The UN owing over USD 700 million to member states, including India, for peacekeeping services does not reflect the world body's commitment to peacekeeping operations, India has said.
The UN owes USD 777 million to 86 member states, including India, for Troops/Formed Police Units and Contingent Owned Equipment claims as on March 2017. Of this, outstanding payment to Ethiopia was the highest at USD 64 million.
The UN owes India USD 55 million for peacekeeping operations, the second highest amount, followed by USD 53 million to Bangladesh and USD 41 million to Pakistan.
Counsellor in the Permanent Mission of India to the UN Anjani Kumar said last week at a session of the General Assembly's Fifth Committee, which deals with administrative and budgetary issues, that outstanding payment of dues to troop and police contributing countries for their services rendered is a matter of concern to many, including India.
He noted that finance or reimbursements are not at all the basis for India's longstanding commitment to peacekeeping operations, yet "for the kind of services rendered by the peacekeepers and the risks undertaken by them for ensuring collective peace and security, what UN pays to them is a token amount."
"Therefore, at a time when the TCCs and PCCs are being asked to make greater sacrifices, pending payments to such a large number of countries does not reflect UN's commitment to peacekeeping operations," Kumar said, referring to Troop- Contributing Countries (TCCs) and Police-Contributing Countries (PCCs).
Kumar emphasised it is important that payment of assessed contributions is not withheld or linked to political motives.
"India firmly believes that the UN is a global role model and must lead by example in all activities under its umbrella, including the peacekeeping operations," he said, adding that timely payment of assessed contribution is essential for the financial health of the peacekeeping operations.
India is the largest cumulative troop contributor, having provided almost 200,000 troops in nearly 50 of the 71 peacekeeping missions mandated over the past six decades, including 13 of the current 16 missions.
The first-ever Female Formed Police Unit provided by India and deployed in Liberia received recognition for providing a role model for encouraging female participation in police and for pursuing gender balance more widely.
About 168 Indian troops have made the supreme sacrifice in the line of duty under the UN Flag.
Kumar further stressed that for greater efficiency of peacekeeping operations, there should be unwavering commitment to the stated mandate of each peacekeeping mission, operational effectiveness with respect to the situation on the ground and the welfare and security of the peacekeepers themselves.
"The Troop-Contributing Countries and Police-Contributing Countries should be fully consulted at all stages of such decision-making process," he said.
"A one-sided approach to economise may prove to be counter-productive. We must ensure that the peacekeepers who are deployed in the harm's way must be adequately resourced to carry out their mandated tasks effectively. Any dilution of their resources will inevitably impact their effectiveness," he said.