UNITED NATIONS- Indian peacekeepers serving with the United Nations mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo have garnered appreciation for their high standard of professionalism and humane approach, with the deployment of the first team of Indian female peacekeepers now promising to serve as an inspiration to women of the Central African nation.
India is the second largest troop contributor to the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO), with 2,624 peacekeepers and 274 police personnel deployed as of March 2019.
"The image of Indian peacekeepers in Congo is that of a highly competent, humane force that is very very professional. The Indian peacekeepers have been supporting our Congolese friends to have sustainable peace," a high-level Indian military officer deployed with the mission told PTI in a Skype interview. The senior officer's identity has not been revealed as required by authorities in India's Defense Ministry.
"Beginning in the 1960s, our contribution till date has not only been very very substantial but also very vital for the unification of Congo. All our humanitarian efforts and professionalism have drawn acclaim and respect locally as well as internationally," he said of the role and contribution of the Indian peacekeeping contingent.
The officer stressed that till the time the Indian contingent is there, its role and effort will be to ensure that minimum number and if possible none at all, human rights violations take place. We will try and ensure that peace prevails in the country, the officer said.
"Women in the UN are present in all spectrum of activities, in military, police and citizens. They have a very important role to play as far as societies that are plagued by these kinds of situations. Women in any field, especially in field missions are seen as role models by the local women here, the officer said adding that women peacekeepers inspire women of the countries where they are deployed in contributing to the peace and security of the country. "
"Women broaden the skills available on the ground. Women of the host country are empowered by the presence of women who are in peacekeeping operations. Young girls and women see us as role models. They can push for their rights in a male-dominated society and be a greater part of the peace process," she said.
"We have taken certain steps that include a revival of local protection committees in far-flung areas where it is slightly time-consuming for us to react. The local communities have to have a stake in their own security," he said.