India has lost the highest number of its peacekeepers in various UN peacekeeping operations in the last 70 years, with 163 military, police and civilian personnel from the country laying down their lives in the line of duty. According to the UN, of the 3,737 peacekeepers who have died since 1948, 163 have been from India, the highest total from any troop-contributing country.
India is currently the third largest contributor of military and police personnel to UN peacekeeping, with 6,693 now deployed in Abyei, Cyprus, Congo, Haiti, Lebanon, the Middle East, South Sudan and Western Sahara. However, the UN owes India USD 92 million for troops, formed police units and contingent-owned equipment as at April 30, 2018.
The UN commemorated the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers on Tuesday, paying tribute to the service and sacrifice of peacekeepers around the world.
Currently, more than 96,000 uniformed personnel from 124 troop and police-contributing countries serve under the blue flag, alongside more than 15,000 international and national civilian staff and nearly 1,600 United Nations Volunteers.
This year marks the 70th anniversary of the establishment of United Nations peacekeeping, the flagship enterprise of the Organization described by Secretary-General Antonio Guterres as “a proven investment in global peace, security and prosperity”.
“We express our gratitude to the more than one million men and women who have served under the UN flag, saving countless lives. We honour the more than 3,700 Blue Helmets who have paid the ultimate price. And we pay tribute to the 14 peacekeeping missions working around the clock to protect people and advance the cause of peace,” Guterres said in Mali to mark the International Day of UN Peacekeepers.
The north-west African country is the most dangerous place in the world to be a UN ”blue helmet” and last year 21 troops serving with the UN Stabilisation Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) lost their lives, together with seven civilians.
Upon his return from Mali, the Secretary-General will preside over the observance of the day on June 1. He will lay a wreath to honour those who lost their lives while in the service of peace and will also officiate at a ceremony to posthumously present the Dag Hammarskjold Medal to 132 military, police and civilian personnel from 37 countries who lost their lives in peacekeeping operations during 2017.