India, which deployed the first-ever all-female Formed Police Unit in Liberia, said UN member states must be encouraged to contribute full women units instead of "mixed units" to ensure greater women participation in peacekeeping.
"India is committed to increasing the number of women peacekeepers...The landmark first ever deployment by UN of all Female Formed Police Unit in Liberia by India became a role model for the local women, to participate in policing and in relevant rule of law frameworks," Counsellor in India's Permanent Mission to the UN Eenam Gambhir said.
Participating in the UN Security Council open debate on 'Women in Peacekeeping' on Thursday, she said in the 'Declaration of Shared Commitments on UN Peacekeeping Operations' under Action for Peacekeeping (A4P), member states agreed to collectively commit to implement the women, peace and security agenda by ensuring full, equal and meaningful participation of women in all stages of the peace process and by systematically integrating a gender perspective into all stages of analysis, planning, implementation and reporting.
The member states have also committed to increase the number of civilian and uniformed women in peacekeeping at all levels and in key positions.
"However, we notice that to accommodate those who cannot fulfil the all-women unit commitments, the policy frameworks are being diluted to prefer mixed units over full women units. If this is the approach, how can we possibly achieve the targets that we set for increasing women participation in peacekeeping," she said.
Gambhir said in order to achieve the increased targets under the uniformed gender parity strategy, countries who are willing to contribute full women units should be encouraged and incentivised.
"Instead of supporting a policy of mixed units, we believe that all women units need to be incentivized to encourage greater participation. Priority should also be given to deploying from the pending pledges related to women peacekeepers," she added.
She said while India welcomes the initiatives by the UN Secretariat in driving the formulation of policy frameworks to increase the number of women peacekeepers, it perceives some hesitation to put in strong commitments into the policy framework.
Gambhir said India is fully prepared to deploy a Female Engagement Team (FET) comprising 22 women officers and soldiers as part of rapidly deployable battalion in Congo by August. It will also deploy a women Formed Police Unit (FPU) in South Sudan by this year-end.
India partnered UN Women towards capacity building initiatives at the New Delhi-based Centre for UN Peacekeeping, which conducted the third UN female military officers course for 40 women military officers from 26 countries. India also provided adequate pre-deployment training on gender sensitization to its peacekeeping forces.
The role of the all-female contingent of peacekeepers from India deployed with the UN mission in Liberia was highlighted for inspiring women in the West African nation to become police officers.
Since 2007, there were nine rotations of all-female police units from India, whose primary responsibilities have been to provide 24-hour guard duty and public order management and to conduct night patrols in and around the capital, Monrovia, while assisting to build the capacity of local security institutions. The last unit of 125 women and supporting personnel from India returned home in February 2016.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)