Honouring the men and women from India for their pioneering and inspirational role in UN peacekeeping missions, Indias Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador T S Tirumurti has saluted their valour and courage in protecting civilians in increasingly difficult conflict zones and in upholding international peace and security.
Id like to honour the men and women from India who have served and continue to serve in UN peacekeeping missions. I salute their valour and courage in protecting civilians in increasingly difficult conflict zones and in upholding international peace and security, Tirumurti said in his tribute to Indian peacekeepers on the eve of International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers, observed annually on May 29.
The UN commemorated the International Day of Peacekeepers on Thursday with a solemn ceremony in which Secretary-General Antonio Guterres laid a wreath to honour the fallen UN peacekeepers and presided over a virtual ceremony at which the prestigious Dag Hammarskjold Medal was awarded posthumously to 129 military, police and civilian personnel who lost their lives serving under the UN flag last year and in the first month of this year.
Corporal Yuvraj Singh from India who served with the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) and two civilian Indian peacekeepers — Ivan Michael Picardo who served with UNMISS and Mulchand Yadav who worked for the UN Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI) — were honoured posthumously with the Dag Hammarskjold Medal for their courage and sacrifice in the line of duty.
In his video message, Tirumurti offered his solemn tribute to the sacrifices of more than 170 peacekeepers from India who have laid down their lives in UN peacekeeping missions over the last seven decades.
Tirumurti noted that Indian peacekeepers are admired” for their professionalism, bravery and selfless service and have become a source of inspiration for many others as well.
He cited the example of last weeks volcanic eruption of Mount Nyiragongo in Goma in the Democratic Republic of Congo when Indian peacekeepers stationed in Goma sprung into action and provided evacuation and medical assistance to UN personnel as well as to stranded civilians.
The first women Formed Police Unit in UN peacekeeping was from India and was deployed in Liberia in 2007 for nearly a decade, inspiring many with their work.
Hailing the exemplary work of the Indian women peacekeepers in Liberia, Tirumurti said the Indian women contingent soon became an inspiration for the young and aspiring women of Liberia to join Liberias security sector.
Indian peacekeepers have played a pioneering role over the last more than six decades, he said adding that India has contributed more than 250,000 troops to the UN peacekeeping missions – cumulatively the largest from any country.
India is proud of its long and rich tradition of contribution to UN peacekeeping operations and remains one of the top Troop and Police Contributing Countries today, with more than 5,000 peacekeepers in nine UN missions, he said.
India is the 5th largest contributor of uniformed personnel to UN peacekeeping with more than 5,500 military and police serving in peace operations in Abyei, Cyprus, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Lebanon, the Middle East, Somalia, South Sudan and Western Sahara, according to the UN.
The International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers is observed annually on May 29 to pay tribute to the uniformed and civilian personnel for their invaluable contribution to the work of the world organisation and to honour the more than 4,000 peacekeepers who have lost their lives serving under the UN flag since 1948.
The General Assembly designated May 29 as the International Day in commemoration of the day in 1948 when the UNs first peacekeeping mission, the UN Truce Supervision Organisation (UNTSO), began operations in Palestine. The theme for this years observance is The road to a lasting peace: Leveraging the power of youth for peace and security.
The challenges and threats faced by our peacekeepers are immense. They work hard every day to protect some of the worlds most vulnerable while facing the dual threats of violence and a global pandemic, Guterres said during the virtual ceremony.
The UN Chief said despite COVID-19, across all UN missions, peacekeepers have not only been adapting to continue to deliver their core tasks, they are also assisting national and community efforts to fight the virus.
I am proud of the work they have done, he said, adding that the fallen UN peacekeepers uniformed and civilian lost their lives due to malicious acts, in accidents and as a result of illness including COVID-19.
The 129 fallen peacekeepers came from 44 different countries and diverse backgrounds but were united by a common purpose: to serve our great Organisation, promote peace and security and improve the lives of some of the worlds most vulnerable people. We are forever in their debt, the UN chief added.
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