NEW YORK, Jun 14: As many as 135 Indian peacekeepers serving with the United Nations (UN) mission in South Sudan have received UN Medals for Outstanding Service in Jonglei State and the Greater Pibor Administrative Area.
According to a statement by the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), the UN Force Commander in the country’s Bor pinned UN Medals for Outstanding Service to the chests of 135 Indian and 103 Sri Lankan Blue Berets, the latter from the tear-shaped island-nation’s aviation unit. “My heartfelt congratulations to all these officers for their contributions towards the fulfillment of the UNMISS mandate in this challenging environment,” said Lieutenant General Shailesh Tinaikar, the peacekeeping mission’s Force Commander.
The Indian troops are stationed in Bor, Pibor, and at a temporary operating base in Akobo and have engaged in a variety of activities, including civil-military cooperation such as a veterinary camp, said the UNMISS.
The troops have dealt with the often violent reality in a volatile part of South Sudan, often plagued by intercommunal violence. Flooding and the resulting displacement of thousands of people have further complicated matters.
India’s participation in a total of 49 peacekeeping operations across the world has cost 157 lives.
“I admire the desire to achieve peace among all the military personnel receiving well-deserved medals on this day,” said Sector East Commander Brigadier General Deepak Kumar Baniya, who also oversaw the two award ceremonies.
On the Sri Lankan aviation unit, Tinaikar said: “You have flown in the most difficult of circumstances. In the past, two helicopters have been shot down in this part of the country, but you have never let that stop you from carrying on with your vital work. You have been as brave and committed as one would expect pilots from your country to be.”