveness, the countries in the region look up to India for cooperation with a friendly face.

In the international arena, especially at the United Nations, India has always worked for the common good, for the global commons, not to use it as an instrument of Indian foreign policy. India has given to the UN much more than what it has ever sought. Indian diplomacy has been responsible for seminal agreements and resolutions, which have resolved global problems and established frameworks for lasting peace. Austria has not forgotten the role the Indian Prime Minister, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, played in liberating Austria from foreign occupation. Improvement of relations with the United States has not diluted India’s basic position on sovereignty, non-interference, non-violence and independence of judgment. India’s record as a non-permanent member of the Security Council since the beginning of this year has raised eye brows and questions have been asked about a return to the old nonaligned vocabulary. But the truth is that the fundamental tenets of the Indian position were not altered even when new strategic partnerships were established. New strategic partnerships are, for India, a tool for enhancing international cooperation, not to seek opportunistic advantages. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh spoke at the UN General Assembly this year not just for India, but for the entire disadvantaged world.

India’s quest for a permanent seat on the Security Council is still unsuccessful and may remain so for some more time precisely because India is not willing to become a tool in the hands of those, who are still taking no action to pursue the assurances of support they have given. Those assurances were linked to certain responsibilities, which, in their view, entail accepting the western world view and its pursuit of regime changes to suit their political and economic interests. Rightly, the Prime Minister of India moved away this year from seeking support for India to be a permanent member to asserting the need for UN reform as an essential prerequisite for the world body to become credible and effective in its mission. He has realized from the experience of a few months in the Security Council that membership of the Security Council will impose undue strain on our policies. India has not been less important in the world since it left the Security Council in 1992. If anything, it was during that period that the shift of global power from the west to the east began.

India has always been an important player in nuclear disarmament despite its refusal to join the NPT. By declaring itself a nuclear weapon state in 1998, it challenged the whole edifice of non-proliferation, which enabled the recognized nuclear weapon states to make their arsenals larger and more sophisticated. But in a short span of seven years, the US initiated the nuclear deal in recognition of India’s strength and its vast market. Today, India is no more a nuclear pariah, but a partner in non-proliferation and nuclear security.

Geopolitically, India is literally at the crossroads of the world today. It belongs to a number of political and economic groupings, which enable it to traverse geographical and political borders and benefit from multiple partnerships. India has strategic partnerships with most major powers. As a member of BRICS, India works with Russia and China, as a member of IBSA, it coordinate efforts with the two other large developing countries. It plays its traditional role in the Nonaligned and G-77. It has close links with ASEAN and several other groupings, old and new. As a non-permanent member of the Security Council, India has stood firm on principles, even as it cooperates with the permanent five. In the G-4, with Germany, Japan and Brazil, India strives to bring about reform of the Security Council. Good relations with the Arabs and Israel at the same time and the massive presence of Indians in the Gulf countries give it a unique position in the Middle East. More than anything else, G-20 has given India a forum to shape the contours of global economic policy. In all these multiple forums, India’s voice is heard with respect as it is the voice of wisdom, moderation and reconciliation.

On India’s growing economic importance, there is complete agreement around the globe. The phenomenal economic growth even in the years of recession has given India a leading role in G-20, the emergence of which democratized decision making in the economic arena. In a dramatic reversal of roles, Indian direct investment in the US has increased and assumed importance. Western leaders went to India not only to find markets, but also to find jobs for their citizens. They vie with each other to bag huge defence and nuclear contracts with offers of political concessions. When India decided not to buy fighter aircraft from the US, it openly stated that friendship would have come with it if India had bought the aircraft. If India had placed orders for the envisaged nuclear reactors and the fighter aircraft from the US, it would have saved President Barack Obama the embarrassment of rising unemployment and helped his reelection. Such is the level of economic importance that India has assumed in the world today. In the old days, American mothers told their children not to waste food because many Indian children went to bed without any food. Today they tell their children to eat well because they would have to compete with Indian children to succeed in this world. President Barack Obama once advised his people to remember that India and China were striving for the number one position in the world and the US should work harder to meet that challenge.

I have given you enough evidence of the importance India has assumed politically and economically in today’s world. Statistically, India has the second largest population, and poised to be the first shortly, it has the fourth largest army in the world, it is the fifth largest economy in the world in Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) terms and soon to become the third, after the US and China in 2012. A Japanese writer had predicted long ago that Japan would never become a super power as it did not have a large territory, a huge population and plenty of natural resources. Since India has all these with nearly ten percent growth rate, India has been described variously as a potential super power, though a reluctant one and a future world leader, even though India has several millions below the poverty line.

