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India’s air force contingent leaves to Sudan on UN peace mission

Oct 27, 2006 (NEW DELHI) — Air Vice Marshal DC Kumaria VM, VSM, the Assistant Chief of Air Staff Ops (Space) flagged off the Indian Aviation Contingent (Rotation-I) to Kadugli (Sudan), today at Air Force Station Palam, New Delhi.

Addressing the Sudan bound Air Warriors, Air Vice Marshal Kumaria said, “You are the ambassadors of peace and the Nation has high expectations from you in terms of discipline, integrity and professional standards. Your predecessors have set high standards and you should be setting higher standards”. Air Vice Marshal Kumaria also congratulated every member of the contingent for being selected for the mission.

On 28 October 2006, a team of 196 Air Warriors would be proceeding to Kadugli, Sudan as first rotation for the IAC. Gp Capt Anil Tiwari VM, leads the team. Wg Cdr DK Taneja will command the Squadron of six MI-17 helicopters.

The contingent has equipped, trained and prepared itself adequately to face the challenges. The members of the contingent are highly experienced in operating in diverse terrains and are a mix of aircrew, administrators, technicians and logisticians.

India continues to be one of the largest contributors to UN Peace Keeping Operations. Indian Armed Forces have participated in conducting these operations starting as early as 1960’s, when six Canberra bomber aircrafts of the IAF participated in UN Peace Keeping Operation in Congo. Subsequent deployments were in Somalia (UNOSOM 1993-94), Sierra Leone (UN AMSIL 2000-01), and on going missions in Congo (MONUC since 2003) and Sudan (UNMIS since 2005).

The excellent performance of this Contingent in peacekeeping operations in Sudan has led to the UN asking for a rotation of the contingent. UNMIS is supporting the implementation of Comprehensive Peace Agreement under Chapter VII of the UN charter.

Sudan is in a country of Civil War between the government and a number of insurgent groups, primarily the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA), UN advance mission in Sudan started functioning in late 2003. The Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) was signed on 9 January 2005 followed by UN Security Council Resolution 1590 on 24 March 2005, after which the Indian Aviation Contingent was deployed on 18 October 2005.

(ST)