Friday, May 19, 2017

India lost 35 soldiers in 17 yrs of peacekeeping ops

Times of India: Chandigarh: Friday, May 19, 2017.
As many as 35 Indian soldiers were killed in UN peacekeeping operations across the world during the last 17 years. Most number of fatal battle causalities has been in Congo, with the toll highest between 2010 and 2015.
Bathinda-based RTI activist HS Grewal, who procured the information under RTI Act, 2005, from the ministry of defence, rued that many of these Indian soldiers killed abroad do not get the recognition they deserve. While 17 Indian soldiers have died in Congo, there have been 10 battle causalties in Sudan, five in Afghanistan and one each in Ethiopia, Lebanon, Sudan and Israel.
India lost seven soldiers in the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) in 2013. Five of them died in an ambush by about 200 attackers near Jonglei State while escorting a UN convoy. The list of deceased included Lt Col Mahipal Singh, Lance Naik Nand Kishore Joshi, Havildar Heera Lal, Naib Subedar Shiv Kumar Pal and Havildar Bharat Sasmal.
In Congo, the causalties include Indian troops deployed as peacekeepers in the UN Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO). In 2014, eight Indian soldiers who died while serving in the UN peacekeeping operations were posthumously awarded a prestigious UN medal for their courage and sacrifice in the line of duty
An Agra-based soldier, Gagan Punjabi was gunned down by a group of 15 masked men in 2015 at a pub in Aru town of Congo, near the Uganda-Congo border. He was shot while attending the birthday party of a local resident in the eatery. He was part of the UN's MOVCON (movement-control) mission.
India has been among the largest contributors to UN peace-keeping operations and contributed more than 1,70,000 troops to 43 of the 68 UN peacekeeping missions since its inception over 60 years ago. Over the past few years, Indian soldiers have been deployed in 10 critical UN peacekeeping missions across the world including Haiti, Congo, Golan Heights, Lebanon and Cote d'Ivoire.