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Indian Army Commemorates 76th International Day of UN Peacekeepers

New Delhi: The Indian Army commemorated the 76th International Day of United Nations (UN) Peacekeepers today, paying homage to fallen comrades with a wreath-laying ceremony at the National War Memorial in New Delhi. Lieutenant General Rakesh Kapoor, Deputy Chief of the Army Staff (Information Systems & Coordination), along with officials from the United Nations Organisation, Ministry of Defence, and Ministry of External Affairs, laid wreaths to honor those who have sacrificed their lives for peace.

This significant day marks the anniversary of the first UN Peacekeeping Mission, the “UN Truce Supervision Organisation (UNTSO)”, which began operations in Palestine in 1948. Annually, the UN and nations worldwide pay tribute to the professionalism, dedication, and courage of the men and women serving in UN Peacekeeping Missions. It also honors the memory of those who have laid down their lives in the pursuit of peace.

India holds a distinguished legacy in UN Peacekeeping operations, being one of the largest troop contributors. The nation has provided approximately 287,000 troops to various peacekeeping missions. Indian Army personnel have served in challenging terrains and operational conditions, showcasing exemplary courage and valor. Notably, 160 Indian Army soldiers have made the ultimate sacrifice to ensure global peace. Currently, Indian Armed Forces are deployed in peacekeeping missions across nine countries: UNDOF, UNIFIL, UNTSO, UNFICYP, MONUSCO, UNMISS, UNIFSA, MINUSCA, and MINURSO.

India’s contributions extend beyond troop deployments. The country has been at the forefront of capacity development for the UN, host nations, and partner countries, providing agile units, peacekeeper training, logistical support, enhancing gender parity, and contributing to technological advancements. Indian Army Veterinary Detachments have also performed admirably in various UN Missions, with notable improvements in livestock health in Abyei under the leadership of Lieutenant Colonel Gurpreet Singh Bali, earning appreciation from the UN Headquarters.

The Indian Army established the Centre for UN Peacekeeping (CUNPK) in New Delhi to provide specialized training in peacekeeping operations. This center trains over 12,000 troops annually and engages in activities ranging from contingent training to international courses for potential peacekeepers and trainers. CUNPK also hosts foreign delegations and dispatches Mobile Training Teams to Friendly Foreign Countries, enhancing capacity building in UN peacekeeping training. Over the past two decades, CUNPK has evolved into a Centre of Excellence and a repository of best practices in peacekeeping.

To ensure the operational efficiency and sustainability of Indian contingents in UN missions, the Indian Army has deployed state-of-the-art equipment and vehicles, manufactured in India, which have successfully withstood difficult terrains and operational conditions.

In support of the UN’s gender parity drive, India has deployed Female Engagement Teams (FETs) in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Abyei, marking the second-largest Indian women contingent after Liberia. Indian women military police are also stationed in Golan Heights, and women Staff Officers and Military Observers are serving in various missions. Major Radhika Sen’s selection for the “Military Gender Advocate of the Year 2023” award by the UN Headquarters underscores the significant contributions of Indian women in UN peacekeeping efforts.

During the UN Peacekeeping Ministerial held in Accra, Ghana, on December 5-6, 2023, India reaffirmed its commitment to future peacekeeping initiatives. India pledged an Infantry Battalion Group, various sub-groups, a UN Pre-Deployment Training of Trainers Course, and a UN Military Observers Course for the next two years to meet the UN’s requirements.

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