But what makes India a particularly significant nation today is what is called its soft power or smart power. Basically, it is the perception about a country, either deliberately projected by a Government or the sum total of its image and activities or its attractiveness. As Dr. Shashi Tharoor, the Member of Parliament from my constituency in India puts it, “hard power is exercised, while soft power is evoked.” There are many aspects of Indian history and culture that have attracted people around the globe and this soft power could be evoked in order to enhance India’s importance. India’s diversity, its tolerance, its religious freedom, its literature, its cinema and its music may have such a cumulative impact on the world that the political and economic importance is enhanced by soft power. Its manifestations can be seen in the extraordinary popularity of Bollywood in many parts of the globe, the influence of Indian soap operas in Afghanistan and Brazil, Indian restaurants in the UK, Bollywood music in Indonesia and the bindi the dot, bidi the hand rolled cigarettes and bhangra, the Punjabi dance in the US. Combined with economic strength, political clout and military strength, including nuclear weapons, smart power may well give India an edge over the others. Soft power may not be sustainable in certain cases, where the attractiveness is dulled by actual performance in domestic and foreign policies, but India has power of both the varieties to make it a significant power on the world stage.

As for the strategy India is likely to adopt on the international stage, a clear indication was given by the National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon in an address in August this year. “For a considerable time to come, India will be a major power with several poor people. We must always, therefore, be conscious of the difference between weight, influence and power. Power is the ability to create and sustain outcomes. Weight we have, our influence is growing, but our power remains to grow and should first be used for our domestic transformation. History is replete with examples of rising powers, who prematurely thought their time had come, who mistook influence and weight for real power”, he said. He suggested that India would, therefore, walk its own path in the world.

If power means the capacity to hurt or help, India is developing both, but it is not about to project them. It will bide its time as a different power till it is called upon to play a more prominent role on the world stage.

Thank you.

Sunday, October 09, 2011


By T.P.Sreenivasan

My brief presence at the IFS Day event was providential. The day just happened to coincide with a packed Sunday in Delhi and I could not have missed it. After all, "there is a special providence (even) in the fall of a sparrow." I could hardly greet all I did recognize, not to speak of getting to know younger colleagues. I left with a whetted appetite for more, a rare feeling when I normally leave a party.

I once wrote that the IFS was a service without a soul, not the people, the service. A bureaucracy can be heartless, but it should not be soulless. I explained then that the reason for the state of affairs was that we operated literally as islands and,therefore, we had no qualms about helping ourselves without any concern about hurting others.I saw today and in the last few months an effort to give it a soul, not from the top, but the bottom. Rightly so, because it is the younger members who will benefit from a service whose members relate to each other, talk to each other and understand each other. As Shyam said rightly, the platform we now have as a gift of technology is being put to good use. I would say, however, that lack of technology was not the sole reason for lack of communication. Mahatma Gandhi would have created several springs with facebook and twitter, but he was able to create a revolution in a squeaky voice and a newspaper not bigger than a four page tabloid. The younger generation should be credited with more than technology, it is blessed with imagination.

The IFS Day, for example, should have been like motherhood, to be celebrated with no questions asked. IFS must have been the only service without a day to remember its humble origins and its impressive accomplishments. The celebration this year and the plan to do it every year without any organisational support or official blessings are the signs of change of times. It has taken a whole meaning that such celebrations are not normally endowed with.

I reminisced a bit with old colleagues just enough to reconnect, but I was not overwhelmed with nostalgia at this event. It was not the occasion to gloat over old glories or to weep over lost opportunities.What struck me was the hope for the future, the extraordinary optimism that characterised the gathering, the spirit of adventure writ large on young faces. I felt confident that the IFS was ready to take up the new challenges. India does not need to be a reluctant super power any more.

I heard only some of the remarks, but I felt the most poignant words came from Venkat's wife. She did not mourn Venkat, she bristled with pride over having been married to a member of the service, as though she felt that it was the service that made Venkat a great human being and a great husband. Her faith in the service remained unshaken even in the face of the worst tragedy in her life. The service did not leave her lonely and uncared for. I know cases in which young widows were left high and dry in an earlier era.

