November 13, 2008Foreign AffairsIndiamaritime securitymilitarypeacekeepingSecurityUN

Blue helmets all at sea

India must rethink the use of force, not expect the UN to defend its national interests

This is an archived blog post from The Acorn.

The clear stream of reason, unfortunately, has lost its way through the dreary desert sand of dead habit. Instead of rethinking the use of military force in securing India’s increasingly global interests, the Indian government appears to want to make emerging realities fit its long-held dogma. We are, of course, referring to India’s call for an international maritime peacekeeping force under the United Nations. (linkthanks: Pragmatic & ST)

That dogma is that India’s overseas military deployments have to be under the UN flag. This is a an undiscriminating bureaucratic position. It never made sense—because UN interventions must be mandated by the Security Council; and the Security Council as it should be to clear to people who follow the news, serves the interests of its five permanent members. So, to expect a UN maritime peacekeeping force to act to secure India’s interests is not only lazy fantasy, but an abdication of a responsibility to protect India’s interests. Why? Because as long as there is no such force, individual states, and coalitions will take action to secure their own interests. But once such a force comes into being, they will have to wait for the wholesomely incompetent UN machinery to swing into action. That’s not all, unilateral or coalition actions will take on a degree of illegitimacy” if carried out without UN authorisation.

Countries that do not have the capability to defend their interests naturally seek the UNs help. India is not one of them. Between the UPA government’s general pusillanimity and the bureaucracy’s policy ossification India has taken a unwise position. It must be quickly reversed.

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