Recognising the dedicated services of the Indian Army soldiers towards peacekeeping, nearly 135 Indian peacekeepers deployed with the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), the United Nations have been awarded them with Medal for their “outstanding performance.” India is among the largest troop contributing countries to UN peacekeeping missions.
It was a special day for the 135 Indian soldiers on UN Duty, also known as Blue Berets, as the medal ceremony in Bor, South Sudan, was presided over by Lt Gen Shailesh Tinaikar, UN Force Commander, also an Indian Army officer himself. The UNMISS took to its official Twitter handle and said, “Take a bow, people of #India! Some 135 of your peacekeeping troops, based in #SouthSudan and serving with #UNMISS, have received @UN medals for their outstanding performance in Jonglei State and the Greater Pibor Administrative Area. #ServingForPeace”. More than 5,500 Indian military and police personnel are serving in peace operations in Abyei, Cyprus, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Lebanon, the Middle East, Somalia, South Sudan and the Western Sahara. The Indian troops are stationed in Bor, Pibor, and at a temporary operating base in Akobo and have engaged in a variety of activities, including civil-military cooperation such as a veterinary camp.
They have been dealing with the often violent situations in the volatile parts of South Sudan beset with intercommunal violence. Flooding and the resulting displacement of thousands of people have further complicated matters. More than 160 Indian peacekeepers have paid the ultimate price in service to peace, losing their lives serving under the UN flag.