New Delhi, Jul 16 (PTI) Aiming to build and enhance the capacity of African countries contributing troops to for UN peacekeeping missions, India and the US today kicked off the second edition of a programme to train instructors from these nations.

Attended by officers from 19 countries including India, the course is one of the many steps that India has initiated towards active contribution to peace support activities, a statement by the Indian Army said.

Senior military officials from India, Benin, Ghana, Guinea, Malawi, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia, the African Union and the United States are participating in a two-week course organised by the Indian Army’s Centre for UN Peacekeeping (CUNPK).

The African military personnel will in turn train troops in their respective countries.

The 2nd United Nations Peacekeeping Course for African Partners (UNPCAP-II) is a trilateral cooperation programme between India, the US and the African countries.

Under this programme, both India and the US will share resources to train these officials.

Addressing the inaugural event of 2nd United Nations Peacekeeping Course for African Partners (UNPCAP-II), Ruchi Ghanasyham, Secretary (Eest) with the Ministry of External Affairs, said India is committed to sharing its experience in UN peacekeeping activities with all those who wish to contribute to this cause.

MaryKay Carlson, Charg d’Affaires in the US Embassy said the designation of India as a ‘Major Defence Partner’ of the United States further underscores the importance of the two nations as net security providers in the global arena.

“The course is a great example of what we are doing together,” Carlson said.

A Tossim, a Major with Togolese Army and a trainer for his country’s troops embarking on an UN peacekeeping mission, said the experience will greatly benefit the forces in Togo.

Lt Col S Kalulu of the Namibian Army, who has served in the UN peacekeeping missions in Liberia and Sudan, said India has expertise in peacekeeping missions and the course is expected to add to their knowledge in this field.

Ghanashyam said deploying UN peacekeeping operations with a “robust mandate” but without the required diplomatic preparation on ground is a recipe for failure and this could undermine the credibility of such missions over the long term.

She also stressed on a synergy between the Security Council and the countries contributing troops to the UN mission (TPCC).

“A major challenge in the present-day peacekeeping mission is training and success of any operation which hinges on the quality of personnel who serve under the UN flag,” Ghanashyam said.

She stressed on the need to pay more attention to the manner in which the UN Security Council mandates are drawn up.

Ghanashyam said India believes that there is a greater need for consultations between the Security Council and the countries contributing troops to the UN mission.

“Mandates have to be more precise and cognisant of harsh ground realities. Overly ambitious or robust mandates without the required diplomatic preparation on the ground, or the necessary resources being made available to the mission, is a recipe for mission failure,” Ghanashyam said.

According to the UN Peacekeeping website, there are currently 15 missions, most of them concentrated in Africa and West Asia.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.