The viability of the UN’s peace and security efforts depends in large part on the contribution of women peacekeepers…reports Asian Lite News
India deploys a women-only platoon of peacekeepers to the UN Mission in Abyei on the border of Sudan and South Sudan as part of the Indian Battalion in the United Nations Interim Security Force, Abyei (UNISFA).
The Indian contingent, which consists of two officers and 25 other ranks, will work as a platoon in an engagement and specialise in community outreach in addition to carrying out numerous security-related duties. India is among the largest troop-contributing countries to UN peacekeeping. This time India is deploying the largest single unit of female Blue Helmets in a UN mission since 2007. The action indicates India’s intention to substantially increase the proportion of women in peacekeeping contingents.
“India is deploying an all-women’s platoon of peacekeepers as part of our battalion to the UN Mission in Abyei UNISFA. This is the single largest deployment of women peacekeepers in recent years. Good wishes to the team,” India’s Permanent Representative to the UN ambassador Ruchira Kamboj tweeted.
EAM Dr. S Jaishankar expressed his pride regarding the deployment and tweeted, “Our cherished tradition of UN Peacekeeping reflects #NariShakti again. Confident that they will discharge their blue helmet responsibilities fully and do the nation proud.”
The press release from the Permanent Mission of India to the United Nations stated, “Their presence will be especially welcome in Abyei, where a recent spurt in violence has triggered a spate of challenging humanitarian concerns for women and children in the conflict zone.”
The viability of the UN’s peace and security efforts depends in large part on the contribution of women peacekeepers. More women than ever before hold executive positions in UN peacekeeping. Women work with the UN as citizens, police officers, and military personnel.
Women peacekeepers are highly acclaimed in peacekeeping missions all around the world for their capacity to interact with local women and children, particularly those who have experienced sexual assault in conflict areas. Women from India have a long history of participating in peacekeeping.
India was the first country to deploy the first-ever all-female Formed Police Unit (FPU) in the history of United Nations peacekeeping in Liberia on 30th January 2007. It consisted of 103 women performing operational tasks and providing round-the-clock security, carrying out nighttime patrols in the capital Monrovia, and assisting in enhancing the capabilities of the Liberian police. It motivated a generation of Liberian women to work in the nation’s security field.
Indian women have a long history of participating in UN peacekeeping deployments. Before being sent to the Republic of the Congo in 1960, women working in the Indian Armed Forces Medical Services were interviewed by UN Radio.
In 2014, Indian cop Shakti Devi of the Jammu and Kashmir Police, who was deployed in the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), was awarded the International Female Police Peacekeeper Award by the UN’s Police Division for her exceptional achievements. The Indian Army’s Major Suman Gawani received the prestigious United Nations Military Gender Advocate of the Year Award for her work as a peacekeeper with the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) in 2019. Dr. Kiran Bedi was the UN’s first Police Adviser. These women have made a very significant mark in India’s contribution towards the UN Mission of peacekeeping.