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Peacekeepers a model of discipline: Saran

Special Correspondent

India fully endorses UN Secretary General's policy of `zero tolerance' Expertise sought regarding sexual abuse by non-Indian UN peacekeepers

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NEW DELHI: The United Nations (UN) is seeking Indian expertise following revelations regarding sexual abuse and exploitation by some non-Indian UN peacekeepers. "In view of serious concerns regarding sexual abuse and exploitation by UN peacekeepers, we have been engaged with the UN in sharing our processes of training and inculcating discipline in our armed forces, particularly considering that there have been no allegations against any member of the Indian contingents and Indian peacekeepers have been upheld by the UN as a model of exemplary discipline," said Foreign Secretary, Shyam Saran on Tuesday at the annual meeting of the International Association of Peacekeeping Training Centres here.

Not a single allegation of sexual abuse has been made against over 74,000 Indian troops, mainly from the Army, who have served in 41 out of 60 UN peacekeeping operations including in the Sinai, Congo, Cambodia, Somalia, Mozambique, Rwanda, Lebanon and Sierra Leone. Mr. Saran said India fully endorsed the UN Secretary General's policy of "zero tolerance" and has assured full cooperation in its implementation.

Acknowledging the changing landscape in peacekeeping, India is diversifying the areas of engagement in peacekeeping, upgrading training and streamlining deployment and management mechanisms. Mr. Saran said India also welcomed the two new initiatives to optimise rapid and effective deployment - the strategic reserve and the standing police capacity. "As a leading troop contributor, the issue of safety and security of UN personnel continues to be an issue of abiding concern."

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