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The blue helmets:Indian Soldiers of peace

12 Nov 15
Written by
Published in National Security

Peacekeeping, as defined by the United Nations, is "a way to help countries torn by conflict create conditions for sustainable peace."


After the end of World War II on June, 1945 the fear of another war was obvious which lead to the formation of United Nations (UN) and after which United Nations peace keeping force (UNPKF) was born a time when Cold War rivalries frequently paralyzed the Security Council. India became the founding member in both the organization.

India is the largest contributor to UN peacekeeping operations, having contributed more than 180,000 troops in 44 out of 69 peacekeeping missions mandated by the United Nations Security Council so far. As on today there are approximately 97,729 personnel serving including police personnel on 16 peace operations led by UNDPKO, in four continents. Many gallant Indian soldiers have laid their life to bring peace and harmony to the world. While serving under the blue flag, 156 Indian soldiers out of 3,263 lives lost, as on August 31, 2014 have, so far made the supreme sacrifice.


Indian Army has also contributed lady officers as Military Observers and Staff Officers apart from them forming part of Medical Units being deployed in UN Missions. The first all women contingent in peacekeeping mission, a Female Formed Police Unit from India, was deployed in 2007 to the UN Operation in Liberia (UNMIL). Recently, Inspector Shakti Devi of the Jammu and Kashmir Police, currently deployed in the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), has been awarded the International Female Police Peacekeeper Award 2014.

India has provided eleven force commanders and five deputy commanders to date, and three military advisers at the Department of Peacekeeping Operations including the first one Major General I J Rikhye; later Lt Gen RS Mehta, and most recently, Lt Gen Guha. The country has also provided two Police Advisers at the UN HQ in Mr RS Rathore and Mrs Kiran Bedi along with numerous unsung heroes. So far the following gallantry awards have been won by our gallant soldiers in UN Missions:

• Param Vir Chakra 01
• Mahavir Chakra 06
• Kirti Chakra 02
• Vir Chakra 20
• Shaurya Chakra 09
• Yudh Seva Medal 04
• Sena Medal 32

Peacekeeping operations are special operations requiring a doctrine and special techniques from a synthesis of research and experience. To fulfill this need, first of its kind a Centre for United Nations Peacekeeping (CUNPK), has been set up in September 2000 under the aegis of the United Service Institution of India, New Delhi, drawing on India's vast experience in the field of UN Peacekeeping. The Centre conducts International Training Capsules for Military Contingent Officers, Military Observers, and Staff and Logistics Officers. The Centre regularly organizes Seminars, Joint Working Groups and Command Post Exercises at the National and International level. CUNPK is also a repository of information on India’s involvement in UN Peacekeeping and is continuing to build and update its research on peacekeeping related issues. Since October 2005, CUNPK has taken the responsibility for the Secretariat of the International Association of Peacekeeping Training Centres (IAPTC). A vast pool of experienced personnel, well attuned to the requirements of training, internationally developed theories, modern methods of instruction, and progressive development, are the cornerstones of the Centre. The center has given training to forces throughout the globe & extreme appreciation.

Right from the advent of UN Peacekeeping programme by the United Nations Organization, India has been one of the major contributors to the worldwide effort. Indian Peacekeepers have carried a different style compared to others. Winning hearts and minds has been the key motto of the Indian brigades in peacekeeping missions. They worked with the locals instead of going for confrontation with them.

Salute to the blue helmets.




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