It is my pleasure to welcome you to this discussion on ‘Contributions of India and Brazil to Peacekeeping’ organized by ICWA in partnership with the Embassy of Brazil in India to celebrate the 75th year of India’s independence and 200 years of Brazil’s independence.
The first UN peacekeeping mission was established in 1948. Since then, there have been 70 more UN peacekeeping missions in which more than a million men and women have served under the UN flag. Presently, more than 100,000 military, police and civilian personnel from 125 countries, serve in 14 peacekeeping operations.
In the early years, UN Peacekeeping goals were primarily limited to maintaining ceasefires and stabilizing situations on the ground, so that efforts could be made at the political level to resolve the conflict by peaceful means. However, since then, the strategic context for UN Peacekeeping has changed dramatically. Originally developed as a means of dealing with inter-State conflict, UN Peacekeeping now is increasingly being applied to intra-State conflicts and civil wars. Peacekeeping operations today are called upon to also facilitate political processes, protect civilians, disarm combatants, support elections, etc.
India and Brazil are key participants in UN peace keeping operations (PKO). During their long history as traditional peace keepers - more than 200,000 Indians – the highest number, have served in 49 UN peacekeeping missions while Brazil has joined in 50 UN peacekeeping operations, involving more than 57,000 military & civilian personnel.
The positive work of India and Brazil has continued in the 21st century. From 2004 to 2017, Brazil commanded the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti. As of January 2022, India is the third highest contributor of personnel to UN peacekeeping, serving in 12 UN missions across the world.
In 2007, India was the first nation in UN peacekeeping history to deploy an all-female Formed Police Unit (FPU) to Liberia after a civil war ravaged the nation. It has been found that the presence of women officers in a mission helps establish a good communication channel with victims of conflict and in building trust and confidence.
The work that has been done by the women and men from our two nations in Peacekeeping Operations have been widely acknowledged. The UN Military Gender Advocate 2019 Award was jointly won by two UN peacekeepers: Commander Carla Monteiro de Castro, a Brazilian Naval officer, and Major Suman Gawani, of the Indian Army. The Award, created in 2016, recognizes the dedication and effort of individual military peacekeepers in promoting the UN principles in Women, Peace and Security.
With its operations in some of the world’s most challenging environments, peacekeepers face considerable risks. It is critical that troop and police contributing countries should be fully involved at all stages and in all aspects of mission planning.
The UN Security Council, under India’s Presidency in August last year, had unanimously adopted two significant outcome documents on the issue of peacekeeping. The Resolution on “Accountability of Crimes against UN Peacekeepers”; and a Presidential Statement on “Technology for Peacekeeping”- the first such UN Security Council document to be adopted, on this topic. India had also announced the roll-out of the UNITE Aware Platform, aimed at increasing situational awareness and providing terrain related information to peacekeepers. India has also provided 200,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines for UN peacekeeping personnel deployed worldwide.
Our two countries, currently serving as non-permanent members of the UNSC, and who should rightfully be permanent members of the UNSC, remain committed to contributing to support the UN in peace-keeping work.