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India contributes to start UN fund for sex abuse victims by UN peacekeepers

The fund was established in March 2016, amid an international outcry against sex abuse and exploitation carried out by the UN peacekeepers

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United Nation Building. Image source: kids.britannica.com
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India has made the starting contribution to the trust fund set up by the UN for victims of sex abuse by peacekeepers, a spokesperson for Secretary General Ban Ki-moon announced on Friday, July 22.

The spokesperson, Farhan Haq, told reporters that India’s contribution of $100,000 was the first to the fund established in March to help the victims of sex abuse by UN peacekeepers.

“India has illustrated its strong commitment to our victim-centred approach in addressing sexual exploitation and abuse by UN civilian and uniformed personnel,” Atul Khare, the Under-Secretary-General for Field Support, said in a statement. His department administers the fund.

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The fund was established in March 2016, amid an international outcry against sex abuse and exploitation carried out by the UN peacekeepers. The UN has reiterated and strengthened its zero-tolerance policy for abuse.

Protest against sexual violence in India. Image source: www.bbc.co.uk
Protest against sexual violence in India. Image source: www.bbc.co.uk

Indian peacekeepers have received a clean chit from the UN for the early part of this year  in 2016 and all of 2015, when the UN began publicly releasing reports of abuse identifying the nationalities of the violators.

Although India is historically the largest troop contributor to UN peacekeeping operations, its personnel have a relatively clean record and India has taken strong steps to execute its zero-tolerance policy.

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The last time Indians were found involved in abuse was between 2010 and 2013 when the Office of Internal Oversight Services said there were three substantiated cases of sexual exploitation or abuse by Indian peacekeepers.

Earlier to that India conducted DNA tests of peacekeepers for paternity tests when allegations of abuse arose from a deployment in Congo during 2007-08.

One soldier was found to have fathered a child there and action was taken against him and three of his superiors. (IANS)

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All You Need To Know About India’s Strategic Chabahar Port

The Chabahar Port is a seaport in Chabahar, which is on the Gulf of Oman, near Iran-Pakistan border.

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Chabahar Port is of great international significance in terms of trade, especially for India. Wikimedia Commons
Chabahar Port is of great international significance in terms of trade, especially for India. Wikimedia Commons

By Ruchika Verma

  • The Chabahar Port is of great strategic importance for India
  • It is in Iran and is being built and operated by India
  • This port will increase India’s trade with Central Asia and Europe

The Chabahar Port is a seaport in Chabahar, which is on the Gulf of Oman, near Iran-Pakistan border. Chabahar is the trans-shipment and logistics hub for the Makran Coast and Baluchistan province of Iran.

Chabahar Port is built and operated by India. Wikimedia Commons
Chabahar Port is built and operated by India. Wikimedia Commons

The tension between India and Pakistan is nothing new. There are several instances where both the countries have tried to obstruct each other’s political or economic agendas. This obstruction, along with other strategic reasons, resulted in the India and Iran’s deal on the Chabahar Port, which is crucial because of several reasons.

Here are few things about it you may not have known before :

  • Under the Trilateral Transit and Transport Agreement of 2016, the Chabahar port is the gateway to the Transport Corridor between India, Iran and Afghanistan, which allows multi-modal goods’ and passengers’ transport.

Also Read: India and Iran sign agreement to develop Chabahar Port

  • The agreement also states that India will develop and operate two berths in the first phase of the port. The contract is for 10 years and extendable. This time period excludes the first two years as they will be used for construction.
Chabahar Port will make India's trade with Afghanistan easier. Wikimedia Commons
Chabahar Port will make India’s trade with Afghanistan easier. Wikimedia Commons
  • The Chabahar Port’s first phase, which was developed by India, and inaugurated by Iran on 4th December 2017, is of great strategic importance as it makes it easier for India to conduct trade with Central Asia and Europe.
  • Iran’s Chabahar port is also important for India’s trade because of Pakistan’s reluctance in allowing India to send goods to Iran and Afghanistan through its land territory.

Also Read: Gwadar Port: China Turning Pakistan Port Into Regional Giant 

  • The development of Chabahar Port will increase the momentum of the International North-South Transport Corridor whose signatories include India, Afghanistan and Russia. Iran is the key gateway in this project. It will improve India’s trade with Central Asia as well as Europe.
    The Chabahar Port has also reduced Afghanistan’s dependence on the transit road, which went through Karachi. Now, trade can be conducted via Chabahar Port too. Islamabad has accused India of trying to use this development as a means to destabilise Pakistan.

    The Chabar Port is the said to be the counter to the Gwadar Port. Wikimedia Commons
    The Chabar Port is the said to be the counter to the Gwadar Port. Wikimedia Commons
  • The Chabahar Port also acts as a counter to the barely 100 km away, Gwadar port in Pakistan, which is developed by China. However, Iran has defended that Chabahar is not a rival to Gwadar and Pakistan is invited to join in its development.
  • In October 2017, India sent its first shipment of wheat to through Chabahar to Afghanistan, in order to test the viability of the route.
  • India will also construct a 900-km Chabahar-Zahedan-hajigak railway line that will connect Port of Chabahar to Hajigak in Afghanistan. It will also connect Mashad in the north, providing access to Turkmenistan as well as northern Afghanistan.This project is worth $1.6 billion.

    India will supply $400 million worth of steel rails to Tehrain. Wikimedia Commons
    India will supply $400 million worth of steel rails to Tehran. Wikimedia Commons
  • It is being said that India will supply $400 million of steel rails to Tehran. There are also possibilities of setting up a fertilizer plant through a joint venture with the Iranian government.