India and UNPKF Current Affairs - 2019

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29 MAY: International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers observed

The International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers was observed on May 29 2019. The theme for this year is ‘Protecting Civilians, Protecting Peace’.

About International Day of UN Peacekeepers

  • Background: It was instituted by United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) through Resolution 57/129 in December 2002. It was chosen to mark 20th anniversary of UN Security Council’s (UNSC) first explicitly mandated a peacekeeping mission to protect civilians viz. UN Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL) from 1999 until 2005.
  • The date 29 was chosen as it marks establishment of first UN peacekeeping mission was on this day in 1948, when UN Security Council (UNSC) authorized deployment of small number of UN military observers to Middle East.
  • Importance: The day is celebrated to honour memory of more than 3,800 UN peacekeepers who have lost their lives while rendering peacekeeping services. It also pays tribute to all men and women who have served and continue to serve in UN peacekeeping operations across the world for their high level of professionalism, dedication and courage.

About India and UNPKF

  • India is the 4th largest troop contributor to UN peacekeeping missions. Currently, it contributes about 6,400 peacekeepers to various missions across the world. India also has largest percentage of women in police force, at around 32%, contribution to the future of peacekeeping.

Indian Army officer appointed Commander of UNMISS

Indian Army’s Lieutenant General Shailesh Tinaikar was as appointed the new force commander of UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) by UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres.

About Lieutenant General Shailesh Tinaikar

  • He is a decorated Indian Army officer who has had over 34 years of long distinguished career with Indian Armed Forces.
  • Defence Service: In 1983, he graduated from Indian Military Academy (IMA). From year 1996 to 1997, he served in United Nations Angola Verification Mission III (UNAVM-III) and from 2008 to 2009, in United Nations Mission in Sudan (UNMISS).
  • In between 2012 and 2017 he also commanded a division, a recruit training centre and a brigade. Later from 2017 to 2018 served as the Additional Director General of Military Operations (ADGMO) at Army Headquarters. Since 2018 he was serving as Commandant of the Infantry School.
  • He holds a Master of Philosophy (M.Phil) in Defence and Strategic Studies from The University of Madras.
  • Awards: He has won the Sena Medal and the Vishisht Seva Medal for his service to Indian Army.
  • UNMISS Appointment: The 57-year-old Lieutenant General Tinaikar succeeded Lieutenant General Frank Kamanzi of Rwanda who completed his assignment on 26 May 2019. He will command over 16,000 peacekeepers with about 2,400 from India, in South Sudan in UNMISS.

India and UNPKF

  • India is the fourth largest contributor of uniformed personnel to UN peacekeeping missions (blue helmet) throughout the world.
  • At present India contributes more than 6,400 military and police personnel to UN peace operations in the Middle East, Lebanon, Abyei, the Western Sahara, Haiti, Cyprus, South Sudan, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

About UNMISS

  • It was created in July 2011 when South Sudan gained independence from Sudan. It is the second biggest peacekeeping operation.
  • Until now over 67 UN peacekeepers have died while serving in mission.
  • As of March 2019 UNMISS has deployed 19,400 personnel with it.
  • India is second highest troop contributing country to UNMISS. India contributes about 2,337 Indian peacekeepers second only after Rwanda with 2,750. In addition to this India currently contributes 22 police personnel also.