Page 34

K E E P I N G

T H E

P E A C E

ation (UNOSOM - II) replaced the manding the U.N. peace-keeping UNITAF. UNOSOM-II tried to force. Differences between the restore order, promote reconciliation Indian Commander of the U.N. and help build Somalia’s civil goverforce and troops from African counnance and economy. However, its tries came to a head when 222 Indian mandate ended in March 1995. peace-keepers were taken hostage by For UNITAF, India had conthe Revolutionary United Front tributed a naval task force which con(RUF). Indian diplomacy took a back sisted of three Indian Naval Ships –– seat and General Jetley found his INS Deepak, INS Kuthar and INS hands tied militarily because of the Cheetah. The Indian naval force British, Nigerian and U.S. attitude of assisted in carrying out relief and non-cooperation in the matter of humanitarian aid to the famine- and resolving the hostage crisis. Then war-stricken people of Somalia. For U.N. Secretary General Kofi UNOSOM-II, the Indian Army Annan’s stand on the modalities for deployed 66 (independent) infantry ending the crisis too contributed to brigade group under the command the lowering of the morale of the of Brigadier M.P. Bhagat. As part of Indian troops on duty in a foreign the Indian contingent a flight of land. General Jetley was told to Cheetah Missile helicopters of the restrict himself to performing only For the first time in U.N. IAF was also included. peace-keeping duties even when the The Somalia operation by the security of his troops was involved. peace-keeping history, India Indian peace-keepers was lauded by After deployment in late 1999, Indian deployed an all-women police the international community for its troops had to be phased out in contingent of 125 personnel outstanding capability to deal with January 2001. the military aspect of conflict man- from the Central Reserve Police It was for the first time in the hisagement besides its skills in assisting tory of Indian peace-keeping that solForce (CRPF) in Liberia the local community in restoring vildiers were taken hostage by the local (pictured above). The U.N. lage-level organisations, provision of guerillas and held for 75 days. medical aid, restoring school educaThe situation had become precardescribed this move by tion, water supply, livestock care and ious. The U.N. force commander, in India as unprecedented. so many other societal needs. In the consultation with his sector comThe U.N. police advisor Mark successful conduct of all this, the mander, took the military option. Indian Army lost seven soldiers The IAF contingent was tasked to Krocker said, “We applaud it when a patrol of 5 Mahar while execute the extraction with a host of and think it is extremely timely escorting a humanitarian relief conrestraints placed on them. This misand relevant to the policing voy was ambushed by a Somali milision, called Operation Khukhri, was tia. The aviation units of the Indian brilliantly accomplished along with needs in the years ahead.” forces were also given the responsiUNIOSIL forces, which consisted bility of scouting, convoy protection, largely of Indian peacekeepers. casualty evacuation and communication flights. Angola Sierra Leone To supervise the withdrawal of foreign troops and monitor Sierra Leone has come a long way since the arrival of the first elections, the U.N. Angola Verification Mission (UNAVEM) U.N. peace-keepers in 1999. A sustained peace, however, has was set on December 20, 1988. India made a significant conyet to produce tangible economic dividends and social bene- tribution throughout its operation. The U.N. once again honfits for the majority of the population of Sierra Leone. To help oured V.K. Saxena, an Indian brigadier, by giving him the meet these challenges, the U.N. Security Council established responsibility of deputy force commander. The tasks pera new mission –– the United Nations Integrated Office in formed by the Indian contingent included patrolling, securiSierra Leone (UNIOSIL) –– to help consolidate peace in the ty duties, preparation of demobilisation camps, supervision of country, enhance development and ensure human rights. demobilisation and rendering of humanitarian assistance. The India was one of the principal contributors in efforts to onerous duty of reopening a 200 km-long road axis strewn restore peace in this war-ravaged country. Out of 13,000- with unexploded munitions and mines was given to Indian member force under UNIOSIL, India contributed a 3,059- sappers of 417 Field Company. Angola was one of the most strong contingent, but had to pull out prematurely –– though long-drawn and challenging missions of the U.N. and the Major General V.K. Jetley was given the honour of com- Indians performed admirably and lived up to their reputation.

34

February-April 2007

AQ-Feb-2007-Apr-2007  

February 2007-April 2007

Advertisement