The United States and India Partner to Strengthen African Peacekeeping

Around the world, peacekeepers play a vital role in helping countries rise above conflict to work towards lasting peace. Both the United States and India have a long history of supporting international peacekeeping. Now through a new joint initiative, our countries are working together to help strengthen the capabilities of other partner nations to contribute to international peacekeeping.

This new initiative is called the United Nations Peacekeeping Course for African Partners, commenced on July 25th, and will convene 38 of the most skilled military officers from countries across Africa for classes organized by India’s Center for United Nations Peacekeeping. During the course, U.S. instructors will work side by side with Indian instructors to teach the United Nation’s (UN) core peacekeeping pre-deployment training modules to this group of participants representing Ghana, Malawi, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia, as well as personnel from the African Union. The course will include a “train the trainer” effort, where experienced personnel will share insights and best practices with less-experienced participants in an effort to help them to become more effective peacekeeping trainers. This mentor-centric approach will emphasize the unique challenges facing peacekeeping missions, including the protection of civilians and the promotion of human rights. With their newfound skills and knowledge, these graduates will return to their home countries to train their own countries’ future peacekeepers.

The dais before the opening of the United Nations Peacekeeping Course for African Partners. [State Department photo]

The United States and India have been working on peacekeeping for many years but this is the first time our countries will work together to train African officers. A longstanding contributor to international peacekeeping operations, India historically participated in 48 of the UN’s 69 peacekeeping missions, many of which have been in African nations. Just last month, India advanced to become the world’s second largest contributor of troops and police to international peacekeeping

The United States currently deploys approximately 70 military and police officers to UN peacekeeping missions and is also the largest financial contributor to peacekeeping. The United States is also the largest contributor to military and police peacekeeping capacity building programs. As the leading source of financial, technical, and material support for UN peacekeeping, the United States demonstrates its ongoing commitment to these missions. Under the Global Peace Operations Initiative (GPOI), we are working to meet the growing global demand for well-trained, adequately-equipped peacekeepers capable of responding to evolving mission requirements.

Since its inception, GPOI has facilitated the deployment of more than 200,000 personnel from 41 countries to 29 global peace operations. In 2015 GPOI implementers conducted 268 training events and courses. In furtherance of this commitment, GPOI, coordinated by the State Department’s Bureau of Political-Military Affairs, serves as the flagship program for building global peace operations capacity in a world burdened by violence and instability. The United States will continue to provide financial and policy support, recognizing the indispensable role that UN peacekeepers play in advancing the cause of peace and security.

U.S. Ambassador to India Richard Verma delivers remarks on a new U.S.-Indian partnership to strengthen peacekeeping among African nations.[Department of State Photo]

The joint U.S.-India peacekeeping course is a first step toward fulfilling a commitment by President Obama and Prime Minister Modi to collaborate on peacekeeping issues. As U.S. Ambassador to India Richard Verma noted at the course’s opening ceremony, this new U.S.-India peacekeeping partnership is based on two key principles: one is India’s long and proud tradition of peacekeeping, which is commensurate with its global leadership. The second premise is that the United States and India share not only an important bilateral relationship, but an increasingly global partnership. From climate change and food security to peacekeeping and regional connectivity, the United States and India are working together not only for the benefit of our two nations’ citizens but to improve lives across the globe. 

About the Author: Tyronda Brown serves in the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs' Office of Congressional and Public Affairs at the U.S. Department of State.

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South African officers of the African Union-United Nations Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) based in Kutum, Sudan. [UN Photo/UNAMID/Albert Gonzalez Farran]
Posted by Tyronda Brown
July 28, 2016

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