United Nations Missions:
India as one of the founding members of the United Nations has shown consistent interest and enthusiasm in the initiatives of the World Body towards maintenance of global peace and security. India's unflinching commitment to the ideals and objectives of the UN as an instrument of global peace has been amply demonstrated by its spirited participation in 39 out of 59 UN Peacekeeping Missions so far, which includes all the UN Peacekeeping Operations in Africa. Nearly, 70,000 Indian Peacekeepers have so far served under the UN flag, of which 109 personnel have made the supreme sacrifice to safeguard the honour of `blue helmets'. At the peak of UN Commitments in 1994, India had 6000 peacekeepers deployed world wide, in spite of being heavily committed in Low Intensity Conflict (LIC) Operations in different parts of the country. (http://www.usiofindia.org/cunp.htm)
UNMEE (United Nations Mission in Ethiopia & Eritrea): Fighting between Eritrea and Ethiopia erupted in May 1998, as a result of a border dispute. The Secretary-General immediately contacted leaders of the two nations, urging restraint and offering assistance in resolving the conflict peacefully. He requested Ambassador Mohamed Sahnoun (Algeria), his Special Envoy in Africa, to assist the mediation efforts of the Organization of African Unity (OAU). At the OAU summit in Algiers in July 1999, the two parties accepted a document - the Modalities for the Implementation of the OAU Framework Agreement. In this document, Eritrea committed itself to "redeploy its forces outside the territories they occupied after 6 May 1998." Ethiopia committed itself to redeploy, thereafter, its forces from positions taken after 6 February and which were not under Ethiopian administration before 6 May 1998. (http://www.unmeeonline.org/)
The Indian battalion (Indbatt) is in charge of the central sector on the Ethiopia-Eritrea border, an area spanning 120x230 sq km, since it took over from a Dutch-Canadian group in June 2001. The Ethiopian Highlands cover most of the Sector and are dissected by valleys of the westward flowing Mereb River. The elevation of this sector ranges from 2400 to 4600 meters. Sector Centre covers the Debub Region on the Eritrean side and Tigray Region on the Ethiopian side. The Indian battalion is monitoring the implementation of an agreement for cessation of hostilities between Ethiopia and Eritrea, and would aid actively in demining the border. Col Anand Singh Rawat commanded the sector till 22nd July (the two other sectors are in charge of a Jordanian-Kenyan battalion. 42 countries contribute military personnel to UNMEE that has some 4,200 troops). The Indian battalions rotate after a year's tour of duty. Also, for the 4th time an Indian officer assumed charge of the UN force, with Maj. Gen. Rajender Singh taking over from a British commander. The sector commanded by the Indian unit includes the Bada region, one of the hottest places in the world. The daytime temperature from April to August is around 30 degrees Celsius, whilst it can drop down to freezing temperatures in December. This is also one of the most dangerous places in the world with landmines and small arms scattered around the country since the Second World War and the ongoing armed conflict - estimated to have affected more than 370,000 Eritreans and 350,000 Ethiopians. (http://www.hcindiatz.org/jul04.htm).
The 25th meeting of the Military Coordination Committee (MCC) was held in Nairobi on 5th July 2004 where Colonel Rawat gave a presentation on the progress of the sector MCCs. 15 Sikh Light Infantry (INDBATT 3) returned home after a successful one-year tenure of peacekeeping along the borders between Ethiopia and Eritrea. It was replaced by the 13 Kumaon Infantry Battalion Group in July 2004—the new INDBATT 4 Commander Colonel Ratandeep Gautam Rao Patil, formally took over command of the Sector from the outgoing Commander, Colonel Anand Singh Rawat at a parade in Adigrat on 22nd July 2004. (http://www.un.org/Depts/dpko/unmee/PressBrief260704.pdf)
UNIFIL (United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon): UNIFIL was created in 1978 to confirm the Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon, restore international peace and security, and help the Lebanese Government restore its effective authority in the area. Today UNIFIL comprises of INDBATT and GHANBATT (Ghana battalion) with the former holding positions and manning observation posts along the “blue line” (the UN-demarcated border between Israel and Lebanon) while other countries provide units for mine clearance, logistics, and HQ security. (http://www.un.org/Depts/dpko/missions/unifil/index.html)
The 10th Battalion, Garhwal Rifles, under Colonel Shivender Singh took over from 8 Sikh (INDBATT V) in December 2003. In May the INDBATT VI was presented with medals by the UNIFIL Commander, Major-General Alain Pelligrini, in a ceremony at Kawkaba. The French General recalled that the 10 Garhwal Rifles was the first Indian battalion to be granted the Grand Cross of the Victorian Royal Order for its achievements in the Forbert battle in France. In the dangerous job of holding the peace between the IDF (Israeli Defense Forces) and the Hizbullah the battalion can only monitor movements and report incidents without directly intervening—their APCs (armored personnel carriers) and personal weapons can only be used in self-defense. The INDBATT excels in providing humanitarian services and has held several medical and dental clinics, treating over 9000 patients in the villages under its area of operations. Major KB Mrityunjay was the only vet in the region and treated over 24,000 domestic animals with his free services and medicines. “Without him we would be at the mercy of God because we cannot afford to purchase medicine,” said Fatima Mowleh, 28, the owner of the sick cow. (http://www.dailystar.com.lb/article.asp?edition_id=1&categ_id=1&article_id=7297)
In December 2004 INDBATT VI was replaced by the 15th Battalion, Assam Regiment, under Colonel T Sambaiah. INDBATT VII was recently involved in a heroic rescue mission, for which unit members received the Force Commander Appreciation Cards (http://www.theshillongtimes.com/A-1-mar.html).
The UNIFIL has come in for criticism from Israel for its allegedly partisan mission—Israel and the US demand that the Hizbullah should be disarmed or its attacks should be stopped. But the UNIFIL is there at the request of the Lebanese government and has to respect its policies even though such policies may involve sanctioning Hizbullah attacks against Israeli troops. As Colonel Shivender Singh remarked, “If there's anyone close to the Blue Line, we observe them and report it. But we won't interfere with them. It's their land.” But even the UNIFIL’s harshest critics will concede that they have managed to keep the peace in this volatile region and have earned the gratitude of the Lebanese government and the people in the border villages. (http://www.stanleyfoundation.org/radio/underfire/radio/un1all.html)
MONUC (United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo): The Democratic Republic of the Congo and five regional States signed the Lusaka Ceasefire Agreement in July 1999. To maintain liaison with the parties and carry out other tasks, the Security Council set up MONUC on 30 November 1999, incorporating UN personnel authorized in earlier resolutions. On 24 February 2000, the Council expanded the mission's mandate and size.
One infantry company of 10 Garhwal Rifles was deployed for protecting the assets of Indian Air Force—in July 2004 this unit was replaced by a 100-man team from the 9 Para (Special Forces). Major NS Dhaliwal commands the SF team.
The Indian military, from its earlier deployments in Congo had concluded that the size of the UN force in Congo was too small given the threat perception. This meant that Indian troops and other troops in the UN blue-helmeted force were at great risk from the warring Hema and Lendu tribal militia and rebel troops from President Kabila’s army. India has made a case to send larger, reinforced armed contingents to the UN military missions because of increasing attacks from warring parties. (http://www.ipcs.org/Sep_04_indiaExternal.pdf)
Tigers in Jammu - A Rajput miniature from the Jammu hills, dated circa 1750, shows the existence of tigers in that part of India from which they are today extinct. The miniatu...