India offers help to make peacekeeping cost-effective

India, the single largest troop contributing country to UN peacekeeping, has expressed concern over the increasing demands on human and financial resources of nations by the ‘mushrooming’ peacekeeping operations and offered its help in making them cost-effective. ‘We would like to express our concern at the increasing demands being placed on the human and financial resources of participating member states by the mushrooming of UN peacekeeping operations,’ India’s Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador Asoke Kumar Mukerji said.

‘That such peacekeeping operations are being mandated by the UN Security Council as a knee-jerk response to volatile political situations within member states is something that we have addressed at length in the open debates of the UN Security Council,’ Mukerji said here in his statement to the General Assembly on ‘Rates of Reimbursement of Troop Contributing Countries’.

Mukerji said the General Assembly should advise the Security Council to ‘review’ its approach towards mandating peacekeeping operations ‘in light of the financial difficulties that major members of the Security Council face in contributing resources for an ever-expanding footprint of peacekeeping operations. ‘The Security Council should only, to use an idiom from shop-keeping, ‘cut its coat to suit its cloth’’, he said.

Mukerji reiterated that India is ready to offer its experience and advice to the Security Council in making the mandates of peacekeeping operations more cost-effective. ‘We hope that members of the Security Council, especially the major finance contributing member states, take advantage of our suggestion, so that we can ‘share the burden’ in a meaningful way to make our United Nations more credible and effective,’ he added.

The General Assembly has adopted a resolution that for the first time in almost 20 years ago revises the basic troop reimbursement rate. India joined in the compromise consensus because of its commitment to multilateralism, Mukerji said adding that jeopardizing the reimbursements to troops on the ground would be detrimental to the institution and credibility of the UN as well as to the troops’ ability to effectively fulfill the mandate for which they have been deployed.

Referring to the ‘overriding argument’ of economic difficulties in appropriating budgets for contributing to UN peacekeeping, Mukerji said the previous base figure of USD 1,028 per peacekeeper per month was revised after nearly 18 years. ‘During this period, many of us, including troop contributing countries, have faced similar economic difficulties and budget austerity measures.
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