FB   
 
Powered bysps
        Society for Policy Studies
 
 

 
Indian peace keepers in Africa
Posted:Apr 10, 2017
 
Print
Share
  
increase Font size decrease Font size
 
By Dhruv C Katoch
 
India’s contribution to the United Nations peacekeeping efforts have been significant. Today, India is one of the major contributors of personnel to UN peace keeping missions across the world. As of January 31, 2017, 126 countries have contributed a total of 100,231 peacekeepers. Of this, the Indian contribution is 7,762 peacekeepers deployed in various missions, of which 6,807 are military troops, 62 are military experts and 893 are police personnel. This forms the second largest contribution to the UN body for peacekeeping operations and is exceeded only by Ethiopia which has contributed 8301 personnel.
 
India’s contributions to peacekeeping missions during the Cold War remained limited to just one engagement in the Congo between 1960 and 1964, where India contributed a brigade group to ONUC (Organisation des Nations Unies au Congo). This Indian contingent did yeoman service in bringing peace to the region. In the process, it suffered 147 casualties, among whom was Captain Gurbachan Singh Salaria, who was awarded India’s highest military award for courage, the Param Vir Chakra, posthumously. 
 
Post the Cold War, Indian contribution to the UN peacekeeping effort increased substantially. To a large extent, especially in Asia, India’s involvement was largely dictated by geo-strategic interests and concerns—its quest for energy security and regional stability and international order providing the impetus for sending peacekeepers to the Middle East and to East and Southeast Asia. In Africa, however, the rational for involvement in peace keeping operations (PKOs) was based more on humanitarian considerations rather than in serving any strategic purpose. India has contributed substantially to UN PKOs in Namibia, Angola, Mozambique, Somalia, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Rwanda, Congo, Ethiopia, Eritrea, and Western Sahara. Presently, its keepers are deployed in Western Sahara, Liberia, Ivory coast, Abyei, South Sudan and Congo.
 
Indian Peacekeepers in Africa
 
In the currently highly volatile situation in Sudan, India has provided military and police personnel to both UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS), and to UN Mission in the Republic of South Sudan (UNMISS). It has also sent its military personnel to Abyei, as part of UN Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA). In all these areas, the Indian contribution consists of two infantry battalion groups, sector HQ, engineer company, signal company, level-II Hospital and a large number of military observers and staff officers (SOs), all of whom are providing yeoman service in various fields. India moved back to the Congo after its initial engagement in the middle of the last century, this time as part of MONUC (UN mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo). Since 2005, under Extended Chapter VII mandate, India provided an augmented infantry brigade group to include a level III hospital, helicopters, military observers and police personnel as part of MONUSCO. It has also deployed a large number of police personnel. India remains deployed in Liberia as part of UNMIL and  has military personnel deployed in Western Sahara, as part of United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO). It supports the UN mission in  Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI - United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire), through deployment of staff officers and military observers.
 
As Indian forces are respected the world over for their peace keeping skills, India could use this goodwill generated to leverage and further improve its standing in Africa. Through PKOs, goodwill generated can transform into economic dividends which could be beneficial to both India and the various states of Africa. While India has given assistance to the UN’s peacekeeping efforts throughout the world and made substantive contributions in Africa’s zones of insecurity over a long period, future deployments would not be wholly altruistic and would reflect both Indian concerns in the region and a desire to seek an equilibrium between historical and altruistic factors on one hand, and assertive, dividend-seeking foreign policy elements on the other. As India become more involved in African development, it would look at strategic objectives linked to political goals of India’s foreign policy, coupled with the imperatives of sustaining and expanding economic growth amidst high external resource dependence. While India’s visibility in Africa is increasing, it is still a far cry from the visibility enjoyed by China. The quality of its peacekeepers provides India an opportunity to exploit its soft power, and use both goodwill and economic arguments to seek a greater role for itself in the region.
 
Maj Gen. Dhruv C Katoch is presently Director, India Foundation. He is also the Editor of SALUTE Magazine.
 
 
 
 
 
Print
Share
  
increase Font size decrease Font size
 

Disclaimer: South Asia Monitor does not accept responsibility for the views or ideology expressed in any article, signed or unsigned, which appears on its site. What it does accept is responsibility for giving it a chance to appear and enter the public discourse.
Comments (Total Comments 0) Post Comments Post Comment
Review
 
 
 
 
spotlight image India’s Vice President Mohammed Hamid Ansari visited Armenia recently to celebrate 25 years of diplomatic relations between the two countries.
 
read-more
The US has slammed Pakistan for failing to crackdown on terror groups operating from "safe havens" inside its territory, and said the Nawaz Sharif government did not take any action against the LeT and JeM, which continue to operate openly.
 
read-more
In dispatching its  PLA (Peoples Liberation Army)  marines to Djibuti in the Horn of Africa on Wednesday (July 12 ) by amphibious ships, from the southern port of Zhanjiang, China has taken a significant step in enhancing its  trans-border military footprint.
 
read-more
It is becoming increasingly obvious that China is experiencing a sort of superiority obsession, imagining it can dominate and conquer the world. Several Chinese acts in the recent past indicate such an attitude. Asian nations, which are now apprehensive about China’s aggressive postures, are unclear how matters will shape up.
 
read-more
It is appalling to see how the struggle for self-determination in Kashmir has been reduced to bitter recriminations between Pakistan and India.
 
read-more
As Aadhaar becomes the norm in India, and gets skewered for the involuntary nature of its imposition, our northern neighbours, as is their wont, want to do a number that will make this appear benign.
 
read-more
South Asia is situated in a strategically important location and has always been bone of a contention for control by major powers.
 
read-more
It was just at the end of spring that the unquiet American President was talking big about being the man who can seal the deal on Israeli-Palestinian peace.
 
read-more
S.T. Lee Distinguished Lecture of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, Singapore on "India, ASEAN and Changing Geopolitics”
 
read-more
Column-image

Interview with Hudson Institute’s Aparna Pande, whose book From Chanakya to Modi: Evolution of India’s Foreign Policy, was released on June 17.

 
Column-image

This is the continuing amazing spiritual journey of a Muslim man from Kerala who plunged into Vedic religion after a chance encounter with a Hindu mystic under a jackfruit tree in the backyard of his house when he was just nine. It is a story w...

 
Column-image

History is told by the victors but in our modern age, even contemporary events get - or are given - a slant, where some contributors soon get eclipsed from the narrative or their images tarnished.

 
Column-image

Humans have long had a fear of malignant supernatural beings but there may be times when even the latter cannot compare with the sheer evil and destructiveness mortals may be capable of. But then seeking to enable the end of the world due to it...

 
Column-image

Title: Reporting Pakistan; Author: Meena Menon; Publisher: Viking/Penguin Random House; Pages: 340; Price: Rs 599

 
Subscribe to our newsletter
Archive