Peacekeeping plays a crucial role in the maintenance of international peace and stability and has remained the most visible multilateral tool of the UN. Over the past decades, peacekeepers are deployed in increasingly complex conflict scenarios. Simultaneously, key financial supporters of UN peacekeeping, such as the United States, have pressed for budget cuts, which successively led to a reduced overall peacekeeping budget. As a response, delegates of many troop-contributing countries have pointed out that in the current scenario peacekeepers are demanded to ‘do more with less’ (PMI to the UN, 2018).
In such a scenario, there is a pressing need to provide peacekeepers with adequate training to make them prepared for these new challenges. The UN has recognised the centrality of training and has included it as a critical element of the UN Secretary-General’s reform agenda Action for Peacekeeping (A4P). Moreover, UN member states have pointed out the need for partnerships in training to enhance the performance of peacekeepers (United Nations, 2018).
The European Union, a significant financial contributor to UN peacekeeping and an important troop-contributor through CSDP missions and operations, has identified India – a key UN troop contributor – as a promising partner for entering such partnership. In a Council conclusion titled Enhanced EU security cooperation in and with Asia, as well as in the EU’s Strategy on India from November 2018, the EU has expressed a keen interest to advance EU-India cooperation on UN peacekeeping training by sharing training expertise and facilitating Indian participation in EU CSDP missions and operations (Council of the European Union, 2018; EEAS, 2018).
Until now, the EU-India training partnership has not moved beyond a nascent stage. In order to advance cooperation, the first step would be to create a better understanding of each other’s training architecture among policymakers and trainers through establishing a security dialogue on peacekeeping and crisis management and institutionalising an exchange of trainers. An exchange between academic partner institutes of training centres could help this process. Once better understanding is created, training of third countries could materialise, particularly in common priority areas, such as mainstreaming gender in peacekeeping training.