India to send a battalion for peacekeeping ops in Africa

What is the News?

The Indian infantry group with around 570 soldiers will be deployed under the UN Interim Security Force for Abyei(UNISFA) in the Abyei region in Africa, which is between northern and southern Sudan and is claimed by both.

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What are India’s Contributions to UN Peacekeeping?

Currently, the Indian Army is the world’s third-largest troop contributor to peacekeeping operations, after Bangladesh and Nepal.

Till now, the Indian Army has contributed over 2.58 lakh troops in 51 of the 71 UN missions since the first one for Korea in 1953-54, with 159 Indian soldiers have also laid down their lives in the operations. 

Moreover, the decision to send another infantry battalion comes amidst India’s ongoing two-year tenure as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council. This is the eighth time India has become a non-permanent member.

What is the significance of the deployment of the Indian Army at UN Peacekeeping?

Firstly, UN deployments will earn goodwill for India, especially in places like mineral-rich Africa where the new “great game” is now being played with China making major strategic inroads into the continent.

Secondly, UN assignments also give Indian battalions a much-needed break from being deployed along the “active” borders with Pakistan and China, as well as counter-insurgency operations in J&K and northeast.

Thirdly, hefty UN allowances in dollars given to the soldiers over and above their Indian rupee salaries are also more than welcome.

Source:  This post is based on the article India to send a battalion for peacekeeping ops in Africapublished in TOI on 17th January 2022.

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