Exercise Aman Sena, an international exercise on United Nations mandated, multidimensional, Integrated, Peace Support Operations commenced at the College of Defence Management (CDM), Secunderabad on 21 May 08.
This exercise is a pioneering effort by CDM under the aegis of HQ Integrated Defence Staff, where about 90 officers of the Armed Forces from 15 countries including India are participating for the next nine days.
The aim of Exercise Aman Sena is to provide an opportunity to the participants to share experiences of UN peace support operations, and to develop a common understanding of the framework and procedures in such operations. The exercise also intends to provide a platform to the participating countries for closer cooperation, synergy, meeting of minds and for working together in pursuance of larger international interests.
The Inaugural session of the exercise began with the Commandant, CDM welcoming the participants and senior dignitaries. He dwelt briefly on the nuances of peace support operations and enunciated the aims and objectives of the exercise.
Air Chief Marshal FH Major, the Chief of Air Staff, in his inaugural address commended HQ Integrated Defence Staff and• the CDM for hosting a timely and important peace support operations exercise. He spoke about the unique nature of UN peace support operations, which reflect universal objectives, rather than partisan interests. He brought out that the United Nations began its peacekeeping activities when cold war politics had paralysed decision making in the Security Council. It was a brave attempt by the nascent organization and what began as a cautious attempt, has today become, the most visible aspect of the UN, determining its image in public perception. The Air Chief mentioned that the most successful model of peacekeeping was based on consent of the Host State and the consensual approach to peacekeeping was as relevant today, as it has been in the past. He said that Peacekeeping efforts do not necessarily depend on preponderance of force at the UN’s command, support of a broad spectrum of the international community is essential for their success. The UN system reflects this multilateral approach.
The Deputy Chief of Integrated Defence Staff in his keynote address noted that globalisation and associated phenomena such as transnational crime and environmental degradation had put many weak, social, economic and political structures under unbearable strain. However, with Globalisation, the troubles of distant countries are almost instantly transferred to ones homeland – be it in the form of loss of trade, disruption of oil supplies or threats to the diaspora. Contributing to peace and stability has traditionally been a role for Defence forces and UN peacekeeping is in coherence with that. He said that armed forces will continue to playa vital role in Peace Support Operations, particularly during the initial peace keeping phase. For those physically involved in such operations it is difficult and often dangerous work in very challenging conditions. Many of the participating countries have lost valuable human resources in the cause of peace. Finding solutions to the challenges of these operations is the business of Exercise Aman Sena and the participants bring extensive and varied experience to the task. The Air Marshal said that Peace operations are multinational in character, and each of these countries have their own unique culture and modus operandi. This places a premium on Defence cooperation and interoperability. Exercises such as Aman Sena play an important role in sharing experiences and developing a common outlook as well as establishing invaluable professional links.
India has consistently supported the UN’s peacekeeping activities. Over the years, India has provided more than 90,000 troops to 43 UN peacekeeping missions. India’s participation in peacekeeping is not based on strategic interest but flows from a commitment to the United Nations and establishment of world peace.
Exercise Aman Sena will be conducted in a ‘Table Top’ format with participants being exposed to various dimensions of peace support operations. Experts in multifarious aspects of UN operations will guide and direct the participants during the exercise which will conclude on 29 May 2008.