January 15, 2010 (KHARTOUM) — A group of Indian Air Force arrived in Khartoum from New Delhi to join the ten thousand UN peacekeepers deployed in the African nation following a peace agreement signed since five years.
The United Nations Mission in Sudan is established by the United Nations Security Council in March 2005 to support the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement signed on January 2005 between the Government of Sudan and former rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement.
The Indian contingent consists of 196 personnel and includes six Mi-17 utility helicopters and will replace an aviation group based in Kadugli, South Kordofan State in central Sudan.
“Their role will be peacekeeping under UN charter 6, to carry troops and supplies from one place to another. We also have a medical detachment to help the casualties,” said Air Marshal T S Randhawa Director General (Inspection and Safety), IAF, who flagged off the contingent.
India, the UN’s third largest contributor of peacekeepers with 8,767 troops and police personnel, had already contributed air assets to the peacekeeping operations in Congo, which were very effectively used by the UN mission.
The UN last year said in October last year it had asked India to contribute helicopters for the hybrid peacekeeping mission in the restive Darfur region.
UN Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Alain Le Roy, during a visit to New Delhi told reporters that the Indian government is studying a demand to provide helicopters to Darfur mission.
“India has not yet committed the helicopters we requested for Sudan. They are, however, considering it,” he said.