New Delhi. The Indian Army commemorated the 75th International Day of UN Peacekeepers on 29th May 2023, by paying homage to the fallen comrades by laying wreath at National War Memorial, New Delhi by the Chief of the Army Staff, Vice Chief of Army Staff and representatives from Navy and Air Force, Ministry of External Affairs and United Nations. This is the day when in 1948 the first UN peacekeeping mission, “UN Truce Supervision Organisation (UNTSO)” began operations in Palestine.
Each year on this Day, the UN and countries across the globe pay tributes to the professionalism, dedication and courage of all men and women who have served or are serving in UN Peacekeeping Missions and honour the memory of those who have laid down their lives in the cause of peace. This year marks the 75th Anniversary of the UN Peacekeepers Day.
India has a rich legacy of contribution to UN Peacekeeping operations and is one of the largest contributors of troops. It has contributed approximately 2,75,000 troops to peacekeeping missions so far, with around 5,900 troops currently deployed in 12 UN Missions. Indian Army personnel have operated under difficult conditions in challenging terrains and have displayed exemplary professionalism, humane approach, courage and valour, to the extent of making the supreme sacrifice to defend the UN mandates. 159 Indian Army soldiers have made the supreme sacrifice to ensure peace across the globe. Apart from the current deployment, India has pledged one Infantry Battalion Group and Corvette with Helicopter, as hard power and an Engineer Company & Signal Company as Force enablers, to be deployed at the behest of the UN.
In keeping with the need for women peacekeepers in conflict areas under UN mandate, India has deployed Female Engagement Teams (FETs) in MONUSCO and UNISFA (the second largest women contingent after Liberia). India has also deployed Women Military Police in UNDOF and women staff officers / military observers in various missions.
The Indian Army has established a Centre for UN Peacekeeping (CUNPK) in New Delhi to impart niche training in peacekeeping operations. The Centre trains more than 12,000 troops every year. CUNPK undertakes a multitude of activities from contingent training to national and international courses for potential peacekeepers and trainers. It also hosts foreign delegations as part of sharing best practices. The Centre regularly dispatches Mobile Training Teams to Friendly Foreign Countries as part of capacity building in the field of UN peacekeeping training. The institute has evolved in the two decades as a Centre of Excellence and repository of experience and best practices.
In order 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. These vehicles and equipment are manufactured in India and have successfully withstood the vagaries of difficult terrain, weather and operational conditions in the mission areas.
India has been at the forefront of capacity development for the UN, host nations and partner nations. It has always strived to support UN initiatives by providing agile and flexible units, peacekeeper training, logistic support, enhancing gender parity and contributing to technological enhancements. India continues to provide active support for host nation capacity development by providing training, infrastructure development and Civil-Military Co-operation (CIMIC) activities.