India, in collaboration with the United Nations (UN) on Wednesday launched a technology platform to ensure the safety and security of peacekeepers who are operating in an increasingly complex and risky environments around the world. The project, for which India has contributed $1.64 million, was launched in the presence of External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar at the UN headquarters.
The launch of the UNITE AWARE platform came as India assumed the Presidency of the 15-nation UN Security Council for the month of August.
Later, in his address to the UN Security Council's open debate on Technology & Peacekeeping, Jaishankar said that UN peacekeeping “simply cannot” afford to cede the information advantage to actors determined to undermine prospects for peace by using modern technology to aid their violent cause.
“21st-century peacekeeping must be anchored in a strong ecosystem of technology and innovation that can facilitate UN peacekeeping operations in implementing their mandates in complex environments," he said.
He said the international community must focus on operationally proven, cost-effective, widely available, reliable and field-serviceable technologies that must also prioritise mobility, both in the sense of agility of mission assets and in the sense of the use of mobile digital and IT platforms.
He called for contributing to ensure that technological improvements are continuous and are available on the ground, in the gear that peacekeepers carry and the weapons and tools they use to enhance their mobility, performance, endurance, range, and load-carrying capabilities while guaranteeing their safety and security.
He said that consistent training and capacity building of peacekeepers in the realm of technology also needs attention and investment.
Jaishankar, addressing reporters at the Security Council stakeout after the open debate, said that UNITE Aware is a situational awareness software programme that will utilise modern surveillance technology for real time threat assessments to peacekeepers and help them obviously enhance their security.
This will access live video and satellite imagery and in very volatile circumstances also deliver early warnings to peacekeepers.
Using the platform, the entire peacekeeping operation can be visualised, coordinated, and monitored on a real time basis.
It can record data on critical incidents and events, follow daily operational activities. Using the platform, peacekeepers can access live video and satellite imagery. It can also provide early warning in a volatile environment.
India has developed the technology platform in partnership with the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations and the Department of Operational Support.
This project aims to demonstrate the impact of modern surveillance technology on the detection of asymmetric threats. The project aims to improve camp security for UN peacekeepers, the overall security situation, and the quality of situational awareness, the Ministry of Affairs said in New Delhi earlier.
India has partnered with the UN to roll out the UNITE Aware platform initially in four UN Peacekeeping Missions: MINUSMA (Mali), UNMISS (South Sudan), UNFICYP (Cyprus) and AMISOM (Somalia).