Peace keeping Force & Role of India

Date:

(Dr Shankar Chatterjee)

While I was in many countries, I observed that the Indian Army had a good image as a peacekeeping force. Honestly, informing Indian social scientists, general scientists, medical doctors, engineers, academicians, and others had high demand in many countries. In this article, I am highlighting the role of the Indian peacekeeping force in general and my experience in particular as I visited the Indian peacekeeping force in Eritrea, for which I am proud. 

Anyway, Indian Army is posted as a peacekeeping force, and for this, one of the reasons is that our army consists of all religions.  And our peacekeeping force consists of different religions. It is pertinent to mention that India has provided more than 2 lakh military and police officers to UN Peace keeping over the last 70 years. And 49 of the 71 UN peace keeping missions established around the world since 1948. Indian troops joined Danish and Swedish peacekeepers on a training exercise on a beach in Gaza in 1958 as part of the UN Emergency Force.

Also, it may be mentioned that India has a long tradition of sending women on UN peacekeeping missions. In 1960, women serving in the Indian Armed Forces Medical Services were interviewed by UN Radio before being deployed to the Republic of the Congo. In 2007, India became the first country to deploy an all-women contingent to a UN peacekeeping mission. The Formed Police Unit in Liberia provided 24-hour guard duty and conducted night patrols in the capital Monrovia and helped to build the capacity of the Liberian police. 

Indian peacekeepers have served in UN peacekeeping missions around the world. They protect civilians and support peace processes, and also carry out specialist tasks. In Eritrea, Indian engineers helped to rehabilitate roads as part of the UN Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE).. Indian doctors provide medical care to the local population in missions around the world, including in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Veterinary doctors are also sometimes deployed as part of the peacebuilding process. Here, the owner of a cow in South Sudan receives help from an Indian vet serving with the UN peacekeeping mission in the country UNMISS. Indian peacekeepers have served in some of the most physically demanding and harshest environments, including South Sudan. Peacekeepers have also brought the ancient Indian practice of yoga to UN missions. Here, members of the UN mission in Lebanon, UNIFIL, take to the mat on International Yoga Day. Currently, there are more than 6,700 troops and police from India who have been deployed to UN peacekeeping missions, the fourth highest amongst troop-contributing countries. More than 160 Indian peacekeepers have paid the ultimate price in service to peace, losing their lives serving under the UN flag news.un.org/en/gallery/541602). 

   I am sharing my experience in Eritrea (an African country), where I worked for two years as Associate Professor (economics).  I enjoyed Republic Day in our country but the celebration of Republic Day in Eritrea was a great and different experience. It is pertinent to mention that our army, and also the army of a few other countries, were posted in Eritrea under the banner of “United Nations Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea” (UNMEE) as Ethiopia and Eritrea had serious border problems. Anyway, as per UNO’s rules and regulations, every six months, a new batch of the army had to come to replace the earlier one.  Thus we (Indians) were meeting new army personnel after a gap of six months. Whenever any health-related issues, we, the Indians, used to visit our army camp, where we were treated like relatives. Our army every year celebrates both Republic Day and Independence Day. They invite all Indians who were in Asmara, the capital of Eritrea.  Indian army camp was located about 10 Kilometers from our Institute.  Institute arranged a bus, and we all reached there by 11 A.M. The flag was hoisted at 11:30 A.M. (as per Eritrea time) by a senior army officer, and I could recall his name was Col. S.S. Saigal. About 150 Indians, many of them with their families, attended in the celebration. After a brief ceremony, lunch was offered to all participants. It was a good experience for all of us as we could meet many Indian friends working at different places in Asmara/Eritrea. It is pertinent to mention that about 700 Indians were working in Eritrea, mostly in the teaching field in various capacities in Eritrea.

(Author is Former Professor & Head (CPME), NIRD & PR, Hyderabad)

2 COMMENTS

  1. Shri Shankar Chatterjee, has discussed in detail about, the *Yeoman* *service* rendered, by *Peacekeeping forces*, all over the world in general and *Eritrea,* and *Ethiopia* in particular, *undeterred* even after loss of few personnel.

    *Kudos* to Peace keeping forces in general and Indian participants in particular,and *encomiums* to Shri Shankar Chatterjee.

  2. Shri Shankar Chatterjee, has discussed in detail about, the *Yeoman* *service* rendered, by *Peacekeeping forces*, all over the world in general and *Eritrea,* and *Ethiopia* in particular, *undeterred* even after loss of few personnel.

    *Kudos* to Peace keeping forces in general and Indian participants in particular,and *encomiums* to Shri Shankar Chatterjee.
    Prasad, Libdom villa 37 , Bandlaguda jagir, Hyderabad

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