India’s decision to withdraw military helicopters from UN assignment in Congo

Washington Post has mistakenly interpreted the Indian decision to withdraw its military helicopters from UN mission in Congo as a snub to the UN peacekeeping system.

The Indian drawdown will deal a blow to the U.N. mission, known by its French abbreviation, ­MONUSCO, which has depended on Indian troops and aircraft to ensure it can protect civilians and conduct humanitarian operations in a sprawling central African nation the size of Western Europe.

But it also points to a growing reluctance by states to supply U.N. peacekeeping missions with costly combat aircraft and other advanced logistical and communications equipment needed to fulfill complex mandates in places such as Congo and Sudan.[WaPo]

This is not the first time this mistake is being made. Richard Gowan had raised the same issue last year. And Pragmatic Euphony had rebutted the argument then. The rebuttal holds good even today and you can read it in full here. The conclusion needs to be re-emphasised:

Too much should not be read into India’s proposal to withdraw the helicopters from UN peacekeeping operations. It is driven more by the need and availability of that particular resource and asset for India’s own security goals than by any attempts to snub or undermine the UN or UN peacekeeping.[Link]

P.S. — At one point, Washington Post article says: “India’s international identity has long been shaped by its role in U.N. peacekeeping.” Really! Even by standards of simplistic journalism, this is overstating a point by a gazillion times.

DISCLAIMER: This is an archived post from the Indian National Interest blogroll. Views expressed are those of the blogger's and do not represent The Takshashila Institution’s view.