NEW DELHI: United Nations, on Monday awarded 135 Indian soldiers presently on UN Duty as peacekeepers. These soldiers are known as the Blue Berets. They were awarded for their dedicated service towards their outstanding performance in Jonglei State and the Greater Pibor Administrative Area.
India is among the top troop contributors for various United Nations missions. Around 5,500 Indian soldiers have been deployed for eight out of 13 UN Missions across the world. For the first time in 2018, foreign troops had started serving under the Indian battalion in Lebanon. Reportedly, 120 Kazakh Army troops were parts of several operations with the Indian Army. In 2007, for the first time in history, an all-woman contingent to a UN peace making mission was sent by India.
The Indian soldiers working with MONUSCO, a UN peacekeeping mission headquartered in the Congolese city of Goma and bordering Rwanda, have earned praises for their exemplary services. They facilitate evacuation and protection of civilians from Goma City. They also provided support for the evacuation of UN personnel in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo after volcano Mount Nyiragongo erupted.
The medal ceremony took place in Bor of South Sudan. The ceremony was presided over by Lt Gen Shailesh Tinaikar, UN Force Commander, who is also an Indian Army Officer. Apart from the Indian troops, 103 Sri Lankan Blue berets were also awarded the medal.
The soldiers are deployed in Bor, Pibor, and Akobo. They have engaged in different activities, including civil-military cooperation such as veterinary camps. The soldiers have dealt with several violent situations in volatile sectors of South Sudan that is known for intercommunal violence. Floods have added to the complications for the troops serving in the area.