‘UN peacekeeping requires balance with responsibilities’

    By IANS,

    New Delhi : The risks faced by the Indian armed forces while on UN peacekkping duties in Africa need to be balanced with responsibilities that come with this country’s high status on the global stage, a senior official of the external affairs ministry said Monday.

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    “There is always an element of risk in such operations that come, for instance, from terrorist groups. But we cannot escape from our responsibilities if we have to be taken seriously on the global stage,” Dinkar Khullar, the newly-appointed secretary (West) in the ministry told reporters on the sidelines of the second India-Africa Strategic Dialogue organised here by the Institute of Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA) think tank.

    “We are in Africa because we’re close friends and as part of multilateral operations,” he added.

    Delivering his inaugural address earlier, Khullar pointed out that India is part of almost all UN peacekeeping missions, including in Africa.

    “India is playing a constructive role in building peace in Africa,” the senior diplomat said.

    Pointing to the common security challenges both India and Africa faced like the rise of extremism and terrorism, Khullar said both could join to tackle issues like extremist violence, maritime piracy and peacekeeping.

    India has sent around 160,000 personnel over the years for UN mandated peacekeeping operations.

    Africa, separated by the Indian Ocean, is considered a part of India’s “strategic neighbourhood”. Ninety percent of India’s trade is seaborne.