UN Peacekeeping Missions: India Proudly at the Helm of Affairs

UN Peacekeeping Missions: India Proudly at the Helm of Affairs

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(It’s the International Day of UN Peacekeepers! India has been a key force in peacekeeping troops, and to commemorate the day, The Quint is republishing this piece from its archives. Originally published on 29 May 2018.)

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Since 1950, India has participated in at least 50 United Nations Peacekeeping Missions. India is the largest contributor with 2,00,000 troops deployed so far in these operations.

Let’s Rewind to 1950...

On International Day of UN Peacekeepers, here’s a look back at some of India’s major contributions.

  • Korean War (November 1950 – July 1954): India deployed the 60th Indian Field Ambulance, a parachute-trained medical unit comprising 17 officers, nine junior commissioned officers (JCO) and 300 jawans in the Korean War. The unit was awarded the President's Trophy on 10 March 1955 by the then president of India Dr Rajendra Prasad. This is the only mission to be awarded the President's Trophy till date.
Indian troop deployed during the Korean war.
Indian troop deployed during the Korean war.
(Photo Courtesy: peacekeeping.un.org)
  • Indo-China (1954 – 1970): India deployed an infantry battalion and supporting staff during the crisis in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. The mission included monitoring, ceasefire and repatriation of prisoners of war. As many as 970 officers, 140 JCOs, and 6,157 jawans were deployed.
Indian troop deployed during the crisis in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos
Indian troop deployed during the crisis in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos
(Photo Courtesy: peacekeeping.un.org)
  • Middle East (1956 – 1967): India was part of the United Nations Emergency Force. For the first time, armed troop contingents were deployed. Over a period of 11 years, 393 officers, 409 JCOs and 12,383 jawans were deployed in the operations.
 Indian troops were part of the United Nations Emergency Force in the Middle East from 1956-1967.
Indian troops were part of the United Nations Emergency Force in the Middle East from 1956-1967.
(Photo Courtesy: peacekeeping.un.org)
  • Mission UNOC, Congo (1960 – 1964): Two infantry brigades composed of 467 officers, 401 JCOs and 11354 jawans participated in this peacekeeping mission. A flight of six Canberra Bomber aircrafts of the Indian Airforce were also deployed.
 Canberra Bomber aircrafts of the IAF.
Canberra Bomber aircrafts of the IAF.
(Photo Courtesy: airvectors.net)
  • Mission UNTAC, Cambodia (1992 –1993): India participated in the United Nations Transitional Authority In Cambodia, set up to supervise ceasefire, disarm combatants, repatriate refugees and conduct free and fair elections. As many as 1,373 peacekeepers were deployed.
Indian doctors treat a Cambodian girl at their hospital in Sung Treng.
Indian doctors treat a Cambodian girl at their hospital in Sung Treng.
(Photo Courtesy: United Nations)
  • Mission UNITAF, Somalia (1993–1994): The Indian Navy and the Indian Army actively participated in the operation. Indian Army deployed 5,000 personnel, while the navy deployed four warships.
Indian Army deployed 5,000 personnel for Mission UNITAF in Somalia.
Indian Army deployed 5,000 personnel for Mission UNITAF in Somalia.
(Photo Courtesy: United Nations)

India’s Current Contributions

  • Mission UNIFIL - Lebanon (Since December 1998): India has deployed one infantry battalion group, Level II Hospital comprising 673 peacekeepers, till date. The mission is currently tense due to the Syrian crisis.
India has deployed  673 peacekeepers in Lebanon till date.
India has deployed 673 peacekeepers in Lebanon till date.
(Photo Courtesy: United Nations)
  • Mission UNOCI – Ivory Coast (Since April 2004): India deployed two infantry battalion groups, sector HQ, engineer company, signal company, Level-II Hospital and a large number of military observers and staff officers.
India’s peacekeepers in Ivory Coast.
India’s peacekeepers in Ivory Coast.
(Photo Courtesy: United Nations)
  • Mission MONUSCO–Congo (Since January 2005): India deployed an extended Chapter VII mandate with Augmented Infantry Brigade Group (four infantry battalions with level III Hospital), army aviation contingent with utility helicopters, along with a large number of military observers. In addition, two Formed Police Units have also been deployed since 2009.
Indian troops deployed in Congo
Indian troops deployed in Congo
(Photo Courtesy: United Nations)
  • Mission UNMIS – Sudan (Since April 2005): India deployed two infantry battalion groups, sector HQ, Engineer company, signal company, Level-II Hospital and a large number of military observers and staff officers. The current situation continues to be highly volatile due to ethnic clashes.
Indians deployed in Sudan.
Indians deployed in Sudan.
(Photo Courtesy: United Nations)
  • Mission UNMIL – Liberia (Since April 2007): India has been contributing both male and female Formed Police Units in Liberia. The Female Formed Police Unit has especially been lauded and awarded.
India’s Female Formed Police Unit in Liberia has especially been lauded and awarded.
India’s Female Formed Police Unit in Liberia has especially been lauded and awarded.
(Photo Courtesy: United Nations)

The Unsung Heros

  • Captain Gurbachan Singh was the only UN peacekeeper to be awarded the Param Veer Chakra (posthumously). He was martyred in the Congo crisis on 5 December, 1961.
Captain Gurbachan Singh was the only UN peacekeeper to be awarded the Param Veer Chakra (posthumously).
Captain Gurbachan Singh was the only UN peacekeeper to be awarded the Param Veer Chakra (posthumously).
(Photo Courtesy: Wikipedia)
  • 168 Indian soldiers have sacrificed their lives in maintaining international peace under the UN Peacekeeping missions.
(Photo Courtesy: Stamp gallery)
  • India will double the number of women peacekeepers in UN missions by 2019. Contingent of 125 Indian women peacekeepers in Liberia was lauded and awarded.
The Indian women contingent in Liberia.
The Indian women contingent in Liberia.
(Photo Courtesy: United Nations)
Contingent of 125 Indian women peacekeepers in Liberia awarded.
Contingent of 125 Indian women peacekeepers in Liberia awarded.
(Photo Courtesy: United Nations)
  • India has provided 11 force commanders, five deputy commanders and three military advisers in UN Peacekeeping missions. Kiran Bedi was one of the two police advisers deployed by India at the UN headquarters.
Kiran Bedi was one of the two police advisers deployed by India at the UN headquarters
Kiran Bedi was one of the two police advisers deployed by India at the UN headquarters
(Photo: United Nations)

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