Today was a happy day for the service as even people like me who have no more stakes in the service, having moved away to other pastures, felt that the service was in the process of securing a soul for itself. I congratulate everyone who contributed to it.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

UN Peacekeeping Operations

(A talk on Akashavani, Thiruvananthapuram on the occasion of the UN Day 2011)

By T.P.Sreenivasan

As an international organization created at the end of a

devastating world war to rid the world of the scourge of

war, the United Nations gives the highest priority to peace.

While the UN has not been able to prevent wars altogether,

its peace operations--peacemaking, peace building and

peacekeeping have played a role in ending wars, keeping

the peace, alleviating the sufferings inflicted by war and

in rebuilding nations after external and internal conflicts.

Peacekeeping has emerged as a major activity of the UN

for which the UN was awarded the Noble Prize for Peace

In 1998. “The forces represent the manifest will of the

community of nations and have made a decisive contribution

to the resolution of conflict around the world”, it was stated

in a press release on the occasion.

The phrase, “peacekeeping operations” does not appear

in the UN Charter. But it envisages situations where

the UN Security Council can authorize military action to

restore international peace and security if sanctions and

other measures do not succeed. Members of the UN have

undertaken to make available to the Security Council armed

forces and other support services to take enforcement

action. Over the years, the UN has resorted to the use

of force, but it is in peacekeeping that the UN has made

an immense contribution. It has gained considerable

experience in this area and it has evolved a set of principles

and practices, which have come to be universally accepted.

Peacekeeping has been defined as the activity that aims

to create the conditions for lasting peace after a conflict.

Peacekeepers monitor and observe peace processes in post

conflict areas and assist ex-combatants in implementing the

peace agreements they may have signed. Such assistance

comes in many forms, including confidence-building

measures, power sharing arrangements, electoral support,

strengthening the role of law and economic and social

development. Accordingly, UN peacekeepers can include

soldiers, police officers and civilian personnel. Although

civilian personnel can perform many of these functions,

peacekeeping operations are invariably commanded by

military officers and conducted as military operations.

The training and experience of the armed forces and their

discipline are of immense value in conflict situations.

The Security Council alone can authorize peacekeeping

missions and most of the operations are established and

implemented by the UN itself, with troops serving under UN

operational control. The peacekeepers remain members of

their respective armed forces as the UN does not have a

standing army. In cases where direct UN involvement is not

considered appropriate or feasible, the Council authorizes

regional organizations such as NATO, the Economic

Community of West Africa or coalitions of willing states to

undertake peacekeeping tasks.

UN peacekeepers are not expected to fight as they are

generally deployed when the ceasefire is already in place,

with the consent of the parties concerned. But they are

provided with light weapons to deal with provocations or

law and order situations. There have been cases where

the peacekeepers had to use considerable force, with

the help of reinforcements; to end flare ups in volatile

situations. Casualties are also not uncommon among

peacekeepers. The differences between peacekeeping and

peace enforcement fade in these situations.

The procedure for establishing a peacekeeping force

has been clearly established. Once the peace treaty is

negotiated, the parties involved ask the UN Security Council

for a peacekeeping force to oversee the various elements

of the peace plan. After the Security Council approves the

creation of a mission, the Department of Peacekeeping

Operations begins planning to assemble, equip and deploy

the peacekeepers. Since a number of countries are involved

in each operation, setting up a mission is time consuming.

The exact size and strength of the force are agreed to

by the states concerned and the rules of engagement

have to be developed with the consent of all parties,

including the Security Council. Farther, the soldiers or

police officers come from diverse countries with diverse

training systems and it takes time for them to work under

a single commander. For the sake of a uniform doctrine,

NATO military doctrine is followed in most cases. The

peacekeepers find the practices in UN missions different

from national practices and become impatient. But, on the

whole, the UN peacekeeping missions have functioned

effectively in many different situations.

The cost of peacekeeping operations is shared among

member states on the basis of “capacity to pay”, a complex

formula agreed to by all members. The permanent members

bear a higher proportion of the cost. In 1993, peacekeeping

costs had peaked at some USD 3.6 billion. It dropped by

1998, but went up again by 2004. The troop contributing

countries are reimbursed the cost not only of travel and

equipment, but also salaries and other expenses. But

since many member states are not prompt in paying their

contributions, the troop contributing countries, which are

mostly developing countries, end up having huge arrears in


The first peacekeeping mission, launched in 1948 to enforce

a ceasefire reached between Israel and the Arab states,

remains in operation even today and the conflict has not yet

abated. The second mission, the United Nations Observer

Group on India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP), which was

established to monitor the situation in Jammu and Kashmir

is also still in existence. Following the Simla Agreement in

1972, which converted the ceasefire line into the Line of

Control, India has ceased to provide access to UNMOGIP to

the Indian side of Kashmir, but has not sought the removal

of the small UN force. Pakistan continues to insist on

maintaining this mission for political reasons and it remains

an anachronism. But many other missions have been wound

up after fulfilling their mandates.

