New York: India remains concerned about the "volatile security situation" in the eastern region of Congo. Ruchira Kamboj, Permanent Representative of India to the United Nations, said that the activities of armed groups have continued unabated which has resulted in killings of civilians, displacement of people and caused a "dire humanitarian situation."

"India remains concerned at the volatile security situation in the eastern DRC (The Democratic Republic of the Congo). The activities of armed groups have continued unabated, resulting in killings of civilians, displacement of the population and a dire humanitarian situation," Ruchira Kamboj said.

"The M23 group is expanding its territorial control in the eastern DRC, and its movement towards Goma is a matter of deep concern," she added.

In her address at the UN Security Council, Kamboj said that India with concern notes the rise in the scale of attacks carried out by the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), including the use of improvised explosive devices. She emphasised that the threat of terrorism in Congo cannot be ignored keeping in view the established terrorist links within armed groups. She stated that India has "long-standing relations" with Congo and added that they will continue to support the people of Congo.

"India has long-standing relations with the DRC. We recall with immense satisfaction our contribution to protect its territorial integrity in March 1961 during the Katanga province crisis," Ruchira Kamboj said.

"India remains committed to playing its part in supporting the people of DRC on their path towards securing lasting peace, stability, and prosperity," she added.

India's permanent representative to the United Nations welcomed the role played by the wider region in opening up the political space for dialogue. She stressed that the decisions taken at the Luanda 'Mini Summit' held in November must be followed by all armed groups, including the M-23.

Furthermore, Kamboj underscored that India welcomes the allocation of USD 6 million to start the pilot phase of the P-DDRCS (Program for Disarmament, Demobilization, Community Recovery and Stabilization) projects in eastern Congo. She highlighted the importance of a long-term commitment to outcomes, deeper community participation and transparent procedure while implementing these projects.

Ruchira Kamboj noted that MONUSCO peacekeepers have been working in an "extremely challenging environment, both operationally and politically." She asserted that the lack of clarity in the mission's mandate and creative interpretation has further added to the existing complexities and increased the gap between people's expectations and MONUSCO's delivery.

"We also reiterate the importance of implementation of resolution 2589 to deter a culture of impunity through greater accountability for crimes against peacekeepers. As one of the largest Troop contributing Country, we are cognizant of the challenges to peacekeeping in the eastern DRC, and are fully committed to the implementation of MONUSCO's mandate," Ruchira Kamboj said.

In her address, Kamboj said India acknowledges the efforts made so far towards a steady transaction and the Joint Transition Plan agreed between MONUSCO and the Congo authorities. She underscored that the assessment of progress should be "realistic."

Ruchira Kamboj further said, "The situation on the ground should guide the eventual drawdown while ensuring that gains made in the violence-prone provinces are secured on a firmer footing first, so as to avoid any reversal." She stated that the transition and exit of MONUSCO must be "gradual, responsible and orderly."

Lauding the efforts of Congo leadership, Kamboj said that the Congo authorities have been taking initiatives to address existing challenges, including the security situation in the eastern part. She stated that India welcomes the preparations for the next general elections.