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India reiterates its commitment to UN Peacekeeping, announces more troops

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By NewsGram Staff-Writer

New York: India on Monday reiterated its commitment to UN Peacekeeping and announced its plans to contribute an additional 850 troops to the UN Peacekeeping Missions around the world.

Photo Credit: article.wn.com
Photo Credit: article.wn.com

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in his address at the Leaders’ Summit on UN Peacekeeping here, also said that India is ready to contribute monetarily to a memorial for slain UN Peacekeepers. Modi said India’s commitment to UN Peacekeeping remains strong and will grow.

“We have announced new intended contributions to the UN Peacekeeping operations.

“These include an additional battalion of up to 850 troops in existing or new operations; additional three police units with higher representation of female peacekeepers; commitment to provide critical enablers; deployment of technical personnel in UN missions; and additional training for peacekeepers at our facilities in India and in the field,” Modi said.

Pushing for long-awaited reforms of the UN Security Council, Modi stressed that the success of UN peacekeeping “ultimately depends not on the weapons that the soldiers carry, but on the moral force that decisions of the UN Security Council command.”

“We must complete the long-pending task of reforms within a fixed time frame of the UN Security Council to preserve the relevance and effectiveness of the UN,” he said.

Elaborating on the Indian contribution to the UN Peacekeeping operations, he said that 180,000 Indian troops have participated in UN peacekeeping missions – more than from any other country.

“India has participated in 48 of the 69 UN peacekeeping missions so far. 161 Indian peacekeepers have made the supreme sacrifice while serving in UN missions,” he said.

Pointing out to the challenges that peacekeepers face, he said the soldiers are called upon not only to maintain peace and security, but also address a range of complex challenges.

“Mandates are ambitious; but, resources are often inadequate. Mandates sometimes make peacekeepers party to conflicts, putting at risk their lives and success of their missions,” he said.

“The problems arise to a large extent because Troop Contributing Countries do not have a role in the decision-making process. They do not have adequate representation in senior management and as Force Commanders,” he said, raising the demand of troop contributing countries for greater say in the UN Peacekeeping mandate.

“Peacekeeping missions should be deployed prudently, with full recognition of their limitations and support of political solutions,” Modi said.

He said India is pleased that the High-level Independent Panel on Peace Operations has recognized these issues. “We thank the UN secretary general for his prompt report on the Panel’s recommendations. We look forward to their early consideration,” Modi said.

Earlier, in the speech Modi said India has been providing training to peacekeeping officers from a large number of countries. “Till date, we have trained nearly 800 officers from 82 countries.”

He also thanked US President Barack Obama for hosting the Summit on Peacekeeping, terming it timely because it is the 70th anniversary of the UN and also “because the security environment is changing, the demands on peacekeeping are growing, and the resources are harder to find”.

In the beginning of the speech, he said: “The foundations of the United Nations were laid by the brave soldiers on the battlefields of Second World War. By 1945, they included 2.5 million men of the Indian Army, the largest volunteer force in history. More than 24000 lost their lives and nearly half of that went missing.”

“The legacy of that sacrifice is shared by three countries present here. They remain today among the largest contributors to the United Nations Peacekeeping Operations,” he added.

(With inputs from IANS)

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Diesel Exhaust Converted Into Ink by Indian Innovators To Battle Air Pollution

Supervised by young engineers, workers at the start-up company Chakr Innovation in New Delhi cut and weld sheets of metal to make devices that will capture black plumes of smoke from diesel generators and convert it into ink.

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representational image. VOA

Supervised by young engineers, workers at the start-up company Chakr Innovation in New Delhi cut and weld sheets of metal to make devices that will capture black plumes of smoke from diesel generators and convert it into ink.

In a cabin, young engineers pore over drawings and hunch over computers as they explore more applications of the technology that they hope will aid progress in cleaning up the Indian capital’s toxic air – among the world’s dirtiest.

While the millions of cars that ply Delhi’s streets are usually blamed for the city’s deadly air pollution, another big culprit is the massive diesel generators used by industries and buildings to light up homes and offices during outages when power from the grid switches off – a frequent occurrence in summer. Installed in backyards and basements, they stay away from the public eye.

“Although vehicular emissions are the show stoppers, they are the ones which get the media attention, the silent polluters are the diesel generators,” says Arpit Dhupar, one of the three engineers who co-founded the start up.

The idea that this polluting smoke needs attention struck Dhupar three years ago as he sipped a glass of sugarcane juice at a roadside vendor and saw a wall blackened with the fumes of a diesel generator he was using.

It jolted him into joining with two others who co-founded the start-up to find a solution. Dhupar had experienced first hand the deadly impact of this pollution as he developed respiratory problems growing up in Delhi.

An Indian girls holds a banner during a protest against air pollution in New Delhi, India, Nov. 6, 2016.
An Indian girls holds a banner during a protest against air pollution in New Delhi, India, Nov. 6, 2016.

A new business

As the city’s dirty air becomes a serious health hazard for many citizens, it has turned into both a calling and a business opportunity for entrepreneurs looking at ways to improve air quality.

According to estimates, vehicles contribute 22 percent of the deadly PM 2.5 emissions in Delhi, while the share of diesel generators is about 15 percent. These emissions settle deep into the lungs, causing a host of respiratory problems.

After over two years of research and development, Chakr has begun selling devices to tap the diesel exhaust. They have been installed in 50 places, include public sector and private companies.

The technology involves cooling the exhaust in a “heat exchanger” where the tiny soot particles come together. These are then funneled into another chamber that captures 70 to 90 percent of the particulate matter. The carbon is isolated and converted into ink.

Among their first clients was one of the city’s top law firms, Jyoti Sagar Associates, which is housed in a building in Delhi’s business hub Gurgaon.

Making a contribution to minimizing the carbon footprint is a subject that is close to Sagar’s heart – his 32-year-old daughter has long suffered from the harmful effects of Delhi’s toxic air.

Motorists drive surrounded by smog, in New Delhi, India, Nov. 8, 2017.
Motorists drive surrounded by smog, in New Delhi, India, Nov. 8, 2017.

“This appealed to us straightaway, the technology is very impactful but is beautifully simple,” says Sagar. Since it could be retrofitted, it did not disrupt the day-to-day activities at the buzzing office. “Let’s be responsible. Let’s at least not leave behind a larger footprint of carbon. And if we can afford to control it, why not, it’s good for all,” he says.

At Chakr Innovation, cups, diaries and paper bags printed with the ink made from the exhaust serve as constant reminders of the amount of carbon emissions that would have escaped into the atmosphere.

There has been a lot of focus on improving Delhi’s air by reducing vehicular pollution and making more stringent norms for manufacturers, but the same has not happened for diesel generators. Although there are efforts to penalize businesses that dirty the atmosphere, this often prompts them to find ways to get around the norms.

Also Read: Exposure to Traffic-Related Pollution Poses Threat of Asthma in Kids

Tushar Mathur who joined the start up after working for ten years in the corporate sector feels converting smoke into ink is a viable solution. “Here is a technology which is completely sustainable, a win-win between businesses and environment,” says Mathur. (VOA)