Over 800 Indian troops with UN peacekeepers in South Sudan get honoured with medals
Lt Gen Shailesh Tinaikar, the Indian Army's UNMISS unit commander, commended the Indian battalion for successfully completing its tour of duty.
A total of 836 Indian Army personnel serving with the UN peacekeeping force in South Sudan have been given the United Nations medal for their contributions to ensuring long-term peace in the world's youngest country. An Indian battalion stationed in Malakal, Upper Nile state, just finished their term of service. With almost 2,400 soldiers, India is the second-largest troop contributor to the 18,300-strong peacekeeping force in South Sudan.
The civilian, police, and military personnel from 73 countries serving with the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) are in charge of protecting civilians, facilitating humanitarian aid delivery, and implementing a revitalised peace agreement and monitoring and investigating human rights violations. Lt Gen Shailesh Tinaikar, the Indian Army's UNMISS unit commander, commended the Indian battalion for successfully completing its tour of duty. "When all of you came to Upper Nile state, it was a period of enormous flux," he remarked at the ceremony when the troops received the medal.
Tinaikar also praised the Indian forces for rescuing and sheltering 32 humanitarian colleagues in Renk and ensuring their safe transfer to Juba. The guest of honour during the medal parade was Vishnu Sharma, India's ambassador to South Sudan. Sharma praised the achievements of Indian veterinarians who treated thousands of animals and helped livestock owners build animal management skills, therefore improving their economic stability. Christian Mikala, the interim head of the UNMISS field office in Malakal, commended the peacekeepers' contacts with local communities.
Tinaikar was appointed UNMISS force commander in May 2019 by UN Secretary-General António Guterres. From 2017 to 2018, he was the head of the Infantry School, and from 2017 to 2018, he was the additional director general of military operations at Army Headquarters. He also served in the United Nations Angola Verification Mission III in 1996-1997 and the United Nations Mission in Sudan in 2008-09.