The UN has so far completed 52 missions in different parts

of the globe, and now has 17 current missions, most of them

in Africa. The missions in Sudan, Darfur, Libya, Afghanistan

and Haiti are very active today, while those in Kashmir,

Cyprus and East Timor remain relics of the past.

Un peacekeeping operations have had spectacular

successes as well as abject failures. Complex missions

in Cambodia and Mozambique fulfilled their missions and

brought about lasting peace, while the missions failed in

Somalia, Rwanda and Bosnia. These missions were launched

without the consent of the parties concerned and without

sufficient manpower or equipment. The Rwandan genocide

of 1994 and the massacre in Serbrenica in 1995 remain blots

on the reputation of UN peacekeeping.

Developing countries contribute more troops to UN

peacekeeping operations than developed countries. The

United States has launched operations on behalf of the

UN, but they do not send troops to the forces commanded

by other nationals. NATO also prefers to operate on its

own, with or without a UN mandate. Other countries

claim operational commitments to decline invitations to

contribute troops to the UN. Some small countries like Fiji

use the opportunities of participating in UN peacekeeping

operations to train their forces in battle conditions. The

general public in Fiji complained to the UN when the Fiji

armed forces used their experience in peacekeeping to put

down protests by its own people, following a military coup in

that country.

UN peacekeeping operations are fraught with dangers

and they have suffered many casualties in the course of

their functioning. India alone has lost more than a hundred

soldiers in peacekeeping operations. Even while acting

within its mandate, peacekeepers become a target for

attacks by some of the parties in a conflict. At the same

time, UN peacekeepers have been charged with prostitution,

child abuse and other crimes against the very people they

protect. Certain studies have shown that the arrival of

UN peacekeepers has been associated with the rise of

such crimes. “The issue with the UN is that peacekeeping

operations unfortunately seem to be doing the same thing

that other militaries do. Even the guardians have to be

guarded”, observed a writer in 2004. But the UN has taken

strong action against the guilty and brought in reform to

prevent such crimes.

India is solidly committed to UN peacekeeping operations,

in which India has participated since the 1950s. We have

contributed nearly 100,000 troops and participated in more

than 40 missions. India has also provided eminent force

commanders to peacekeeping missions. Indian casualties

numbering 118 are one of the highest in the world, but there

have been no domestic criticism on this account. India’s

expertise in peacekeeping activities, such as demining,

has been put to good use in many situations. Indian forces

earned much praise in Somalia for their humanitarian

activities, while the operations themselves incurred the

wrath of the local public.

India has also been advocating reform of the peacekeeping

machinery to meet the challenges of the times and to

improve the image of UN peacekeepers. We are of the view

that the mandates given by the Security Council to the

missions are too broad and have very little correlation with

the ability of the organization to deliver. We have proposed

that the Security Council should invite non-Council

members, particularly troop contributing countries, to

participate in the decisions of the Security Council

concerning the deployment of the forces and related

matters. The field support provided to the forces needs to

be further expanded and strengthened. India fully supports

implementation of a policy of zero tolerance with regard to

conduct and discipline of troops, including sexual

exploitation and abuse. UN peacekeeping must be in

accordance with Chapter VIII and should not be

regionalized. India is also in favour of the induction of more

female peacekeepers. We also support identifying “sunset

missions”, which have fulfilled their mandates and

proceeding to wind them up. Some questions have been

asked whether India should participate in the UN missions,

which are of no particular relevance to India, in the context

of some allegations against Indian troops in the Congo. But

India remains one of the largest troop contributors, next

only to Bangladesh and Pakistan. India has also established

a centre for training of peacekeepers in New Delhi, which

attracts military officers from around the globe.

UN peacekeeping operations have been a major contribution

to the maintenance of international peace and security.

It has evolved over the years from a military exercise to

a composite operation involving not only enforcement

of peace agreements, but humanitarian assistance and

reconstruction to provide basic needs to the affected

people. It has become the human face of the United Nations

for millions of people who have become embroiled in war for

no fault of theirs. Humanity owes a debt of gratitude to the

UN as we celebrate another UN Day on October 24.

Thank you.