By Praful Kumar Singh
New Delhi, Feb 29 : To strengthen United Nations peacekeeping operations, India has always been at the forefront of such missions abroad.
In this regard, the Indian Army today announced to send a contingent of 2088 personnel for the United Nations Mission in Sudan (UNMIS).
The contingent will comprise of 2 NAGA, 5/1 Gorkha Rifles and other units, and will leave for Sudan on March 5.
India has risked the lives of its soldiers in peacekeeping efforts of the UN, not for any strategic gain, but in the service of humanity.
Addressing the contingent, the Deputy Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General S P S Dhillon, said the professional excellence of the Indian troops has won universal admiration.
He also mentioned the outstanding track record of these battalions, and added that participation in UN peacekeeping mission shows India's commitment towards international peace and stability.
"We are recognised as paramount country, contributing towards UN misiions and helps in strengthening international relations," Lt. General Dhillon said.
He appraised the troops of the excellent work done by Indian contingents in various UN Peace Keeping Operations in the past and exhorted all to carry out their assigned tasks with self-dedication, devotion and humanitarian approach.
The 2 NAGA regiment was raised on February 11, 1985 and is the second battalion of the youngest regiment of the Indian Army. The regiment is the proud recipient of the Chief of Army Staff Unit Citation 'twice' and has been bestowed with the Battle Honour' Maskoh' and Theatre Honour ' Kargil' for their splendid performance during Operation Vijay.
The unit has won one Maha Vir Chakra, two Vir Chakra, one Yudh Seva Medal, two Sena Medals, two Vishisht Seva Medals and other awards.
The 5/1 Gorkha Rifles was re-raised on January01, 1965. During the Bangladesh Operation in 1971, the battalion was honoured with the Battle Honour 'Darsana' and the Theatre Honour 'East Pakistan'. In addition, the unit has been awarded the Chief of Army Staff's Unit Citation.
The unit has been awarded three Maha Vir Chakras and two Vir Chakras.
The contingent will comprise 878 soldiers from 2 NAGA regiment, 810 soldiers from 5/1 Gorkhas. 400 soldiers from the Force Signal Unit, the 619 Transport Company and a level II hospital of the Indian Army will support both battalions.
India has taken part in UN peacekeeping operations in four continents. Its most significant contribution has been to promote peace and stability in Africa and Asia.
It has demonstrated its unique capacity of sustaining large troop commitments over prolonged periods. Presently, India is ranked as the second largest troop contributor to the UN. India has also offered one brigade of troops to the UN Standby Arrangements.
Countries, which participate in UN Peacekeeping Operations, have to provide not only the military expertise but also have to be politically acceptable. The range of sensitive peacekeeping operations India has participated in is a testimony to India's political image in all parts of the world.
Ninety Indian soldiers and officers have died while serving in UN peacekeeping operations till now.