November 2, 2000
During the visit of Prime Minister Vajpayee to the United States in September 2000, the Prime Minister and President Clinton agreed to broaden their co-operation in peacekeeping and other areas of UN activity. This decision reflected the desire of the two countries to work together to strengthen the international security system, including in the United Nations, and to support the United Nations in its peacekeeping efforts. This was also articulated by Prime Minister Vajpayee and President Clinton in the vision of a new relationship between the two countries that they outlined in March 2000. It represents another important step in the expanding co-operation between the two countries on international issues of mutual concern.
The first meeting of the Joint Working Group on UN Peacekeeping Operations took place in New Delhi on 1-2 November 2000. An inter-ministerial team of officials from Ministry of External Affairs, Ministry of Defence and Ministry of Home Affairs met an inter-agency team of U.S. officials from the Departments of State and Defence. The Joint Working Group delegation also visited the Centre for UN Peacekeeping of the United Services Institute, and attended a presentation and demonstration on training and preparation for UN Peacekeeping Operations.
The Joint Working Group agreed that Peacekeeping Operations constitute one of the important activities for the fulfillment of the Charter of the United Nations. The Group recalled the vital contributions of India and the United States, both past and present, to UN Peacekeeping Operations. They agreed that the Joint Working Group would help to deepen mutual understanding and co-operation, and create better appreciation of each other's perspectives on peacekeeping issues. The Group's activities may also make a contribution to the ongoing process of improving UN Peacekeeping Operations and procedures.
The Joint Working Group agreed that UN Peacekeeping Operations would need to take into account present and future challenges to international peace and security. They looked forward to future discussions on various proposals and suggestions for improving UN Peacekeeping Operations.
The two sides had a constructive and useful exchange of views on the roles and limitations of UN Peacekeeping efforts. They reviewed selected UN Peacekeeping Operations and discussed lessons learnt from the experiences of these operations. They agreed to explore ways to increase the role of troop-contributing countries in helping to craft the mandates and operations of peacekeeping forces. They exchanged views on functional aspects such as command structures, logistical support, training and preparation for effective UN peacekeeping operations. The scope of these discussions included both civilian police and military components of today's UN peacekeeping operations.
The two sides also stressed the importance of high standards of professionalism, skill and conduct of UN peacekeeping troops. The two sides agreed that their dialogue on policy, functional and operational aspects of UN Peacekeeping Operations should be carried out in an integrated manner within the Joint Working Group. They also agreed on a range of measures to enhance co-operation between the two countries on UN Peacekeeping Operations. They also agreed to hold further consultations between the two Governments and their Missions in New York on peacekeeping issues.
The Joint Working Group will hold its next meeting in Washington at a mutually convenient date.