By Arul Louis
United Nations, Dec 4 : Bhutan has become the first country to pledge rapid deployment troops to the UN peacekeeping operations, keeping them at the ready for participation in missions within 60 days.
Under-Secretary-General for Field Support Atul Khare and Bhutan’s Permanent Representative Doma Tshering signed the Rapid Deployment Level (RDL) agreement on Friday, which the UN called “the first of its kind in UN peacekeeping”.
A Force Protection Company from Bhutan, which is to be a part of the Vanguard Brigade of the Peacekeeping Capability Readiness System (UNPCRS), “will be able to deploy within 60 days of a request by the Secretary-General”, an official statement said.
The UN can quickly provide a military element to a new peacekeeping mission area or reinforce an existing mission using the Vanguard Brigades.
The UNPCRS is designed to deal with conflicts or dangerous situations immediately before they escalate instead of the regular deployment process that takes several months to put troops on the ground.
“This agreement signed by the Royal Government of Bhutan represents the highest level of readiness by a troop or police-contributing country under the UNPCRS created in 2015,” the statement said.
“This landlocked, mountain country is at the vanguard of this approach, contributing to the establishment of a pool of capabilities for rapid deployment when required.”
Bhutan’s pledge “is a great example of commitment to the ideals of a nimble, effective UN peacekeeping”, Khare said.
“As a small, developing country, we deeply appreciate this recognition of our growing capability to contribute to the implementation of the UN peacekeeping operations,” Tshering said.
Bhutan currently has 45 military and police personnel — two of them women — serving in 10 regular UN peacekeeping operations. They are concentrated in the Darfur mission in Sudan, which has 22 Bhutanese peacekeepers.
(Arul Louis can be reached at email@example.com)