Four Indian peacekeepers and a civilian, who died while serving in the UN peacekeeping operations last year, will be honoured with 124 personnel with a prestigious UN medal awarded posthumously for their courage and sacrifice.
The fallen Indian peacekeepers who will be honoured with the Dag Hammarskjold Medal on the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers are head constable Shubhkaran Yadav, rifleman Manish Malik, havildar Amal Deka, Naik Rakesh Kumar and Gagan Punjabi.
Yadav, serving in the UN Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) gave the supreme sacrifice in April last year and Malik, also serving in the same mission, died in August.
Deka, serving in the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) died in June last year and Kumar --serving in the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) -- died in January 2015.
Punjabi was serving in MONUSCO in a civilian capacity under the UN Volunteers programme and died in January last year.
The International Day of UN Peacekeepers, observed annually on May 29, will be commemorated this year on May 19.
UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon will commemorate by laying a wreath to honour all fallen peacekeepers.
He will preside over a ceremony at which the medals will be awarded posthumously to 129 military, police and civilian personnel who lost their lives while serving in peacekeeping operations during 2015.
Permanent representatives and ambassadors to the UN will collect the medals on behalf of the fallen peacekeepers from their countries.
In his message for the day, under-secretary-general for field support Atul Khare said the sacrifices of the brave men and women of peacekeeping “inspire us to serve with courage and dignity and to pursue continuous improvement and innovation in our work”.
“We owe this not just to our departed colleagues, but also to the millions of civilians that we have been entrusted to protect. We must continue to work together to enable complex operations to succeed with rapid, effective, efficient and responsible support,” he said.
Last year Lance Naik Nand Ram, who served with MONUSCO and Raju Joseph, who had served in a civilian capacity with UNMISS were posthumously awarded the medal.
India is among the largest contributors to UN peacekeeping operations, with its military and police personnel having been deployed in UN missions, including in Cote d’Ivoire, Cyprus, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Haiti, Lebanon and South Sudan.
India has contributed nearly 180,000 troops who have served in over 44 of the 69 peacekeeping operations, including the 103-strong Indian female police unit in the UN mission in Liberia.