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Deployment of Indian Air Force Helicopter Contingent in the U.N. Peacekeeping Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (Monuc)

July 08, 2003

Starting from July 12, an Indian Air Force contingent is being inducted as a part of the U.N. Peacekeeping Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) called ‘MONUC'. India's decision to send this specialized contingent of over 300 personnel underlines its continuing commitment to the Charter and the principles of the U.N. and to peacekeeping as an invaluable instrument for the maintenance of international peace and security. India is one of the longest serving and the largest troop contributors to U.N's peacekeeping activities, with more than 65,000 Indian troops, Military Observers and Civilian Police Officers having served in 36 U.N. peacekeeping missions over the last five decades.

Our decision to contribute helicopters to the U.N. Mission in Congo is in response to a specific request by the U.N. for aerial support to the ground operations of MONUC. The present contribution is the largest that the IAF has ever lent to an U.N. Mission, the first case where IAF will be providing support to foreign military forces and also the largest Air Force contingent in Congo. As one of the few countries capable of participating in an U.N. mission on such a scale, our participation in a difficult mission like Congo effectively demonstrates the ability of the Indian Air Force to engage in a technically and operationally challenging mission.

The decision to send the IAF contingent was taken with the intent of assisting the U.N. in restoring peace and security in the strife-torn region of eastern DRC and in alleviating the deteriorating humanitarian situation and the suffering of the Congolese people. Presently troops from countries such as South Africa, Uruguay and Ghana are positioned in Congo. The Indian operations would lend crucial support in stabilizing the security situation in the region and in providing much-needed humanitarian relief to the beleaguered civilian population of the country.

Presently, Indian peacekeepers are also engaged in the U.N. Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE), U.N. Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), in the U.N. Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK), and several other operations.

New Delhi

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